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Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist and playwright who has lived in Jerusalem since 1971. She has published seven internationally best-selling novels, and is the author of a hit play.


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PostThu Jul 03, 2008 10:07 am     Turning Plowshares into Swords    


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Turning Plowshares into Swords

By Naomi Ragen
July 3, 2008

To live in Jerusalem is to face the fact that here, in the holiest city in the world, there are vast numbers of inhabitants who are the kind of human beings willing, able, and committed to performing acts of sickening bloodshed, breaking every rule that human beings have created for themselves or learned or been taught. Worse, they involve G-d in their offenses, desecrating His name and His city in their maniacal search for the ultimate act of barbarism to promote their religion/politics/personal agenda.

Take Mr. Duwait. A convicted rapist and felon who sat in jail for two years, a resident of the East Jerusalem Arab village Sur Baher, a relative of the terrorist who killed young yeshiva students in Mercaz Harav, he climbed unto a huge tractor and with astonishing barbarism plowed down a major Jerusalem thoroughfare, sowing unimaginable destruction. As journalist Tom Gross put it:

"Terrorists purposely target civilians, and this terrorist was no different. He chose his victims carefully, starting his attack by motioning with his hand for a woman motorist to drive before him. Then he rammed her car with the bulldozer's shovel.

He then used the bulldozer to plow into two public buses carrying passengers, including many women and children which he could clearly see through the buses' large glass windows. One of the buses was completely overturned, the other crashed. He then crushed a number of cars with their drivers still in them, and targeted several pedestrians chasing them down and running them over. A half-dozen cars were flattened and others were overturned by his Caterpillar vehicle as panic spread throughout the center of Israel's capital. Traffic was halted, and hundreds of people fled through the streets as medics treated the wounded.

One car was dragged several meters by the bulldozer. A baby was pulled out by a passerby before the vehicle was crushed, with the child's mother still inside. She died.

By the time his rampage was over, three Israeli civilians were dead and over 66 were wounded. Broken glass and blood were left down a stretch of one of Israel's busiest streets.

All the time the terrorist screamed "Allah Akhbar" (God is great in Arabic) as he did so.

The terrorist was shot dead by a security guard working for a nearby bank as he approached Jerusalem's main working class food market, Mahane Yehuda." {And by a young soldier, the brother-in-law of the soldier who took out the Mercaz Harav terrorist. Imagine the woman with such a husband, and such a brother!)

Bathsheva Unterman, the 33 year-old kindergarten teacher who unstrapped her baby and handed her to a passerby through the car window before being crushed, had been through many treatments and waited many years for her daughter to be born. Her baby was unharmed. Not so the baby in the overturned bus, who remains in critical condition.

Duwait's family has not expressed sorrow for the victims. But what they do want to know is why it was necessary to have killed Duwait. That way, I suppose they'd be waiting for another Israel soldier to be kidnapped and murdered to set their darling free.

What is the moral of this story? As Rabbi David Booth said: "It was a case of someone turning a plowshare into a sword." The killing here yesterday was no random act. It was deliberate and personal. It was -and is- family against family. On one side, there are their families, who raise their sons to be mass murderers and child killers, instilling in them a hate-filled culture and a religion with no respect for human life, encouraging them to kill and be killed.

And then there is our family, who raise our sons to risk their lives to save the lives of others, instilling in them a culture and religion filled with the true love of G-d and mankind and life. Our family will triumph over their family. Our sons over their sons. And when they sit in their tents of mourning, keening over their dead, perhaps they might reflect on how it is they have raised sons who must be hunted down and killed like mad
dogs. Perhaps, if that happens, they will need to mourn no more.


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