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July 7, 2014 0

Israeli Leaders Speak Out Against the Revenge Killing of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir

Israeli lead­ers expressed shock and hor­ror that Israeli Jews are appar­ently respon­si­ble for the kid­nap­ping and bru­tal mur­der of Muham­mad Hus­sein Abu Khdeir, a six­teen year old boy from the Beit Shuafat neigh­bor­hood in East Jerusalem, whose burned body was found in the Jerusalem For­est on July 2.

Six Israelis were arrested, and are believed to have car­ried out the mur­der as an act of revenge for the killing of 3 Israeli teens, Naf­tali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were kid­napped on June 12, and mur­dered by Pales­tini­ans asso­ci­ated with Hamas.

Muhammad 7-8

ADL con­demned Muhammad’s mur­der and the ”alarm­ing surge” of incite­ment within Israeli society.

Fol­low­ing a con­do­lence call to the fam­i­lies of the 3 Israelis teens, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu con­demned the shock­ing killing of Muham­mad, and declared:

We do not dif­fer­en­ti­ate between the ter­ror­ists and we will respond to all of them, wher­ever they come from, with a firm hand. We will not allow extrem­ists from wher­ever they come to ignite the region and shed more blood.

The fol­low­ing day, July 7, in speak­ing to Muhammad’s father, Hus­sein Abu Khdeir,  the Prime Min­is­ter said:

I would like to express my out­rage and that of the cit­i­zen of Israel over the rep­re­hen­si­ble mur­der of your son.  We acted imme­di­ately to appre­hend the mur­der­ers.  We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.  We denounce all bru­tal behav­ior; the mur­der of your son is abhor­rent and can­not be coun­te­nanced by any human being.

Israeli Pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres spoke emo­tion­ally to Mr. Abu Khdeir, saying:

I am ashamed on behalf of my nation and grieve with you. The only thing left for all of us to do is to ensure that no more chil­dren are mur­dered, and no more tears are shed by mothers.

Peres was joined by incom­ing pres­i­dent Ruby Rivlin in an op-ed in Yediot Ahronot , appeal­ing to Jew­ish and Arab Israelis to fight incite­ment and hate:

…there is no dif­fer­ence between blood and blood. The demo­c­ra­tic State of Israel sanc­ti­fies the moral right to life and the equal right each per­son has to be dif­fer­ent. The mur­der of a boy or a girl, Jew­ish or Arab, is an unac­cept­able act…It is our duty to stop the jour­ney of incite­ment. We must under­stand that we have no other way but to live together. The blood­shed will only stop when we all real­ize that we have not been sen­tenced to live together, but des­tined to live together. Any hes­i­ta­tion or com­pro­mise on this issue will lead to dete­ri­o­ra­tion which could be dis­as­trous not just to our life together, but to our actual life.

Join­ing the offi­cial pro­nounce­ments were those of a more per­sonal nature.  In The Times of Israel, Sherri Man­dell, the mother of thir­teen year old, Koby Man­dell who was mur­dered by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists in 2001, harshly con­demned the killers of Muham­mad, writ­ing in a blog enti­tled  “How Dare You”:

When I heard that the three yeshiva boys, Naf­tali, Eyal, and Gil-ad, were mur­dered I admit I felt both rage and anger. Those are legit­i­mate feel­ings when young boys in your com­mu­nity are kid­napped and mur­dered. But the Jew­ish way is always to choose life, not death. To seek jus­tice, not vengeance. Jus­tice is not burn­ing another inno­cent human being alive. Jus­tice is allow­ing the gov­ern­ment to find the mur­der­ers and pun­ish them. I am con­cerned about how the world views us in Israel. But I am more con­cerned about what we say and think about our­selves. What can we believe about our own soci­ety now that you have weak­ened our integrity? We are guilty of com­mit­ting an abom­inable depraved act.

Per­haps the most poignant con­dem­na­tions came from the fam­i­lies of the three Israeli teens.  Naf­tali Fraenkel’s uncle, Yishai, reached out to the Abu Khdeir fam­ily and said:  “there is no dif­fer­ence between those who mur­dered Muham­mad, and those who mur­dered our chil­dren. Those are mur­der­ers, and these are mur­der­ers. And both must be dealt with to the full extent of the law, and we told him that.”

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