The Holy City’s Child Terrorists

From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

October 12 was a normal day for a 13-year-old boy in Jerusalem as he got on his bicycle for a ride through his neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev. Then, suddenly, two people rushed up and began to stab him.

This was the third knife attack of the day around the Holy City, and the 22nd over a span of 13 days. But the most startling fact was the age of the child’s would-be murderers: two Arab cousins, just 13 and 15.

Police confronted the 15-year-old, who was still holding the machete. He charged, and was fatally shot. The 13-year-old was hit by a car. As he lay on the pavement, squirming in blood, paramedics tried to save his young life. An Israeli passerby videoing the boy shouted, “Die! Die! You son of a whore!”

How has it come to this? Why are two children who should be doing homework or chores attempting murder instead? How much more saturated in hatred can Jerusalem get?

[I]mpressionable young Palestinians have been persuaded that their [g]od requires them to kill, and if necessary be killed, to %u2018protect al-Aqsa.%u2019
Daniel Horovitz, Times of Israel

What motivated these children to kill? Was it their parents, absorbed in Palestinian media that distorts events and demonizes Israelis? Was it propaganda in their schools? Was it the children’s television program with the Mickey Mouse-like character who praises “martyrdom”? Was it the Facebook and Twitter images vilifying Jews and glorifying their murderous “martyrs”? Was it the religious establishment implying, or stating, that “protecting al-Aqsa” means killing 13-year-olds?

Most likely, it was the accumulation of all these influences. This shocking attack reveals something larger: A whole generation of young Palestinians is saturated in hate.

But what about the Israeli who saw a heap of quivering, broken flesh crumpled on the street and shouted at him to die? His outrage is understandable. But his reaction reveals that he too carries a terrible hatred.

Will “peace in the Middle East” ever be more than a cliché? Isn’t this problem beyond the ability of clever politicians to solve?

Don’t we need a healing of minds in the Middle East?