This posting will be brief. I had hoped to write next when a government had been formed. Sadly this has not happened yet (I will get to this) but there is information that must be shared. Must be shared because people must know what we are dealing with.
I suspect many do not. And so I ask that you share this broadly.
This morning there was a double terror attack in Jerusalem: Two bombings, at two different bus stops near entrances to Jerusalem.
One bombing, at about 7:00 AM, was on Weitzman Boulevard.
The bomb was in a bag dropped off by someone on an electric bike.
The second, about 35 minutes later, was at a bus stop in Ramot. The bomb was in a booby-trapped moped.
The bombs were sophisticated in nature and were detonated remotely – after it was determined that a number of people were nearby. There may have been a couple of other bombs that did not detonate.
In all, 31 people were wounded; multiple ambulances came from all over the city. Additionally, trauma units came to attend to people in shock.
There was one fatality, at the first site: Aryeh Schupak, HY”D –May the Almighty Avenge His Blood. Aryeh, 16, lived in the Har Nof neighbor-hood of Jerusalem and studied at the Yeshiva in Moshav Beit Meir – he was headed to his studies when he was killed. He had dual Israeli-Canadian citizenship.
Aryeh was laid to rest this afternoon. His principal said:
“…He was intended for greatness.
“There is not a single person in the entire class who can say that he ever saw anger in this child – with Aryeh, he did not know what anger was. He would walk in the street and help everyone he could, he was beloved by all.”
This two-pronged attack utilizing sophisticated, near-identical bombs was not the work of a “lone wolf.” Police believe, rather, that it was the work of an organized cell, a cell that worked independently and was not guided by a handler from a major terror group. Ynet cited an assessment by unnamed defense officials who said the terrorists knew the terrain well and had planned the attack long in advance.
No terror group has claimed credit although Hamas praised the attack, saying it was because of attempts to “Judaize” the Temple Mount.
One of the horrors of this attack was that the bombs were loaded with shrapnel in order to increase injury to the wounded. One must ask what sort of low-life sub-humans seek to cause increased suffering to innocent humans. One is forced to contemplate the implications.
I wept today, my friends. First for Aryeh. But then because I knew that this technique of using shrapnel was common during the second intifada some 20 years ago, shortly after my aliyah. In 2004, I wrote a book on the PA for the Center for Near East Policy Research, which included a chapter on terrorism. There were pictures, some of babies whose bodies were riddled with shrapnel. And so, I remembered, and I wept.
There is a great deal more to say about this situation, but I want to get this out before Thanksgiving.
As to the right-wing government that isn’t yet… The sense has been one of so-close-and-yet-so-far. Reports, of conflicting nature, were sufficient to make the head spin. It was impossible to know where truth lie; those involved declined to comment, and properly so. All the “reports” were in the nature of leaks. Thus was I disinclined to write about them; what might have seemed to have been true one day might turn out to be inaccurate information a day later.
With it all, it did appear that good progress was being made and that we would shortly be able to celebrate. It seemed, for example, that Ben Gvir would be Internal Security Miniister. While Smotrich had agreed to the Finance Ministry instead of Defense, which he had sought – with provisos about administering Judaea & Samaria.
But a couple of days ago, Itmar Ben Gvir announced that he was pulling back because Netanyahu had reneged on what he had promised. This was deeply unsettling. And then Bezalel Smotrich began saying much the same. We’re back to the beginning of negotiations, he said.
This was exceedingly distressing and there was a need to ask what the hell was going on. I find it difficult to accept that these statements were simply negotiating ploys by Ben Gvir and Smotrich. Netanyahu has a reputation for game-playing and frequently failing to follow through on commitments.
I see two factors that might be relevant here. One is the fact that members of Likud are furious that he gave away so many prime positions and retained too little for his own party. Netanyahu is hardly a novice with regard to establishing a coalition and should have anticipated this. But he may have been trying to recoup his situation.
The other is the pressure being brought to bear by the Biden administration regarding ministries for Ben Gvir and Smotrich. To this Netanyahu must turn his back. He made all of the right responses regarding the fact that no one from the outside can tell him whom to appoint. But making statements is easy; it’s taking the stand that is more difficult. And we are not privy to threats that may have been made.
But we are not at the end of this story, yet – not by a long shot. Were we not to end up with a genuinely right-wing government, it would be a tragedy for the nation. Especially now. There is much negotiating yet to be done, and many ways to reconcile disagreements for the common good.
Ironically, the attack itself may be the impetus to putting aside disagreements and motivating compromise.
Said Ben Gvir after visiting the first site: “I will not speak about politics, but I will say one thing. We need to form a government as quickly as possible – the terror will not wait.” (He had a great deal more to say about making terrorists pay a price, which I will come back to.)
And Smotrich said: “The murderous Arab terror is knocking on our door; we must form a government immediately! I call on incoming prime minister Netanyahu to convene all leaders of the incoming coalition, so we can form a right-wing government that will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”
Enjoy your Thanksgiving my friends. Be mindful of your blessings. And continue to pray for us, please.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner.