Op-Ed: My Brother Doesn't Know Who the Fogel's Were
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
The two killers entered the home while the family was sleeping. They slit the throat of the father, then they shot the mother and children. This horrible fate was shared by two families: the Clutters in Kansas, 1959, and the Fogels in Itamar, 2011.
But whle the first family has been immortalized by Truman Capote's masterpiece “In Cold Blood”, the Fogels have become invisible.
It is true that people from all over Israel, not just Samaria, came two days ago to mourn that wonderful family, but the moral lesson of that massacre is one of silence.
Nobody in the West today knows the story of the Fogel's from Itamar, of the father, mother and three babies slaughtered during the night. It seems that the Fogels didn’t deserve a Truman Capote.
The West has decided that terrorism against Israel is a depersonalized violence that meritrs minor media coverage. This is true for the twenty teenagers who were blown up by a suicide bomber outside a disco in Tel Aviv, for the soldiers who made a wrong turn and were lynched in Ramallah, for the brave rabbi who died trying to save the Torah scrolls at Joseph’s Tomb, for the security personnel who were ambushed while trying to protect those walking home from Shabbat prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron, for the kindergarten teacher killed when a minibus was attacked by Palestinian gunmen.
Those slain by Arab terror are the victims of Israel's "domination of a foreign country".
Before anything else, the Holocaust was an ontological attack against the Jewish name. In 1938, the Nazi official Hermann Göring ordered that “Israel” be added to the name on identification cards for Jewish males, and “Sarah” for females.
The Jews were taken by the millions to anonymous, desolate places, where all of their luggage, letters, and photographs of loved ones were taken away. Then they were separated from their mothers, sisters, children, wives. They were stripped naked, and their documents, their names, were thrown into the fire. Finally, they were pushed into a hallway with a low, heavy ceiling. And they were gassed like insects.
The nowhere-land of the Holocaust was the engine of extermination for six million European Jews.
Ilamic terrorism and denial of the Holocaust, which spread through the world like wildfire after September 11, 2001, feed on this annihilation of the Jewish victim.
Does the West know that in 1988 Tirza Porat was killed near Elon Moreh? Tirza was the first Israeli civilian to die in the first Intifada and she was a schoolchild. The Western press blamed her for not staying away “from restive Palestinian villages”. Not a word of condemnation of Arab leaders for wantonly encouraging 5-year-olds to join mobs throwing stones and Molotov cocktail, but they condemned Tirza for being victimized.
Does the West know that in 2001 Shalhevet Pas was shot to death by Arab sniper who had aimed from his window in Hebron?
Does the West know that Hila, Hadar, Roni and Merav Hatuel were slaughtered with their pregnant mother, Tali, on the road to Gush Katif?
Does the West know that Rachel Shabo from Itamar was butchered with three of her children, Avishai, Zvika, and Neria?
Does the West know that 5-year-old Danielle Shefi was killed in her bed in Adora, her mom looking on in horror as her daughter’s blood spilled out across the covers?
The Los Angeles Times chose to place the pictures of Danielle and her Winnie the Pooh bear on Page A14. They should have been on the front page. This little Jewish girl was not killed in a military action. She was executed by an Arab who looked at her tiny being and shot her dead. Like the Clutters in Kansas.
Does the West know that Yehuda Shoham was struck in the head by a rock while his parents were driving home to Shiloh?
Does the West know that Rami Haba, an 8-year-old Jewish boy, was killed in a cave in 1987 near Elon Moreh? A bloodied rock found next to the body was used to crush the boy's skull. Rami had big glasses and an innocent face.
Does the West know that Shaked Avraham, a seven-month-old baby from Negohot, was killed by a terrorist who had penetrated the community enclosure while the inhabitants were celebrating Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish New Year? Does the West know that Shaked had just started walking?
Terrorism is the loss of the human visage, the destruction of the moral person, the will to annihilate humanity, the end of a name. The dreadful “V” of terrorism’s victory is impressed in the folds of these Israeli souls. If you search for something left of your son and find it under the head of the suicide bomber, what type of reaction will occur in a brittle human heart?
We can touch Israel’s martyrdom in the homes of survivors. An invincible people confesses its bewilderment, while the world deepens their wounds.
What happened in a small village like Itamar was certainly less spectacular than the tons of metal and ashes in Manhattan on 9/11. But I do really believe that the majestic horror of 9/11 can be matched by the lone deaths of the three little Fogels.
This week many in Israel will remind one another of the beautiful lives of that family, but I feel only sadness. Not only because evil exists. Not only because three children in Itamar met it in cold blood during the night, but also because the world digested their death so easily.
Because it is as if these little victims never really existed.
Because every time death knocked at the Jews' door, the black hole of perdition swallowed up another name without leaving any trace. Because when Jewish names are forgotten, again, it means the “civilized world” is reconciling itself again to the prospect of a new Shoah.
My brother knows who the Clutters were. But he doesn't know who the Fogels were.