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Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, her son Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier’s Mother. The blog continues as Elie begins Reserve Duty and her son Shmulik is now a soldier. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish.
Links to the Author's blogs:
Adar Bet 6, 5771, 3/12/2011
"Did you hear?" Elie said when I came to the table moments after the Sabbath had ended.
"No, what?" I asked.
"Bad news," he said. And then he told me. "Two parents and three children. Stabbed. Itamar."
"Killed?" I asked, already feeling the horror starting to mount inside me.
"Yes," he answered quietly.
"Oh, God. Oh, God," I kept repeating. "Oh, God."
The anger, the rage that comes is almost more than I can stand. It chokes you. It fills you, infuriates you. What animals, you want to scream to the world. "Animals," I said out loud to my husband and my son, who was and is a soldier. "Animals," I said again. It is a horrible thing to call a person an animal and yet what other word can you use? What sets us apart as humans is our ability not to feed off others, and yet only humans murder for the sake of murder. Perhaps we are even less civilized than the animals if we can butcher a child, an infant, a baby.
I quickly opened my computer. We stopped having a television in our home when we moved more than a year ago and, in truth, I rarely miss it. I love having my children find other ways to amuse themselves. But tonight, I could use a television to see and learn more quickly what is happening now. But there is nothing happening now, not really.
As always, there is confusion in the early reports. It seems, in the early morning hours or perhaps very late last night, Arab terrorists sneaked into a house in Itamar and stabbed a husband and his wife, an 11-year old, a 3-year old, and a 2-month old baby. Perhaps the baby was only 1 month old. It isn't clear, the reports differ. Does it matter? I cannot comprehend what it takes to stab an infant, a child, two children. A woman asleep, a man unarmed.
What bastard religion calls this a thing of honor? What society hands out candies and celebrates such devastation and horror? They are celebrating in Gaza today - handing out sweets. They are so proud of their brave and honored brother, who showed his manhood...by stabbing a helpless infant.
It is hard to be an Israeli tonight. To sit here and know that life was stolen before it was every fully attained. Harder still to imagine what a young 12-year-old girl is experiencing now. She was the one who returned from visiting with friends to find her parents and two of her siblings murdered. She found two other siblings and took them to neighbors to get help. Yesterday, a family with six children; today, three orphans.
The US government announces its condemnation and outrage. Small comfort there when all too often, they demand we remove the very checkpoints that help protect against these attacks. France has condemned the attack and urges restraint. Why? Why should we restrain ourselves? Are they restraining themselves in Gaza as they dance in the streets and hand out candies? Did they restrain their hands as they stabbed this small Jewish baby?
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned any violent act towards civilians, "regardless of the circumstances," and yet it is his own organization that claims responsibility for this attack. He cannot even bring himself to name the place and the people - his standard general comment only infuriates more.>
There are no words that can adequately describe the anger and the rage I am feeling and so there is no comfort. The world will forget, as it always does - each orphan, each infant. It sickens me beyond words. Already, comments are being made on CNN news chats saying that Israel is responsible for the killings because of the stalled peace talks. How, I wonder, can someone blame Israel for two terrorists who jump a fence, enter a house through a window, and murder, in cold blood, a couple and their children? How can you blame Israel for the deranged action of a terrorist capable of stabbing an infant to death and the society that supports and encourages such actions?
No, it is wrong. It is an abomination. It is beneath everything we know as humanity. And there can be no peace, none, with a society that celebrates this horror. For now, as I check the news stations, I try to find something that can console, something that can comfort. Tomorrow, there will be funerals.
And through the blinding agony comes one thought. This is not 1940; this is not Europe. We are not helpless. There is no more that we can do - but even now, there are those who are acting. There are those who are finding the clues to the identities of the murderers.
Quietly, in the days to come, they will be hunted. That is, after all, what you do with animals - you hunt them. It is not a popular thing to say; it is not politically correct. We will hunt those who butchered an infant, two children and their parents. They will be caught. Perhaps they will be arrested. Perhaps they will resist. They will be caught.
That is the only comfort I can find as I sit here and think of these murders. We cannot bring this family back; we cannot remove the horrifying pictures that will forever be engraved in the eyes of a 12-year-old girl. But we can find these martyrs of Islam and make sure they never do this again.
Soon, very soon, their families will know that Israel is not helpless; that despite Obama and Clinton, despite France's concern for restraint and Abbas' meaningless words, the Jewish State protects its own. Perhaps the UN will condemn us - no matter. Others will criticize us on CNN - we do not care.
My response is the hunt is on and it will continue until these people are brought to justice. Somewhere, deep in my heart, I hope they resist. Then, it will be God who declares their punishment.
May God avenge the blood of these innocents.