Perhaps an Apology is Due?

The arrest of a youngster from the Kahane family made news waves, but his release after proving his alibi was true made hardly a ripple.

Yoel Meltzer

OpEds guest
Arutz 7

A short time ago the main story on nearly every Israeli news site was the possible involvement of a teenage relative of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane in the arson attack last month on a mosque in the Palestinian village of Yasuf.  (ed. note: INN, as opposed to other news outlets, did not publicize the minor's name) Not surprisingly this story generated much interest and many reactions.

As I browsed from site to site, both in Hebrew and in English, I was amazed to see reactions that were simply seething with hatred.  No one remembered the fact that the youngster denied all involvement in the incident, that he claimed he had an alibi as to where he was at the time of the attack, that according to his lawyer he had a clean record, or that he was being investigated without a family member present despite being a minor. His family name was enough for him to be tried and judged in the media.

Where was the compassion for an adolescent whose mother and father were both
His family name was enough for him to be tried and judged in the media.
murdered in a terrorist attack nearly ten years ago when he was just a child?  Does his family name evoke such hatred that it obliterates his right to be considered innocent until proven guilty?

For many there was a sinking feeling  of déjà vu when this story made the news.  In light of the recent freeze on building in Judea and Samaria and the near warlike preparation to enforce the freeze, it appeared that this was simply another irresistible attempt to incite against a particular population. 

Although no one knows for certain what is being planned for the future of the Jews living in Judea and Samaria, the gut feeling of many is that it is something in the direction of what was done to the Jews formerly living in Gaza.  Of course following the Lebanon War, the Gaza War, and the overall horrendous treatment of the Jews who formerly lived in Gaza, removing even part of the Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria will not be an easy sell to the Israeli public.  For this reason it does not seem so far fetched that the defamation strategy employed then is being used once again.  The more the settlers are made to look extreme, the easier the sell to the Israeli
Along with his five sisters, he lost his parents when they were all just children.

Although such a tactic is despicable in and of itself since it results in turning Jew against Jew, it is even worse if this boy was a suspect because his family name is recognizable instantly. Once again we’re talking about someone who, along with his five sisters, lost his parents when they were all just children and whose grandfather was murdered as well.

The youngster was released after seven hours of investigation due to lack of any evidence and after verification of his alibi, a chain of events which only strengthened the belief amongst many that this was an attempt to besmirch and incite.  The long term effects of enduring this experience during formative teen years make it an especially insensitive mistake.

Whatever the case, both those responsible for arresting him as well as all those who spewed such hatred towards him, should do some soul searching and offer him a public apology.

Such internal hatred only brings more calamities upon us.