Individual Response to the Murders

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House ( and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives ( He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....
All of Israel is mourning the terrible news of the horrific murders. This will take time and it won't be easy. For the families and friends, their lives are changed forever. The Jewish People have suffered a terrible loss.

Where do we go from here? From the looks of things, its "business as usual" for the Government: empty threats, relatively meaningless military actions, more restrictions on soldiers - for goodness sake, the ambulance carrying the holy dead bodies was pelted with stones and ZERO Arabs were killed or even wounded - how the hell is that possible?!!! I think anyone expecting much meaningful Government action is about as delusional as those that expected anything helpful from Abu Mazen, the UN or the rest of the world in rescuing the boys. So where does that leave us?

As Jewish individuals we must take personal responsibility and action! Before the existence of the State of Israel, this was virtually the only option we as Jews had. Now that we have a "state of our own", there are those who mistakenly believe that we can exclusively rely on the State to represent and secure the rights of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel. THIS IS A MISTAKE!! We must do it ourselves! Why the Government is incapable and/or unwilling to do it is an interesting philosophical and political question. Regardless of the reason(s), the cold reality is that they are not doing it and seemingly have no intention to!

Whether its the actions today of "Women in Green" near Tzomet HaGush to found a new community or of the heroic Moskowitz Family's continuous actions for the Jewish Presence in Israel and in all of liberated Jerusalem in particular - these are the shining examples that we need to be actively following. Waiting for Bibi or Boogie or any of the other politicians (read: sellouts) to do something significant is simply a waste of time and energy. Simply expecting hope and change will always leave you with something akin to an Obama.

There are numerous ways for all of us, with G-d's help, to personally strengthen the Jewish Presence in the Land of Israel. Some involve money, some involve hard physical labor and some involved building morale and encouragement. I completely support starting new communities, especially in strategic and historically important locations, but there is so much to be done to support already existing neighborhoods and communities. Surely every community could use something that would strengthen it, so there are no lack of opportunities.

I thought I would list a few that came to my mind:

1) Investing in purchasing and developing properties currently owned by our enemies throughout Israel and particularly in Jerusalem!

2) Funds are needed to finish the dormitory at Shavei Hevron - where Eyal Yifrah studied

3) Funds for the new (already approved!) campus at Beit Orot Yeshiva in Jerusalem

4) Funds for a synagogue in Maale Zeitim on the Mount of Olives

5) Archaeological work in Shiloh and the City of David

6) Agricultural work in vineyards and olive groves throughout Judea and Samaria, specifically right near Tzomet HaGush, where the kidnapping happened!

7) Support those actively strengthening the Jewish Presence by composing blogs, talk-backs, editorials, personal messages and emails

8) Funds are needed for building synagogues in both Havat Maon and Kfar Tapuach Maarav - both of these practically expand our borders!

9) Funds for the renovation of "Beit HaShalom" in Hevron so that more Jewish families can move in

10) Funds for necessary security and medical equipment - One Israel Fund

11) Field work at Givat Eitam, near Efrat

12) Funds for Kollels in places like Meitzad and Shiloh

There are many more things that can be done. Precisely as so many have so valiantly come together to support the soldiers during the search for the boys and are continuing to support them as they hunt for the murderers (as someone who personally houses dozens of "lone soldiers" at the Jerusalem Heritage House, I know how critically important this is!) , the same energy and resources should be put toward the physical and spiritual strengthening of the Jewish Presence throughout the Land of Israel, wherever it is endangered (including the Galilee and the Negev, Lod and Ramle, Jaffa and Akko).

But we cannot rely on this Israeli Government to do it!! It's up to us! We owe it to Eyal, Gilad and Naphtali! They gave their lives, we should at least give our time, energy and money!

Their memory should be for a blessing and may G-d avenge their blood,

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem