Tactless Comforters Anger Bereaved Mother

Dvora Gonen is sitting shiva over her son, who was murdered by a terrorist. So why do senior visitors blame the victim?

Gil Ronen ,

Rivlin at Gonen Shiva
Rivlin at Gonen Shiva
Mark Neyman (GPO)

Dvora Gonen is completing the shiva – the seven-day Jewish mourning period – for her slain son Danny, who was murdered by an Arab terrorist as he traveled in Samaria last Friday.

Amazingly, some of the people who came to comfort her in her grief wound up doing the opposite.

Assaf Golan, an editor at Makor Rishon, posted on Facebook Thursday night that he, too, went to the Gonen home to comfort the bereaved mother – and found her in a furious emotional state.

"It turns out that quite a few public officials and senior IDF officers who came to visit her told her to her face that Danny Gonen is to blame for his death because he went to spring in Judea and Samaria, because he was unarmed, because he failed to coordinate the trip with the IDF and more,” wrote Golan.

"Worst of all, unfortunately, was President Reuven Rivlin, who said that if Danny Gonen had been carrying a gun, the terror attack would never have happened,” Golan added sadly. “The 'great sages' even mentioned the three youths who were abducted a year ago, and noted that they were hitchiking in a dangerous area.”

“Dvora Gonen was positively shocked by these statements and asked me and all of the comforters – 'Was the agriculturalist Bar Kapparah who was murdered also to blame? Are Border Police in Jerusalem to blame? Is a woman who is raped to blame? Is it her fault if she is raped?”

None of these “comforters” seemed to realize that even if he did have criticism for the victim's actions – the mother's shiva was not the place to state them.

Golan said that Dvora Gonen asked to publish the matter, and “to tell all the politicians that if they are coming to comfort her just to do their job and not because they are human beings, then let them not come, because they are only making things worse.”

"I felt as if they were explaining why they are OK and I am to blame, and they did so although I did not blame them at all,” Gonen said. “I blame only the terrorist. He murdered on his own. But the politicians and the senior IDF officers seem to have lost something on the way to their positions.”