Father, son murdered 25 years ago remembered

Dozens gather at Lapid junction near Kiryat Arba in memory of Mordechai Lapid and son Shalom, murdered 25 years ago near Hevron.

Hezki Baruch,

Remembering the Lapids
Remembering the Lapids
Hezki Baruch

On the 25th anniversary of the murder of Mordechai Lapid and his son Shalom, a torch-lighting event was held this morning at the junction where they were murdered near Kiryat Arba, named after the Lapids. "Lapid" means "torch" in Hebrew.

The event, which was held under heavy security, was attended by Kiryat Arba Council head Eliyahu Libman, the IDF Hevron Brigade Commander, the Hevron Police Commander, and students of the Bnei Akiva Ulpana in Kiryat Arba.

After lighting torches, Meir Lapid, Mordechai's son and Shalom's brother, spoke of the idea behind the event:

"Twenty-five years have passed since they murdered two Jews, a father and a son. Why did they murder them?

"I don't know if any of those present ever heard about a conversation that once took place between two men. One was David Hilbert, a German mathematician who was a leading German scientist and had great influence on mathematics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Bernhard Rust, who was the new Education Minister in Hitler's government.

"The two sat together for a meal, and then Bernhard Rust asked whether, after the 'departure' of the Jews, the Institute of Mathematics was really influenced or suffered from the absence of the Jews? Hilbert bravely answered the Education Minister: 'Suffering? It no longer exists!'

"It's also worth paying attention to the wording: 'Departure'. Hitler's Education Minister wouldn't say 'deportation' and certainly not 'murder'. Hilbert's answer was that mathematics in Germany was over.

"Why should we mention here an odd conversation that took place some 80 years ago? What's the connection between this conversation and what happened here 25 years ago?

"The question of why they murdered a father and his son isn't a small question and it's not as simple as one might think. To answer it, it isn't enough to be sad once a year about personal loss and pain. The pain is enormous, and the disadvantage and absence, it's important to know, don't really disappear over the years.

"But when we stand here, alongside this pain, it's our duty to investigate and understand what is hatred of Israel, or by another term: 'anti-Semitism'. How is it possible that an act that causes serious harm to the murderer himself is insufficient to cause the murderer to refrain from murdering? What is the significance of the fact that even though mathematics in Germany was severely harmed or in the words of that mathematician David Hilbert, 'it's all over', as many good things ended with the departure and murder of Jews throughout Germany and Europe - and yet they murdered the Jews.

"In order to try and cope with this terrible reality, we must stand here. Year after year. One doesn't immediately understand the connection, and sometimes not after many years, but at least to try to feel, and through this maybe we can begin to understand.

"The great pain is about the very reality that such a thing can happen and that such murders continue to take place. Only this year were added more Jewish murders and the murderer from Barkan hasn't even been caught.

"We speak today about 'Deal of the Century' and other plans. Any such program should start with a value-based plan, and in order to build a value-based plan, we must first understand the problem in depth. In order to understand the problem in depth, we must stand here. Here, and wherever a Jew was murdered.

"I want to conclude with a few words about an idea that we'll begin to actualize in the next few years.

"The idea is that in one day, wherever a Jew was murdered, a beacon of fire will be lit. Every place where Jews were murdered like here, we should light a beacon of fire. Every such place will be adopted by various educational institutions. Such an educational project, in cooperation with the families, who will stand together in silence and light a torch to demonstrate our unconditional love and loyalty to their memory, and that we will not forget. A stance that has substance by standing. Standing in the place of the murder, and not only theoretically or 'virtually'. A stance that will help us feel a little what of we can hardly understand, that is hatred of Israel. This deep understanding will also be the key to a solution."

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Translated by Mordechai Sones




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