On June 11, the day before the kidnapping of Israeli teens Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel, a resident of Moshav Yashresh named Avraham Levy murdered his two young children in cold blood.
The horror story was the kind that would have received extensive media coverage and public outrage had it not been upstaged by the abduction.
The explanation for this is twofold. In the first place, items that involve the wider conflict between Arabs and Jews in Israel necessarily capture the attention of the international press in a way that local ones do not. Secondly, though no less important, the teenagers were deemed alive and in need of urgent rescue, whereas 14-year-old Sarah Levy and her 10-year-old brother, Yishai, were already dead.
Their tragic end nevertheless warrants recounting. Doing so is not merely a way of paying respect to their devastated mother, who has received none of the sympathy that has been heaped on the parents of Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali, and of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was brutally burned to death on July 2 by a group of young Jewish-Israeli vigilantes out for vengeance.
Another reason for telling their tale is to examine Israeli society’s response to it, by way of contrast.
Avraham Levy and his wife, Karen — an American immigrant to Israel — divorced three years ago. According to the terms of the divorce, Karen was allowed to take the children to live in the United States (near her family), with the stipulation that they would visit their father in Israel twice a year.
In spite of the fact that Karen and the children had spent time at a shelter for battered women following repeated domestic abuse, the court determined — based on the opinion of social services professionals — that Avraham was fit to see his children.
Karen kept up her end of the deal. After moving to Columbus, Ohio, she sent the kids to Israel as scheduled. And everything was fine, or at least ostensibly so, until last month. The children arrived for the summer, as planned. They were picked up from the airport and brought to their aunt’s house, where they enjoyed a pleasant family dinner.
Afterwards, Avraham (I hesitate to call this monster their father) took them to his house. There he tied them up, stabbed them repeatedly and then slit their throats. When his dastardly, premeditated deed was done, he turned himself in to police. He killed his kids, he said, to take revenge on their mother for divorcing him.
He was indicted on Sunday. Without taking a survey, it is safe to say that everyone in this country would agree that he should rot in jail. Since Israel does not have the death penalty, prison time is the best, and worst, we can hope for such scum.
Unfortunately, he is not alone. According the National Council for the Child, there have been 71 children killed by family members. It is not clear whether this includes honor killings in Muslim families, but there are enough Jews in Israel who have committed horrendous acts on their children for other, equally sick and twisted motives.
Every time such a crime emerges, the outcry is deafening. Blame is cast on social workers, the police and the courts for not doing enough to prevent it from happening in the first place. Indeed, in this case as well, it is unfathomable to most Israelis that a man who beat up his wife and children to the point that they had to seek refuge in shelter and then move to the United States should be allowed to host his offspring unsupervised.
Be that as it may, the one thing that Israelis do not do when we hear of such unspeakable acts is blame ourselves. Other than a tiny minority of extreme leftists — who claim that the rise of violence of all kinds, including within the family, is the result of the “occupation” (which they say “corrupts” the entire fabric of society) — the majority does the opposite.
It is not merely that we do not beat our own breasts when a parent murders his child; we totally distance ourselves from it. We reiterate our disbelief that any father or mother could even contemplate harming, let alone viciously put to death, the very innocents he or she brought into the world.
As soon as such an atrocity is committed against an Arab by Jews, however, suddenly the entire country screams “mea culpa.”
This self-flagellation is going on in relation to the slaughter of poor Muhammad Abu Khdeir, whose Jewish thug killers have been apprehended by police and denounced by all. Like Avraham Levy, they should never be allowed to see the light of day. And, as in the case of Levy, if Israel were a country that imposed capital punishment, they would and should be prime candidates.
But I will not take responsibility as a Jew for their sociopathic fanaticism any more than I do as a parent for Levy’s evil treatment of his daughter and son. Nor should the state of Israel rush to vilify itself for crimes in its midst that it attempts to stomp out by democratic means.
On the contrary, we citizens should feel both proud of and grateful for this country, whose leaders and the bulk of whose populace consider violence an abomination that cannot — and will not — be tolerated.
Shame on those who have been saying otherwise.
Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.'” This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.