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January 10, 2017 8:22 am

The Blame-Game Blitz After the Truck-Ramming Attack in Jerusalem

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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The victims of Sunday's truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem. (Clockwise from top) 20-year-old Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut, 20-year-old cadet Shira Tzur of Haifa, 22-year-old cadet Shir Hajaj of Ma’aleh Adumim and 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel of Givatayim. Photo: Facebook.

The victims of Sunday’s truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem. (Clockwise from top) 20-year-old Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut, 20-year-old cadet Shira Tzur of Haifa, 22-year-old cadet Shir Hajaj of Ma’aleh Adumim and 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel of Givatayim. Photo: Facebook.

On Sunday evening, when the details of the allegedly Islamic State-inspired truck-‎ramming attack in Jerusalem that afternoon were beginning to take shape, I received a ‎phone call from a friend in distress.‎

Unlike so many of our peers that day, neither she nor I had been directly affected by the ‎terrorist atrocity, in which an IDF officer and three officers’ course cadets were murdered and another ‎‎15 wounded. And she was not suffering from a common form of anxiety experienced ‎when the loved ones of others are killed or injured.‎

‎”I have had it with leftists,” she said.‎

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Since she is not exactly a rabid right-winger herself — and though I was deeply upset by ‎the tragedy I had just spent hours reading and writing about — I laughed. What, I ‎wondered, brought this on?‎

She told me that she first learned of the attack from a mutual friend whom she ‎encountered while out running errands.‎

 ‎”The blood of the victims wasn’t even dry yet, and the only thing that woman had to say ‎was, ‘It’s so awful; now Bibi will go up in the polls.'”‎

Again I chuckled, this time at my friend’s naive outrage at something I have come to take ‎for granted: Whenever something bad happens, including a rainstorm at an outdoor ‎wedding, blame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and bemoan his electoral popularity.‎

But it is not only members of the Israeli Left who respond to every ill that befalls the ‎Jewish state by bashing it and its leaders. My compatriots on the Right have a similar ‎tendency, albeit from the opposite point of view.‎

Sunday’s attack gave expression to the latest example of this phenomenon on both sides ‎of the political spectrum.‎

To understand the way Israelis — as all human beings — automatically translate every ‎event into the language of their ideology, one has to review the facts of the truck-‎ramming, as they have unfolded, based on security camera footage, eyewitness accounts ‎and other evidence collected at the scene.‎

At approximately 1:30 pm, a large group of cadets on a weekly educational outing that ‎is part of their training to become officers arrived at the Armon Hanatziv promenade and ‎began to disembark from their buses.‎

The terrorist truck driver sat in wait while the young men and women in uniform ‎descended onto the curb and adjacent grass. He then stepped on the gas and plowed into ‎them. Many said later that initially they thought they were witnessing a car accident, but ‎realized it was an attack when the perpetrator put his vehicle in reverse and slammed into ‎them again. ‎

One of the guides, a civilian who had served in a combat unit, was knocked down, but ‎pulled out his pistol and proceeded to shoot the terrorist. He said that though he emptied ‎his magazine, the driver continued to move. Meanwhile, dozens of soldiers fled, and ‎others took cover, as they were instructed to do by another guide.‎

Before the proverbial dust had settled — or, as my friend put it, “before the blood was ‎dry” — Facebook and Twitter lit up with video clips, accompanied by comments and ‎arguments about what had transpired. The print and broadcast media were frantically ‎playing catch-up, competing to reveal the “truth” of the whole episode, quoting sources ‎from the government, security forces and medical first-responders.‎

Yes, while the parents of the 20-year-old victims were hysterically making their way to ‎Jerusalem, either to identify bodies or reach hospitals, the rest of the country was engaged ‎in ongoing commentary and debate. ‎

On the Left, as my friend can attest, there were those who cynically saw the attack as a ‎boost to the Right, which garners more support when Arabs kill Jews. Others on that side ‎who believe that Palestinian terrorism is the result of Israeli “occupation,” held the ‎government responsible for failing to secure a two-state solution.‎

On the Right, there were those who criticized the soldiers for running away, rather than ‎cocking their rifles and doing the job that their uniform requires. Others defended the ‎soldiers, attributing their seeming cowardice to the fear instilled in them that using their ‎weapons could lead to lawsuits. This position was based on the idea that the case of IDF ‎Sgt. Elor Azaria — convicted last week of manslaughter for killing a subdued terrorist — ‎was responsible for “trigger reluctance” on the part of the soldiers witnessing the truck-‎ramming attack.‎

What got lost in all the noise was the carnage itself, as well as the reality — for which ‎Netanyahu is neither responsible nor has a magic formula to prevent — of global jihad.‎

There is a time and a place for investigations, interrogations and even the hurling of ‎accusations. But first and foremost, let us mourn the dead, help the wounded heal and ‎direct our wrath at the death-worshipers who slaughter innocent people and are glorified ‎by their inciters for doing so. Remember: While we were engaging in a blame-game blitz ‎after the attack, directing our anger at Netanyahu and the IDF brass, residents of ‎Ramallah and Gaza were honoring their own leaders by dancing in the streets and ‎distributing candy. ‎

Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.

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