On Sunday evening, just outside the community of Ofra in the Shomron, a car drove by a bus stop where people were waiting for rides. One of the occupants of the car opened the passenger-side window and fired an automatic weapon, spraying the group with bullets.
Seven Israelis were injured in the attack, among them newlyweds Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran. Shira was hit in her torso and legs. The 21-year-old was seven months pregnant, and her baby had to be delivered by an emergency C-section. The baby boy died Wednesday. As we go to press, Shira is at Shaare Zedek Hospital in critical but stable condition, thankfully improving daily.
Last week, the United Nations General Assembly failed to pass a resolution that would have officially labeled Hamas a recognized terror organization. Following the Ofra shooting, Hamas issued a statement praising the attack and calling the terrorists “heroic.”
In the aftermath of this horror, there are several things that need to be addressed. One is the mechanics of the UN failure to officially condemn Hamas. The other is that few media outlets — print or electronic — saw fit to cover the attempted murder of seven Jews. It is as if this type of event is part of normal, everyday life and is accepted as a routine matter.
Why it was necessary to point out that Shira Ish-Ran was pregnant and her baby passed away defies comprehension. Of course, it emphasizes the heinousness of the attack, but is that what Israel needs to evoke some sympathy and understanding from the international community?
Even with that added dimension, the world is still largely unmoved. The attack on Sunday night did not make it into The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, or Fox News. It is as if shooting at civilians on Israel’s roads is just a ho-hum, everyday occurrence that does not warrant or even attract any attention from anyone.
Jason Greenblatt, the president’s lead negotiator on Middle East peace, characterized the attack as “disgusting.” But while it is that and much more, why does that have to be pointed out? Is there an assault — or worse, a murder — of Jews anywhere that cannot be described that way? Yes, of course, an attack that involves a pregnant young woman is an especially egregious and dastardly one. But so are all the others.
As for the UN’s inability to condemn the terror mechanisms of Hamas, that is not surprising. I am not saying that the majority of the UN supports Hamas or terror, though there certainly are some member nations that do. What it means is that they are afraid of antagonizing and provoking Hamas.
At the UN last week, 87 countries supported a U.S.-sponsored resolution condemning Hamas and singling it out as a terror organization. The non-binding resolution did not pass because 57 countries opposed the resolution while another 33 abstained from voting. All Arab countries, even those with warming relations with Israel, voted against the proposal. Those countries included Egypt and Jordan, who have peace treaties with Israel, as well as all the Gulf States.
African countries like Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, which receive over $1.6 billion in U.S. aid, also voted down the U.S. resolution, making certain that it did not have sufficient votes to pass.
Following the UN vote, President Trump asked outgoing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley which countries voted against the resolution and suggested the vote would impact future U.S. aid.
On Tuesday evening, the news broke of at least four people killed and many more injured at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France. The news was immediately plastered across many online news outlets, even though the open-to-immigrants European environment has become a breeding ground over the years for these types of tragic attacks.
The Sunday-night Israel attack, with the newly married couple in a Jerusalem hospital with their premature baby boy clinging to life, only received coverage on Jewish and Israeli news sites. So the old question is whether there is somewhere in this dynamic of no news coverage and the international community struggling to condemn terror that allows a caveat where the signal is sent that says that terror attacks targeting Jews are not OK but are still different than when it happens in France or anywhere else.
The idea that young Arabs can drive a car on a roadway in the Shomron and shoot at people because they are Jews is not something that is exclusively a dimension of their deep-rooted institutional Jew hatred. Nor is it that their disdain for Jews, as Menachem Begin used to say, is fed to them in their mothers’ milk.
That small place in people’s minds and hearts that tells that this is acceptable is buttressed by a multiplicity of events, including the recent decision by Airbnb to refuse listings for rentals in Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria because their foreign-policy experts decided that the Jews reside illegally in these territories. Airbnb executives may have undertaken a move they believed would have popular support. Fortunately, some U.S. cities are already looking into whether the global travel company may have broken state laws by prohibiting about 200 listings in what they call the West Bank and lawsuits have been filed against Airbnb in Israel and the United States.
Whether Airbnb has the blood of Shifra Ish-Ran and her child on their hands is perhaps debatable. One thing for sure is that they have certainly made a contribution in that direction. For now, let’s call it “accessory to attempted murder” — not a pretty thing to be associated with.
While an impressive number of countries thought that incurring the wrath of President Trump was more risky than insulting the terrorists that lead Hamas, there still were not enough countries with the courage to stand up. The most heartless players in the group were the Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain, who all voted against the U.S. resolution even though their relationship with Israel is increasingly warm.
The idea that the murder of Jews in any part of the land of Israel is somewhat understandable even though not encouraged is an attitude that should not be tolerated or even minimally accepted under any circumstances. That is the issue that needs to be addressed.