On Friday I went to pay a shiva call (comfort the mourners) to the parents, brothers, sister and especially – the pregnant widow and orphans of Netanel Arami, may G-d avenge his blood. Netanel plunged to his death on Tuesday when somebody cut the rope from which he was rappelling as part of his work at a construction site. Nobody was at the house when I got there. Later, a few people entered.
I thought of all the shiva calls that I had made during Operation Protective Edge. I thought of the constant IDF accompaniment of the bereaved families; of the feeling of solidarity that enveloped them; of the steady stream of visitors who sought to comfort them.
Netanel’s story is no less disturbing than the story of the three abducted teenagers. If you or I had been dangling at the end of the rope on the 18th floor, the Arab murderer would have cut the rope as well, and we would have plunged to our shocking deaths just like Neteanel. The Arab didn’t murder Netanel for personal reasons; he murdered him because he is a Jew, exactly the same fate as the three abducted teens.
Netanel was one of those everyday righteous souls. He worked hard to support his young family. He had just opened up his own rappelling business. He didn’t come from a wealthy family. He and his wife were just a young Israeli family starting out on their own. He worked hard, dealt with his overdraft, with the contractors who didn’t pay on time – and nonetheless, employed another person who had a rough start in life and is also building his family. “Go out and buy everything you need for your new baby,” Netanel told him. “I will pay.” The worker did not know that the money for the pacifiers he bought for his own baby were instead of the necessities for Netanel’s baby.
Netanel laid shattered on the ground for five hours. His mother heard about the ‘accident’ from the internet. The employee brought the police. They went up to the roof and saw the cut rope and heard the Arab workers there laughing. A cut rappelling rope looks completely different than a rope that has been worn out. And there are always 2 ropes: one main rope and one safety rope.
The police have placed a censorship order on the entire case. What else is there to hide, other than the will to block news and conceal the truth from the public?
On the night of the murder, the police called the grieving widow. They treated her almost like a criminal.
“You have to come in to the police station,” they roughly said to the widow holding her baby.
“You want to bury your husband, don’t you?”
“Yes, but why do I have to go to the police station?”
“You have to sign a release for an autopsy.”
“But I do not have a car.”
And so, the new widow, on the evening that the murder was discovered, had to run to the police station to argue against an autopsy.
Since then, nothing. No representative from the police, nobody to give the family an update, no psychologist to help them over the hurdle, no welfare for the children. Nothing. Complete evasion. And a censorship order on the investigation. And media avoidance of the story.
It is a convenient way to solve problems. We will hint that perhaps it was a criminal act and not an act of terror. We will leave the case open. Using the excuse of ongoing investigation, we will destroy a family. Just like we did to Shelly Dadon’s family, may G-d avenge her blood. In that case , the flaccid Minister of Internal Security hurried off to the Arab town of Taibeh to announce that more investigative directions were being examined. Or just like the case of Rabbi Moshe Talbi, found shot at the Yakir intersection. The police hurriedly murdered him again, claiming that he had committed suicide. The family had to heroically fight for years to get the police to admit that the beloved head of their family had been murdered. This method has been employed numerous times. The goal is to divert public attention to other matters.
Just imagine what would have happened if the story had been the other way around: That an Arab worker had plunged too his death, the rope was found slashed and on the roof, Jewish workers were laughing…There would be no room in the news to pontificate about Gideon Sa’ar. The President and half the government ministers would run to comfort the family. The police would establish a special investigative unit and then another one. The flaccid Minister for Internal Security would call for the destruction of a few more settlements and who knows what else.
A murderous uprising is taking place in Israel. On the roads. In the mixed Jewish/Arab cities. In Jerusalem they burn homes. And who dares to ride the light train to Pisgat Ze’ev?
It all begins with the surrender of the Temple Mount. From there, the violence trickles to the rest of Jerusalem and from there, to every place where Jews and Arabs live near each other. People simply live in fear. Not in Tel Aviv, of course. No Arabs there, and please don’t bother us with the facts.
Paradoxically, this ostrich-like behavior at the expense of the bereaved families ensures that there will be no peace between the nations. There is a kernel of Arabs, particularly young Arabs, who do want to live with us in peace. They despise the warmongering Arab MKs. They accept the fact that Israel is a Jewish state, exactly like the Druze, Cherkesim and other minorities here. They respect the State and understand very well that compared to their Arab brethren in other countries, they live in a veritable Garden of Eden. But the teacher who flees the kindergarten leaves the toys for the violent children. Most of the children join in the cycle of violence because they think the teacher will not return. The flaccid Minister of Internal Affairs leaves them no choice.
I meet these Arabs. They come to see me at the Knesset. I know what I am talking about. When Israel flees its responsibility and doesn’t set clear borders for the Arab public, the first people to be harmed are the Jews. But immediately afterwards, the Arabs who truly wish to be loyal to the State and live with us in peace are harmed, as well. This conduct pushes more and more potentially loyal Arabs into the cycle of violence.
Back to the Arami family. The little boy comes home from kindergarten and looks for his father. He still does not understand. Slowly but surely, I realize that the family is suffering economic distress as well. Who knows how much more abuse they will have to endure until they are recognized as victims of terror and receive government support? Who will support them in the meantime?
Please give what you can to help support Moriah Arami and her children until she can get back on her own two feet. The State is not going to be there for her in the foreseeable future. I cannot think of a more important mitzvah to do before Rosh Hashanah. You can mail a check to:
If you are in Israel, you can make a bank transfer to: