It was almost eleven years ago and one of the happiest moments of my life. My son was becoming engaged and we were on our way to Elkana to meet his bride-to-be’s parents. We were nervous. We were excited. And we were impatient to get there. It had been over ten years since we’d driven by Elkana on our way to the coast, over ten years since the Oslo Accords were signed. Over ten years since it was determined that parts of Israel would be closed to Jewish travelers. A bypass road was built and instead of driving straight to Elkana via Biddya, and other Arab villages we had to use the Shomron Highway, go past Elkana, and then fork back to arrive there. It took maybe an extra fifteen minutes but when one is impatient every minute can seem like hours.
Just this past Thursday, May 15th, a crowd was standing at a bus stop on Route 367 at the entrance of Alon Shvut. That’s the same bus stop where Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal, Hy’d, were abducted last summer. It‘s also the same site that Dalia Lemkus, Hy’d, was standing the past November when an Arab terrorist stabbed her to death. Thursday an Arab terrorist, no doubt inspired by similar recent attacks in Jerusalem, ploughed his car into the crowd at the bus stop. Most standing there were students on their way home from school for the weekend. Four were injured, one of them, Aryeh Ben Rina, seriously. I am not acquainted with Aryeh Ben Rina and only know that he learns at Yeshivat Har Etzion. Still, I pray for his full recovery.
In reaction to the attack there were calls to close the road to Arab travelers. As sensible as that sounds to me I doubt it will happen. The powers to be in Israel are too worried about condemnation from the world. I, as a Jew, can be barred from using certain highways in Israel but our politicians tend to see the reverse as too controversial. They seem to forget that forty-eight years ago the world did nothing to stop the amassing Arab armies bent on destroying the tiny state of Israel. At that time our leaders bravely did what needed to be done and HaShem made miracle after miracle for us.
We need to remember that there is no logic to anti-Semitism. The same people who condemn Jews for walking to their death like sheep to the slaughter during the Holocaust also condemn Israel for defending itself. Now, for better or worse, we have a new government. I pray that this government will be the one to finally stop worrying about world opinion, begin trusting HaShem, see all His miracles, and do what’s right for Israel. Please join me in my prayers. And please pray for Aryeh Ben Rina.