Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

An Inexcusable Act of Terror in Jerusalem

There can be no equivocation in condemning today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem and expressing pure sympathy for the victims, their families and their community.

There can be no caveats, no excuses. This brazen slaughter of men at prayer serves no legitimate political purpose other than to dangerously escalate tensions between two people who clearly have not tried hard enough to figure out how to live together in some semblance of peace and respect.

The Har Nof neighborhood, where the attack occurred that left four dead and at least eight seriously injured, is not in East Jerusalem. It is not in contested land. It is on the internationally accepted side of the Green Line, within the state of Israel proper, as rooted to Israel as the Empire State Building is to New York.

So any gesture towards placing this in a large political context is disingenuous. Sorry, we won’t accept the justification that the terror was provoked in even some small way by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as was suggested by a relative of one of the two attackers.

We have sharp disagreements with the policies of Netanyahu’s government, especially the continued building of settlements that ignores international law and further degrades the opportunity for a political agreement with the Palestinians. We can understand the boiling frustration engendered by decades of living under occupation.

But that anger is wildly misplaced when it results in the spilling of blood and multiple murder in a house of prayer. This is not, as described by Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s central committee, “a normal reaction to the Israeli oppression.” The massacre of Muslims at prayer in a mosque in Hebron 20 years ago should never be excused or lionized, and neither should this horrific act.

While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s denunciation of the attack is welcome, it is not nearly enough. He needs to take full responsibility for what Secretary of State John Kerry called “a pure result of incitement.” In the last few weeks, he and other Palestinian leaders have riled up the populace with unfounded fears that Israel is posed to take over the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as Haram al-Sharif, a step Netanyahu has repeatedly denied. They must accept their share of the blame for enabling such thinking and for turning murderers into martyrs.

This is a crushingly sad day for Israel and a terrifying one for the region. At this point, we can only pray that the violence will not be repeated.





    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.