In “Because They Were Jews,” the New York Sun editorializes about the moving memorial service for the murdered Fogel family held in New York yesterday at Congregation Kehilath Jeshrun.
The video of the one-hour service is here and should be viewed in its entirety, especially for the eloquent and impassioned speech (“We remember the future”) given near the beginning by Malcolm Hoenlien, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The lives of the Fogels over the past decade are a microcosm of the history of Israel over that period. Before they moved to Itamar in the West Bank, the Fogels had lived in Netzarim in Gush Katif in central Gaza. They were forced from their home as part of the 2005 Gaza disengagement, the Israeli effort to see if a Judenrein Gaza might bring peace.
Before that, in October 2003, there was a terrorist attack on Netzarim that produced a debate within Israel about whether the settlements were counterproductive. Two Palestinian terrorists cut through a security fence surrounding the settlement and gunned down three Israeli soldiers (two of them 19-year-old women) as they slept.
In an October 31, 2003 story about that atrocity, the New York Jewish Week quoted Tammy Zilberschein, 34, who had grown up in New Jersey but had lived in Netzarim for the prior seven years, as saying that:
"We have the same right and obligation to settle here as we do in Tel Aviv. If we left each time blood was spilled, we wouldn't be in Petach Tikva or Haifa or anyplace. We are the front lines. If we leave, they will move on to Ashkelon.”
The story included a quote from then-Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was in New York to open an Israeli trade exposition. He told the Jewish Week that "to dismantle Netzarim would give the best possible sign to the Palestinians that the tactics of terror are paying off. And the outcome will not reduce terror but advance terror to the other Israeli townships."
The Jewish Week also noted that Prime Minister Sharon had said in April 2002 that "The fate of Netzarim is the fate of Tel Aviv."
Sharon and Olmert changed their minds; the Fogels were expelled from Netzarim, which was turned over to the Palestinians, who immediately burned the buildings and converted Netzarim into a place from which rockets were fired on Israel, eventually resulting in a new war. The latest rocket from Netzarim was fired on Wednesday of this week at Sderot, a few days after the murder of the Fogels.
Ruth Fogel (35), Udi Fogel (36),
Elad (4), Yoav (11), Hadas (3 months)