Prime Minister Ehud Olmert knows the study hall of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem very well. Up to a few years ago he was the mayor of Jerusalem and a regular guest of honor at the main event organized by the yeshiva, the annual Jerusalem Day celebration.
Olmert would make his crowd-pleasing speeches about the unity of Jerusalem, and a sea of knitted skullcaps carried him on high.
A lot of bad blood has passed between Olmert and his former knitted skullcap-wearing fans since then. The pleasant memories have turned into real bitterness against the man they consider to have betrayed them and converted.
The bloody terror attack on the flagship of the religious Zionism movement will only make their attitude toward Olmert more extreme. …
To the Westerner who “understands” the terrorist:
Spare us the explanations.
Spare us the learned, sociology-drenched justifications.
Spare us the reasons why you “get” Palestinians when they gun Jews down in cold blood.
Spare us the chapter and verse on how the plight of the Palestinians is at the root of Islamic terrorism the world over, and if the Palestinians were to receive full justice, Islamic terrorism would pass from the world.
Spare us. …
This attack was aimed specifically for the religious Zionist and settler population, and the terrorists knew that by speaking in this language, to these people, their message could only be interpreted in one way. This will be seen in terms of Ishmael and Isaac.
Settler radio talk- show hosts are interpreting this prophecy by saying that if the Jews don’t stop Hamas, the Palestinians, Hizbullah and any other Islamic fundamentalists God will force the Jews to do it. The talk-show hosts blame Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and President Shimon Peres, and several callers into the broadcasts are unanimous in their condemnation of the Israeli government and calling on its removal.
Many of the top leadership of the religious Zionist movement, speaking at the funerals, spoke of revenge of the blood. The fact that the Jewish students were killed in a house of God touched the most basic nerve of many Israelis, and especially of the religious Zionist public.
The rabbis called on the students not to carry out acts of revenge, saying that judgment is in God’s realm.
Rarely have terrorists chosen their target with so much malicious care as in Thursday night’s attack on Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav Yeshiva.
In striking the flagship institution of the religious Zionist movement, a Jerusalem landmark whose history is linked with the founding and fulfillment of the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel, the gunman aimed his weapon at the heart of the Zionist enterprise.
If the goal was to outrage the general public and to inflame that particular segment of it most skeptical of the possibility of Israel one day coming to terms with its most immediate Arab neighbors, then the bullets struck home with deadly and accurate force.
Beyond that, as the first terrorist attack on this scale in nearly two years – since a Tel Aviv suicide bomber killed nine in April 2006 – the impact of this incident will be profound.
This will be a sharp blow for those Israelis, especially Jerusalemites, who have allowed themselves to let their psychological guard down since the second intifada petered out. That the gunman was able to carry out this operation in the heart of a crowded Jerusalem neighborhood, some distance away from the Arab neighborhoods of the capital, will raise serious questions about assumptions made since the construction of the West Bank security barrier. …