On my last night in Jerusalem, my mom and I had plans to meet my aunt and uncle at the old train station for dinner and an outdoor concert. On the way there we walked to the Pride Parade and decided we’d rather attend the parade instead of our original plans. During my L’Taken trip to D.C. with my confirmation class, we spoke to our congressmen to express our support of gay marriage. Knowing that homosexuals are murdered in other countries in the Middle East, I was excited to watch the parade in Jerusalem. The feeling was overwhelming to be in Jerusalem to watch people have the right to openly show who they are. I felt so fortunate that my timing was such that my last night in Jerusalem I could be at this important event supporting people’s freedom.
We noticed a large number of police at the event, on foot, motorcycles and horseback, but we never questioned it, we were unaware of the stabbing at the parade 10 years earlier. We also walked past a crowd of ultra-Orthodox men in black, holding flags and screaming angrily. While their anger frightened me somewhat, they were behind barricades with several police keeping them separate from the celebratory crowd. After a while, we had to leave to meet my aunt and uncle and hoped to return later. Shortly after we left, a man stabbed six in the crowd, including a girl my age. When we returned, the crowd was heading to a park for speeches. Our purses were searched and we joined the crowd. We saw people hugging and crying, and the mood was solemn.
That evening, I kept thinking about the stabbing and wondered how it could happen with so many police around. In the morning, I heard about the home in the West Bank that was firebombed by Jewish settlers causing the death of a baby and severe injuries to his family. I was disgusted by these terror attacks by radical Jews. Jewish people should be tolerating and accepting toward all others. My Israeli relatives and I discussed that we believe these Israelis deserve jail time and any punishment a Muslim terrorist would be given for a similar type of crime. Nothing can justify these acts of terror, even the Ten Commandments command us not to kill. I checked Twitter and, to my dismay, saw that the hashtag #IsraelBurnsBabies was trending. Because I was in Israel, I knew most Israelis were horrified and saddened by the tragic events and condemned all acts of terror, yet many people outside of Israel generalized all Israelis as radical. The Israeli government should no longer ignore the vigilantes in the West Bank. They must prosecute “price tag” crimes just like any other crimes. These murderers should be treated the same as Hamas terrorists by the Israeli government, and then these misconceptions will end that Israel supports the burning of babies. Israel must fight all forms of terrorism, whether Jewish or Muslim.
Hannah Miller is a junior at Phoenix Country Day School.