Yochai Lipschitz, 18, of Jerusalem;
Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shiloh;
Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kochav Hashahar;
Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem;
Roey Roth, 18, of Elkana;
Segev Pniel Avihayil, 15, of Neveh Daniel;
Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat (see pic);
Maharata Trunoch, 26, of Ashdod.
There are also three who are severely wounded and were in critical condition earlier.
The Mercaz Harav yeshiva is at the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood near the entrance to Jerusalem. I was near there when I last visited Israel and saw it. The Israeli police tells us the terrorist was an Arab resident of east Jerusalem who has residence status in Israel. He doesn’t seem to live too far from his target.
The Israelis have become quite good at stopping attacks that aren’t coming by rocket. They have stemmed the tide of terror attacks significantly over the past several years. I think it’s much harder for them when the terrorists come from inside Israel and/or the Green Line, like this murderer.
This yeshiva is named after Avraham Hacohen Kook, who can justly be called the father of religious Zionism as we know it today. His son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook, ran the yeshiva for decades. The terrorist knew what he was targeting, and I would guess that beyond terror the motive was to create further dissent among Israelis and perhaps even get the settlers who are on the fringes to take violent action – anything to sow fear and violence in order to undermine the chances for calm and peace.
In other words, like everything else in the Palestinian arsenal, this is a sophisticated attack with multiple angles of attack on Israel. These pigs do not target soldiers, although they could. That, in itself, justifies every single targeted attack on Palestinian leaders, terrorists and fighters. I hope Israel doesn’t over-react to this attack at this famous yeshiva, but instead continues methodically to hit Hamas and their buddies hard.
In the meantime, a number of families are in mourning tonight, having lost their sons to the brutal insanity of those who hate Israel and Jewish Israelis in particular. To those who think this is something new or a retaliation for something Israel did, just know that these attacks were going on in 1916 and 1920 – long before there was an Israel and when Jews were still a small minority on this land. More than anything, it were these attacks, culminating in the 1948 attacks by the Arab armies and Palestinian militias, that have given strength to the Yishuv and then to Israel. Israel wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for the Arab violence against the Jews living in Mandatory Palestine. The checkpoints that so disrupt Palestinian lives are the result of terror attacks within Israel emanating from the West Bank. The closure of Gaza with all its implications for the Gazans has come about because of their incessant rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. The land that was lost by the Arabs in 1967 was lost because of their preparations to attack Israel, and in the case of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, because of Jordan’s attack on Israel after being warned not to attack. There are countless examples.
Palestinians should remember: every time they attack, they cause pain and grief, but they ultimately strengthen Israel and weaken themselves. It would be so much better if they strove for peace.
I’ll conclude with a poem by Rav Kook. I think it is appropriate for today’s events.
Thirsting for God
Expanses divine my soul craves.
Confine me not in cages,
Or substance or of spirit.
I am love-sick â€“
I thirst, I thirst for God,
as a deer for water brooks.
Alas, who can describe my pain,
Who will be a violin to express the songs of my grief,
I am bound to the world,
All creatures, all people are my friends,
Many parts of my soul
Are intertwined with them,
But how can I share with them my Light?
UPDATE: It is being reported that it’s possible the terrorist was a driver for this yeshiva.
UPDATE 2: from Steve. Some students remain hospitalized in serious to critical condition and a call has gone out to the general public to pray for the recovery of:
Naftali ben Gila (son of Gila) from Sderot
Yonatan ben Avital
Shimon ben Tirza
Nadav ben Hadas
Reuven ben Naomi
Elchanan ben Zehava
UPDATE 3: the story of the IDF officer, a graduate of this yeshiva himself, who had just bathed his kids when he heard the gunfire. He ran out with his gun, traced the shooting noise to the yeshiva, pushed by the useless police officers outside the building who told him not to enter (!!!!!!) and then snuck up on the terrorist and killed him.