At 8:59 pm Friday night, terrorists hopped the fence surrounding the village of Itamar setting off an alarm. Not seeing a cut in the fence, the guard assumed the alarm was set by an animal and did nothing further. Between 10:20-10:30 pm the Fogel home was entered and Rabbi Udi Fogel, 36 and his newborn baby, 3-month old Hadas, asleep in the bedroom, had their throats slashed. The mother, Ruth Fogel, 35, came out of the bathroom, briefly fought back, and was stabbed by the door. Then 11 year old Yoav, who was reading in bed, was stabbed to death as was 4 year old Elad. Luckily they missed two sleeping children before exiting the apartment and hopping back over the fence. The Fogels’ 12 year old daughter returned home at 12:30 am and discovered the blood bath. At 3:30 a.m., military trackers discovered footprints leading to the Arab village of Avrata. This morning in Gaza, sweets were distributed in celebration of the murders.

A Palestinian man offers sweets to Hamas policemen in the streets of the Gaza town of Rafah to celebrate an attack which killed five members of an Israeli family in Itamar

Today in Jerusalem, 20,000 people accompanied the murdered members of the Fogel family to their final resting place. I was going to include in this post the photos of the murdered family so that the absolute horror of what was done to them could be exposed – 3-month old Hadas laying in bed next to her father, both covered in blood, lifeless after having their throats slit, or 4-year old Elad with stab wounds through his heart, his kippah balled up next to him, soaked in his own blood. I can’t do it. The photos are out there, they are not difficult to find, but I am not going to add to the indignity that this family has already suffered and continues to suffer.

Netanyahu has announced the planned construction of hundreds of new housing units in the West Bank as a response to this murder. Palestine Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that he “clearly and firmly denounces the terror attack, just as I have denounced crimes against Palestinians… We are against all types of violence … Our position has not changed. As we have said many times before, we categorically oppose violence and terror, regardless of the identity of the victims or the perpetrators.” President Mahmoud Abbas has yet to make an official statement. Hamas Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri stated that “We in Hamas completely support the resistance against settlers who murder and use crime and terror against the Palestinian people under the auspices of the Israeli occupation soldiers.”

Unverified reports have Fatah’s military wing – the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades – accepting responsibility for the attack. A group spokesman told a Palestinian news agency that a terror cell infiltrated the settlement of Itamar and committed the attack.

I remain both numb and horrified. But it’s ok. I’m sure that if the terrorists had broken into the house and instead of finding a settler family resting after a shabbat meal, they found a group of Jewish Sheikh Jarrah protesters singing kumbayah, no one would have been hurt. Totally sure.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • How many posts have you written condemning the continued growth (and existence) of Israeli settlements like Itamar?

    • Several of us here have come out in support of a two-state solution and the territorial compromise needed to make that happen. But is there really a moral equivalence between your typical settler and someone who would cold bloodedly slit an infant’s throat? Is that really the argument you want to be making now? Really?

  • Plus, in the article about how Palestinians were passing out candy, this is also obnoxious:

    Ron Nachman, mayor of the city of Ariel, arrived in Itamar Saturday noon and expressed anger over the government and defense minister’s conduct…
    Nachman refused to comment on future “price tag” operations of radical rightist, saying: “I am not responsible for violent acts from either side.”

    • Five innocent people are dead – their bodies still warm, and we’re bending over backwards to show how even handed we are? I’m reading a lot of unequivocal condemnation of the murders followed almost immediately by blatant equivocation. I find that pretty obnoxious. And gross. As we continue to infantilize the Palestinian people and show them that outrages not only have no negative consequences but actually elicit further support for entrenched hard line positions, well… I feel like my life in Israel is becoming more and more endangered. Don’t ask me to rationalize that. It’s just the way I feel.

  • The fact of the matter is the world community doesn’t care about dead Jews in Itamar. Five seconds after the news broke the not-even-unspoken thought was circulating all over the place: “Well, they WERE settlers, after all.” This is such bullshit. As you pointed out CK, this was children having their throats slit in their sleep. Abbass made his first move to condemn additional settlement construction, without mentioning the killings. Fayyad had the decency to condemn them, but not without blasting continued construction. If Jews were running around cutting the throats of Palestinian kids (G-d forbid), you can bet there would be more than trite little denunciations being voiced from regional leaders and media outlets. And leftists. Unfortunately it seems we don’t get that sort of consideration when Palestinians are executing our kids. The response to this incident certainly does infantilize the Palestinian people: they can’t help killing Jewish kids, they’re just so pissed about settlements. Bullshit. Until Palestinian society at large makes this sort of action unacceptable, and until it quits naming squares after suicide bombers, this sort of event will happen again.

    • This is why the publication of the pictures was so important – most people who have the “but they were settlers” reaction also know that Israel has been trying to make peace. The photos bring home the barbarism and make people realize that the attacks are out of all proportion to the “freedom fighter” label used to defend them. The photos nudge disinterested onlookers past “but they were settlers” to “how is an attack on innocents justified in the middle of a peace process?”

      This is what the Palis have been doing – personalizing their side of the story.

  • This was an inhumane action and a response on inhumane warfare between both parties. This should’nt have happened, would it have happened if there were no settlers, the answer is clear; yes for sure.
    I am myself a father of 3 girls and I would never put my little angles in danger by living in occupied territory, so were these parents responsible for what happened to them en their children? Only a foul would denie that. We need to stand firm, and condemn these occupied areas, because there will be a next time for both sides and i don’t think 10 of ours en 1000 of them is a victory, just because that ten – if gotten the chance – would have grown to a thousand.
    I just think this whole situation is sad. Screaming more agression only puts our children in danger so let’s start backing-up the real solution: the 2state-plan

    • Ya’akov, this was an inhumane action. Yes, it was. It was not a “response” to inhumane warfare. It was a political message sent through murder. The idea that some heat of passion victimhood grabbed a hold of some Al Aqsa Brigade member and he then went out to slaughter some Jewish children is to condescend to the Palestinians. You see, if I had a problem with the occupation, I’d fight to make peace. If I had to fight a war, then I would target military targets, not civilians and certainly not children or defenseless civilians. Yet, the Palestinians consistently target civilians and then their supporters claim that it’s understandable since the “occupation” is so terrible. Yet you and they miss the point completely. It’s not that the Palestinians can’t help themselves. They are actually doing quite the opposite, deliberately targeting Israelis in every corner of their lives. In restaurants, buses, markets, supermarkets, public gathering places and yes, even private homes. There is nowhere safe for the Jewish Israeli. There is always an element of fear in their lives, no matter how small or remote the problem may be, wherever Israelis live, walk, work, drive, eat, sleep, fuck, go to the toilet or just hang out, there’s a little niggling reminder in the back of their mind that violence could happen here. That is the definition of terror and the success of Palestinian terrorism.

      As for your silly remark regarding whether or not one needs to live in occupied territory to suffer Palestinian violence, it might interest you to know that the majority of suicide bombings in the years 2000-2004 took place inside the Green Line.

  • No, Yaakov you are the fool. I am not going to defend Itamar, it should not be there, should never have been built but their presence is no excuse to murder children. The deliberate and casual murder of children is a special depravity of it’s own.

    There is no place in the Middle East where Jews are completely safe. There have been countless (there is a number no doubt I just don’t know it.) terrorist attacks inside the former green line so you are not only being foolish you are being deliberately obtuse.

    Furthermore these attacks didn’t start after 1967. The former green line you hold so dear was equally a shooting gallery. You have 3 daughters so you are not so young. you should remember the buildings adjacent to the green line that were riddled with bullet damage.

    It should also be remembered that this sort of savagery long precedes the present conflict. The pogroms in Tsfat happened in 1839 were not least of all characterised by the gang rapes, remember Lara Logan “Jew Jew”, of woman but also men and children.

    Growing up I I’ll never forget my grandmother’s obsession with locking the door or the way her face froze and drained of colour when there was a knock at the door. Coming from the Middle East she was afraid of Arabs not Nazis.

    As Maimonides wrote in 1172:

    “G-d has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us […] Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they.”

    It was true 800 years ago and is equally true today.

  • may their souls be elevated, may their loved ones be comforted.
    Lets turn this around and do something positive in their memory

  • Sources close to investigation allege that the family’s asian helper committed the murders.[]

    Will Israel release these details after accusing palestinians ?

    • Firstly haaretz is a terrible newspaper so you should look for more reliable sources of information. Although I suspect you are not really that concerned with the truth and prefer a news source that confirms your prejudices

      Secondly It was not a source close to the investigation. Palestinian Press reported the arrest of a Thai worker(s) so it might be haaretz is reporting or repeating Arab allegations as they are frequently wont to do, so as to muddy the waters.

    • If you knew the family like I did, you would know that they really were the tzaddikim people are making them out to be. This family did not have anything to do with Thai workers.

      Another rumour circulating from an Itamar resident no less is that the butchers were Xian since Udi was involved in resisting the Xian ‘friends of Israel’ that are being welcomed in Itamar. I also find this a bit hard to believe because Udi was definitely a man of action, but did not seem like the activist.

      Anyway, I was at the Fogel shiva a few hours ago. The father was saying that it is important to not “let the crisis go to waste”. He said that these brutal killings of parents had happened in the past, but people are saying that this is ‘different’ and he challenged openly that something must come of this in order to prove that.

  • Fayyad and Abbas seek to reduce tensions; Netanyahu is determined not to let this crisis go to waste.

    • People who “…seek to reduce tensions” would firstly enter into dialogue and secondly not systematically and actively demonize and delegitimize Israel in International forums.

      I am no fan of Netanyahu but like most in Israel I find Abbas and Fayad consistently coming up short and inspiring little to no confidence in their sincerity for peace.

  • As for not letting a crisis go to waste…
    Are you a child? That’s what politicians do.

    You may recall a few months ago Abbas et al were trying to exploit the death of a woman claiming she had been killed by tear gas, calling it a ‘war crime’ demanding an international tribunal.

    You may also recall haaretz’s reporter claiming he saw her at the demonstration, choking on the tear gas and being treated at the scene.

    Later after the trial and conviction by headlines, contrary to what the haaretz reporter claimed to have seen, it turned out she was not at the demonstration. She was some 100 plus meters away watching, and she died from an injection incorrectly given or administered.

    • Not letting something go to waste is a very Jewish attitude which believes that we need to see the good and purpose in everything, even the bad and take advantage of every opportunity to do good and progress. In Jewry, when someone dies, we might say some prayers on his behalf, we might give some tzedakah, or we might choose to add an other personal mitzvah we had been lacking in, we might donate some books to a school, donate a new bed to a hospital, or we might even build a school or a hospital wing. The politicians will talk about building a new neighbourhood in Itamar in their name, or build five others all over Judea and Samaria instead. Others will decide to invest in a building extension, or have another Jewish baby. That is what I think Udi Fogel’s father meant. You can take it wherever you want.

  • CK,
    With all due respect — and I agree with much of what you (and The Middle) usually post — look at that picture you put up of the Palestinians eating the sweets. Do they really look like they’re celebrating anything? How do you even know their reason for taking the candies? The guy in the middle’s not even smiling; the guy on the right looks like he’s unwilling, doing it more to just humor the person offering it. Really? Are you sure they’re celebrating the (inexcusable, unforgivable) massacre in Itamar?
    Don’t get me wrong… there is an eternal, unendurable place in hell for anyone that intentionally hurts a child. We all agree on that.
    My only point is that the average person in the Occupied Territories also agrees on that:
    I can also, in a warped sense, understand Netanyahu’s reasoning for wanting to expand the settlements in response to this attack — anything less, perhaps, would be seen as a capiulation to the scumbag thugs that did this. I am familiar with Middle East politics and I know how important the idea of “saving face” is, whether or not I personally agree with it.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the murdered, especially the surviving little girl and her two siblings. I can’t even imagine how they will grow up with this.
    But at the same time I hope that good, intelligent people on both sides of this conflict recognize the fallacy of collective guilt/collective punishment, and try not to let overblown media fabrications, rumor and conjecture overshadow the ultimate goal of mutual peace and a two-state solution.

  • This is a good example why many Jews and Israelis are hypocrites. Yes, it is very very wrong to kill a family of innocent civilians, like what happened in this case. But does anyone remember the 2008-2009 Gaza War? Hundreds of innocent children, women, and men were killed. I never seen an Israeli say that was wrong, they just said they’re “collateral damage”. Collateral damage or murder, lives were still lost.

    • It is a morally deficient person that would try to draw a moral equivalence to the deliberate execution of a baby and siblings with people killed caught up in war.

      The death of innocents in Gaza is the fault of Hamas and their associates and their fault alone. Hamas started the conflict. Hamas chose the battlefield, the urban areas, Israel did not, Hamas deliberately hid in heavily populated areas. Hamas used and uses Human Shields as a deliberate policy. Israel has on countless occasions refrained from pursuing action because of this. Hamas et al conversely see a high concentration of civilians in a gathering as an opportunity to maximise death and casualties.

      I would further note though woman rushing to be shields when a terrorist has been targeted are hardly best described as innocent.

      For what it’s worth and we all know it isn’t much Israel does expresses regret for innocent lives lost. You don’t see any regret from Hamas. And you don’t see Jews handing out candies to celebrate.

    • It would seem that the Palestinians glorify death much more than they glorify life. There is just so much reward for being a martyr, why bother living?

  • The task of responsible leadership in this tragic circumstance, one surmises, is to identify and articulate a path forward, to prevent as best one can, more murders and more massacres. I’m not suggesting such a path is self-evident. Reasonable people will disagree about it. But it’s hard to have much faith in Netanyahu’s approach, which is, as I understand it, Israel will build x units of housing/expand y settlements in response to z Palestinian provocations. It’s hard to take seriously the notion that West Bank/E. Jerusalem policy is really up to the Palestinians. (If the Palis behave themselves, will x number of West Bank homes get razed?)

    If he really thinks that settlements need to be consolidated and expanded, why not forthrightly say so? Because that will get him in trouble with the Americans. And so we’re left with what seems for all the world like Reichstag fire-style opportunism. If you want an example why Israel is fast losing ground in Western opinion, you could do no worse than this– whatever your views of the merits of the present government’s policies.

    • Morrissey:
      The task of responsible leadership… is to identify and articulate a path forward, to prevent as best one can, more murders and more massacres.
      – – – – – – – – – –
      There is no “path forward” to peaceful division of the disputed territories. And when confronted with a thug, it’s not “responsible leadership” to try to buy quiet by acquiescence or pulling punches.

      At this point Europe is beyond convincing, and most American adults have little sympathy for the Palis. I don’t really care about grand statements or reproving the Palis in the world’s forums… if you keep attacking, stuff gets taken off the table. If you keep attacking, even Barak will not be able to sell further concessions to the Israeli public. If you keep attacking, we keep key areas and secure them through settlement.

      That is geopolitical reality, not Reichstag. We have no obligation to declare the obvious to our enemies – or to a world blinded by hatred.

    • I think that building a new home or many new homes is a very humane response to murder. You certainly do not expect anyone to pack up their bags and run because of this. The path forward rests in the hands of the Palestinian leadership, but you would never hold them accountable for anything. They are not responsible for the hatred spewed on official Palestinian tv of Jews and the West and they are not responsible for the delegitimization of Jews and Israel is Palestinian children’s textbooks.

      Your response to this is that the Jews are to blame for the murder and for the poor response by not turning the other cheek.

      You might think that Israel is losing ground in world opinion but that should mean that Palestinian popularity is rising? Not. Sympathy for them is even much lower. Intelligent people are tired of them not taking responsibility and not making any progress in negotiations. Regular Europeans (not the leftist anti-Zionists) are also exposed to the rampant Arab corruption and their own local Arab immigrant problems that they really do not care too much about someone else’s Arabs either.

      If anything, you might be referring to the relatively recent Lieberman effect. Finally a foreign minister talks patriotic and this does ruffle some feathers on the diplomatic scene. World opinion affected. Does anyone really care anymore?

  • Josh, I’m not suggesting any particular response, but was making the more modest point that, whatever the Israeli leadership decides, it should state its policies in a manner that people of good faith can view as clear and credible. Netanyahu’s endless gaming, while clever and enough to keep Obama off his back for the time being, damages Israel because it undermines its credibility. The state has a reputation for being more believable than its neighbors. That reputation proves its importance regularly. After all, Israel constantly and loudly appeals to the court of world opinion, e.g. the Gaza armada, Goldstone etc. etc.

    If you take the position that Israel can fairly conceal its strategy vis-a-vis the West Bank, well, as the standard US jury instruction states, a witness shown to be untruthful in one matter may be permissibly disbelieved in all matters.

  • Frankly, this is not to spite you, but you give the ‘world opinion’ and your opinion way too much credit. With the Arab world in birth pangs of a paradigm shift from secular dictators to Islamist leaderships a la Hamas or Erdogan, the rest of the west has less proof that all the world’s problems are due to the ‘Israeli occupation’ or the government ‘gaming’ or credibility. Israel is not the US where until the Obama amateur hour, foreign policy was very stable and there were rules to the game. This new generation of facebook likers and twitters may think they have some new power, but the real power still lies in elected officials or civil servants.

    Israel is a parliamentary democracy where policies change all the time. You might notice that Netanyahu is the head of the Likud whose many members of Knesset are actually very nationalist and get pissed when he makes a pro-Palestinian gesture like supporting some state or about to reinstate a building freeze. Frankly, why do you think the government owes anyone anything? Why do you expect them to show their cards? It’s not as if the Labour or Kadmia led governments were different. They were just a nicer package for foreign consumption yet still waged wars and expanded settlements. Now, if anything, Israel seems to have ruffled some feathers because it has stood its ground by confiscating weapons shipments, bombing a nuke facility, bombing weapons convoys in the Sudan, taking out terrorists with tennis players, letting Lieberman bark, and so on. A) Disclaimer: I do not follow debka at all, but B) what foreign governments say for public consumption is not always what is actually acted upon. (see wikileaks)

    You should stop thinking as if anything has changed in world diplomacy. Governments do not reveal their true ‘strategies’ and credibility is not gained by newspaper headlines for better and worse. And frankly, what you demand would put many analysts out of work.