In a recent post by Greg at Rhymes With Right, he contrasted the reactions of the Israeli citizens as they absorbed the reality of the murder of three teens with the reactions of the Palestinians as they rioted in response to the murder of one teen and the beating of another. While I wholeheartedly agree with Greg’s assessment, I would like to add a number of observations.
Comparing What Happened to the Victims
According to the Times of Israel, Hamas terrorists Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme thought that they were only picking up Eyal Yifrach. Only intending to kidnap one victim, Aysha and Kawasme were surprised when three teenagers jumped into the vehicle. Then one of the teens, recognizing that they had not boarded an Israeli car, called the police at 10:25 and whispered “We’ve been kidnapped.” Military radio reported that the three were executed during the phone call. Investigators found blood, bullet cases, and personal belongings of the murderers in the car.
The Miami Herald reports that a gag order prevents the sharing of details of how six Israeli youths may be involved in the burning of one Palestinian youth. However, BBC News reports that Floridian Tariq Khdair is accused of belonging to a group of youths that attacked Israeli police. Cell phone video shows two masked Israeli police punching him in the head. Tariq’s family disputes his involvement in attacks against police. Additionally, Haaretz reports that Tariq resisted arrest, attacked officers, and was carrying a slingshot for lobbing stones when he was arrested.
Comparing the Reactions of the People
On the Israeli side, there had been vigils for the three teens, the capture and prosecution of six suspects in the Palestinian’s murder, and some soul searching. This soul searching was evidenced by articles in the Jewish Journal, Haaretz, Israel Today, and other outlets.
On the Palestinian side, the response on the streets to the deaths of three teenaged boys included celebrating in the streets, posting social media messages, and handing out candy and food. Several sources even report that Palestinian Authority Arabs threw rocks at the ambulance transporting the bodies of the three teens. No arrests or visible attempt to search for the murderers of the three Jewish teens has been undertaken by the Palestinian Authority.
Comparing the Portrayals by the Media
Like a defense lawyer that blames the raped teenager for wearing a skirt, the Christian Science Monitor,
justified the kidnapping of the Israeli youths by Palestinians through convoluted logic that objectified the victims as “bargaining chips for justice.”
Note that I would have normally included links to the Christian Science Monitor article that I quoted in the paragraph above; however, this reprehensible article was removed from the site while I was preparing the Bible-study portion of this article. Luckily, the kind folks at HonestReporting.com not only reported on the bigoted reporting that I had observed from the Christian Science Monitor, but also the slanted reporting of CNN and Sky News.
How Does this Apply to Christians?
Christians should note that the natural (1 Corinthians 2:14) inclination for people would have us commit inhumane acts (since it was common to exact hyperbolic retribution before Exodus 21:23-24) and hold hatred (1 John 4:20); therefore, because the two groups involved neither profess Christianity nor deviate from the natural, we cannot expect either the Israelis or Palestinians to start adhering to Christian principals.
Having said that, we should consider the following blessings that we might garner:
- God will bless those who bless Jews
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3 NIV)
- God blesses those who work for justice
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:6-14 NIV)
- Jesus set a new standard for Christians when it comes to avoiding murder
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. (Matthew 5:21-26 NIV)
- We should remember that God gave governments the responsibility to punish evil; therefore, we should expect justice (not forgiveness) from government
For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4 NIV)
- We should remember that our security is in God
When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. (Deuteronomy 20:1 NIV)