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What If The Fogels Had Lived In Tel Aviv?
Mon, 03/21/2011 - 20:00
Editor and Publisher
Gary Rosenblatt
Gary Rosenblatt

When three Israeli children — one a 3-month-old infant — were stabbed to death in their beds on a recent Friday night in their home, along with their young parents, the world did not seem overly shocked or upset.

“Where is the outrage,” Presidents Conference leader Malcolm Hoenlein asked at a Manhattan memorial service last Thursday. “Where is the indignation?”

Is the relatively muted response due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that dominated the international news at the time? Or because we expect Palestinians to act in inhuman ways in expressing their hatred of Jews? Or maybe it was because the brutality element of the Israeli story was soon eclipsed by the political and diplomatic angle, with Jerusalem announcing that in response to the murders it would increase settlement building in the West Bank.

All of the above may be true, but I fear that a significant factor in the relative inattention to this shocking and heartbreaking story was that the Fogel family members who were killed were religious Israelis living in a small West Bank community. Had the victims been secular Jews living inside the Green Line, I believe the outrage would have been far greater.

The sad reality is that, as small as our people are in numbers, we are all-too guilty of thinking of certain segments as second-class Jews.

And in today’s political climate, when the West Bank settlements are seen by Washington as the central cause of the breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, “the settlers” are viewed widely — including among many Jews here and in Israel — as operating outside the norm of Israeli society, an embarrassment to those in Tel Aviv cafes, a few miles away, prepared to displace tens of thousands of their countrymen for the prospect of peace with the Palestinians.

Once admired as brave pioneers embodying the spirit of the early Zionists in working the land, those Jews living beyond the Green Line are portrayed in the media as, for the most part, radical fundamentalists whose actions and very existence are jeopardizing the future of a Jewish democratic state living peacefully alongside a Palestinian state.

The facts are more complicated, though.

The Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, more commonly referred to as the West Bank, have grown from a few thousand people to a few hundred thousand over the last four decades with the encouragement of successive governments in Jerusalem, both left and right, Labor and Likud.

The initial concept of creating “facts on the ground” for security reasons soon morphed into economics. The lure of large homes at reduced prices and away from crowded cities was a powerful incentive, and the majority of those living in the West Bank are secular Israelis or, increasingly, young haredi Jews motivated more by the need for space for their large families than the spirit of Herzl.

Yet it is the hard-core religious nationalists who are equated with the phrase “the settlers” in our minds, despite their relatively small numbers.

Of equal significance, Washington’s emphasis these last two years on the settlements as a primary obstacle to peace minimizes, if not obscures, the fact that the Palestinian leadership consistently has refused generous Israeli compromises without offering a counter plan.

It was left to Glenn Beck, the highly controversial Fox TV host, to stir up our emotions as no one else in the mainstream media has over the Fogel murders, reminding me that when Jews are killed because they are Jews, all of us should feel the heartache.

You can love Beck or hate him, consider him an ardent friend of Israel for speaking fervently of his support for Jerusalem, or a covert anti-Semite for suggesting the Jews killed Jesus or for making frequent inappropriate references the Holocaust and Nazis.

But his three separate tributes to the Fogels on his show last week seemed to come from the heart, each spoken in a tender, intimate tone.

The first night he described the night of bloodshed as one “Charles Manson couldn’t have imagined,” wondering “what kind of monster can butcher an infant?”

Perhaps more shocking than the murders themselves, Beck said, was the reaction of Gaza residents who celebrated the news, passing around candies in public, not unlike the reaction there to the 9/11 attacks.

On his next show, Beck praised Rabbi Yehuda Ben-Yishai, the Israeli grandfather of the three murdered children, who said that as a lifelong educator, he refused to speak out in anger or call for revenge. “This is a test of my faith,” the rabbi told an interviewer.

Two evenings later, Beck spoke in awe of 12-year-old Tamar Fogel, who found the bodies of her parents and siblings when she came home that fateful Friday night. The television host quoted the girl as saying she pledged to be strong and to be a mother to her two younger, surviving siblings.

“We want to remind you,” Beck told his audience, “that heroes come in all shapes, sizes and ages.”

He also wondered aloud why most of the media was ignoring the tragedy at Itamar.

It’s a good question. But I’m afraid I know the answer.



More from Gary Rosenblatt:
Earlier Between the Lines weekly columns
Gary's Blog
Email Gary


Glenn Beck, Israel, Itamar, Terrorism, West Bank

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Calling George Soros, whatever ha has done or said, a "puppetmaster" is something straight out of the worst anti-Semetic propaganda and was shameful. I do not know if Beck is anti-Semetic, but this was clearly anti-Semetic rhetoric. Just like when he said that reform Judaism is not real Judaism, but more political. The man says a lot of foolish, hateful things, and I would not associate a worthy cause with him.

But Jim, Beck calls Soros a puppet-master because of what Soros says and does, not because he is Jewish. I assume you're not trying to argue that an attack on a person's political positions or actions becomes anti-semitism simply because the person happens to be a Jew?

If the Fogels had lived in Tel Aviv - instead of on occupied and colonized Palestinian land in violation of international law - they would probably be still alive. That's not to justify their murder, nothing can, but is simply an observation of a glaringly obvious fact that seems lost on people like Mr. Rosenblatt.

Gary says some might consider Beck "a covert anti-Semite for suggesting the Jews killed Jesus or for making frequent inappropriate references the Holocaust and Nazis." Jim presents the MediaMatters Beck clip as "proof" and claims Beck used "virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric in his depiction of George Soros." I must refute this. I am Jewish & very sensitive to such things, and I listen carefully to every Beck TV program. The "frequent inappropriate..." comment is plain nonsense. As to the "Jews killed Jesus" sentence, go ahead and replay the clip. You will see and hear a change in Beck's expression and voice -- the equivalent of quotation marks, so that the meaning becomes, "the anti-Semitic, wrong belief that the Jews must pay for what they did." He was denigrating that canard, not agreeing with it. He calls it "an abomination," Jim. Lastly, Beck used Soros' own words that reveal Soros' anti-Semitism. (He admits he collaborated with the Nazis and never regretted it--Soros has a classic case of self-hatred, or Jewish anti-Semitism.) When Beck spoke of the collaboration, he was very non-judgmental of the teenage Soros, saying that the lad was just trying to survive and that it must have been terrible. Beck regularly shows through words and actions his genuine love for the Jewish people and for Israel.
Finally, thank you to the many Christians who have sent their prayers to the Fogel family and to all of Israel. God bless you.

Jim, you are repeating yourself (same message - 3/26 and 3/27.) You haven't watched the video links I provided and haven't responded to them. Glenn Beck is only dangerous to YOU because he is exposing you. He is a messenger of the truth for all those who actually listen and watch what he has to say.

I say: Jewish blood has become a total Hefker-of no value and meaning - in the eyes of the world. In Israel, for the Left, when Jews, living beyond the green line are killed, it is one more reason for them to shout, "give them Arabs a state", totally ignoring that from that 22nd Arab state and second "Palestine" [the 1st one in Jordan - they will come in endless waves to kill Jews and the very existence of such Arab state will compromise Israel's existence, mote so, may even bring to the delegitimization of the State of Israel. When Gary Rosenblatt writes: "Had the victims [the Fogel family] been secular Jews living inside the Green Line, I believe the outrage would have been far greater..." I disagree; it is not true, as there was no outrage when, few days later, a bomb blew up in Jerusalem [inside the green line – at the entrance to "east" Jerusalem"] killing one and injuring tenths of JEWS. It has become the norm that Arabs kill Jews, just because they are Jews and they hate them - and Jews will go on without much protest - and it is even more of the norm that, when Israel finally had enough and retaliates, it is endlessly condemned, and is blamed for using disproportionate force in order to deter its enemies. In other words, Jews have no right to defend themselves, NOT at all but to kill Jews it is just all right!!

MediaMatters' politics are irrelevant. The video of Glenn Beck saying that the Jewish people killed Jesus. His own words. He is a very bad and dangerous messenger, and can only damage the message.

I agree with Ruth above in regard to Glenn Beck. I too listen to his radio broadcast and watch his TV show often. Thank you for finally giving him some positive reporting. Glenn Beck has been vilified and discredited because the powers that be do not want the truth to be revealed.

Glenn Beck did in fact blame the Jewish people for killing Jesus, and you can see the video here

Associate with or rely on such an inflammatory and virulent voice at your peril; it can only damage your message.

Sorry, Media matters is a far left organisation where there is no shame to lie !

Jim: Sorry I gave you incorrect links for clips from Glenn Beck's recent TV shows on Israel. The following is one of the correct links:

Here is the other link:

Would you call Glenn Beck inflammatory and virulent here where he is warning the Jewish people? Whose side are you on?

The Fogels were living on land properly owned by Israel and had every right to be there. The world has gone crazy pro-Arab in all aspects and this will only get worse as it is another sign of end times. It is all in God's strong Hands and He will avenge this family and all others that have been martyred and mistreated. Then the world will see God's Promise come to fruition.

This whole episode of unbridled hatred of the Jews is a sad commentary on humanity. I am a Christian but I support Israel's right to exist. The Arabs have for thousands of years been jealous of the birthright given to Isaac. Until this jealousy can be overcome the Arabs will demand elimination of the state of Israel. The right to certain lands belong to the descendants of Israel.
The Arabs should realize that they are a blessed people as well and are favored by the God of Israel but they do not have the birthright. Now I know that the secular Jews will probably pull their hair out when it comes to religion but in the end we can live together in peace or we can have a total holocaust, because of this eternal hatred. So what's the better choice. It really is a choice. A friend of Israel and Glenn Beck.

God cries when His saints are killed. Jews are God's special people. I am praying for Israel and ALL Jews. I am a Christian and there are so many of us who pray for peace in Israel and the peace of Jerusalem. Murder is murder and God will judge!!! I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel. It is a travesty what our president is not doing for Israel. Blessings P.S. Go Glenn Beck and thank you for your article

My family and I are Christians. Conservative and mostly of German heritage. We are "fans" of Glenn Beck. We've stood and will continue to stand with Isreal and pray for her safety and strength.

There are thousands just like me.

Yes, Jim - including my own family!
May God bless the Fogel family and their community and help them heal.

You are right Jim.......there are thousands just like you. My family is Catholic, Conservative, mostly German and fans of Glenn Beck. We found out about the Fogel family murders on Glenn's show and were horrified. And not just because of the brutality, but also the lack of coverage on other news sources. It also saddens me to see so many blaming others, including some Jews, actually blame the family for living in Itamar. Unbelievable!!! They had every right to be there! I am telling everyone I know about what happened in the hope of opening up their eyes to what is going on and will continue to stand and pray for Israel.
May God bless the Fogel family and their community and help them heal.

Jim, I also am of German beginnings. I support Israel and feel the Israelites have a right to make their homes in the West Bank areas. Strange thing is though, that some of the Jewish folks I know do not feel the same way. I do not understand why they feel the way they do. Also, I know most of them voted for Obama and I have not heard very much condemnation of him by them either!? Strange world we live in.

Well written - thank you so much. You do know, and so do I....

Governments of the world, are swift and aggressive in their condemnation of Netanyahu's announcement of building permits - much more so than they were in their condemnation of the murders. And so, people (Jews too) believe that the real obstacle to peace is not Palestinian incitement to murder, but Jewish building of apartments in East Jerusalem!

The “activist left” has spent the last 10 years opposite those who called for moral clarity on the topic of terrorism and Jew-hatred.

Children are taught in Palestinian classrooms, Hillary Clinton said in 2007, is “to see martyrdom and armed struggle and the murder of innocent people as ideals to strive for. . . . This propaganda is dangerous.’’ Still, the self-loathing Jew, falls in line: "Ari Shavit , a columnist for Israel's equivalent of the New York Times, Ha'aretz, called Israeli communities built beyond the 1949 armistice line the local equivalent of Japan's nuclear reactors. Like the reactors, he wrote, they seemed like a good idea at the time. But they have become our undoing." And so, we play into the hands of evil!

Thank you, Gary for a great article. I have listened to Glenn Beck for years. He is a true friend of Israel and a real mensch - the ONLY prominent media figure who devotes significant air time to defending Israel i.e. coverage of the Fogel murders, the Gaza flotilla crisis, and NOW: about how our gov't is setting up Israel to be attacked.

I am horrified by fellow Jews who blame this beautiful Jewish family for their "crime" of living in the W Bank, instead of the evil savages who slashed innocent babies' throats. I just gave a donation for the 3 Fogel orphans. Did you? Do you care about your fellow Jews in Israel? What about the 56-year-old tourist who got killed yesterday, or the Yeshiva student whose legs were on fire in the bombing in Jerusalem? Were they to blame for taking a bus?

These murders of Jews by assassins, missile attacks and now a bus bomb are in response to the fall of Egypt and the unrest in the Middle East which is being fomented by our US administration! Wake up! Stop getting "news" from the anti-Israel NY Times, CNN and MSNBC and start watching the pro-Israel Fox News - and Glenn Beck!

I too listen to Glenn Beck and agree with all you have said. He is exposing the truth that the left does not want us to know and therefore they vilify and discredit him. Yes, wake up my fellow Jewish brethren.
Shabbat Shalom

Gary, You're correct, Glenn Beck is the only nationally broadcast host who's repeatedly spoken about the murders of the Fogel family. Other cable channels or networks have given the story little, if any, coverage and none of their hosts have expressed any compassion or sympathy regarding the slaughter, or the surviving members' compassion or have hosted the mayor of Itamar on (his) nationally broadcast radio program (03-25-2011). Regarding Glenn's remarks about the Holocaust, Jesus, etc., none could be considered anti-Jewish, as he's never even hinted the Jews had anything to do with the death of Jesus, nor has he put the blame for the Holocaust on the Jews. He has made some remarks regarding George Soros and the Holocaust, and Soros's role in same. And, fairly recently, he made and apologized for a remark regarding the reform branch of Judaism, and its leadership.
Do you honestly believe, if Beck was "anti-semetic", Rabbi Joseph Potasnik would be a guest on his television show? Or, Rabbi Daniel Lapin would sit with him on television panels or sit on the stage with Beck during his 8/28/2010 gathering in Washington, DC in front of close to one million people?

In fact, Glenn Beck did say that they Jewish people as a whole were responsible for killing Jesus. And you can see him say it here:

I do not know and would not claim that Beck is anti-Semetic, but I do know he used virulent anti-Semetic rhetoric in his depiction of George Soros, and h has made numerous other incendiary and hateful statements. I would be extremely cautious about promoting or associating with Glenn Beck.

To Harold Berman, you hit the nail on the head. It seems that Israel has the same problem as the US, those in the Metro areas seem to think themselves "educated and elite", smarter than those "dumb country folk" and everyone should listen to them, and live an "enlightened" life like them. They show no tolerance and actually take it as a personal assault when others choose to do the opposite. These "elites" get especially offended by those who choose to live a life filled with God, faith and religion. Look at the comments above and this fact is blatantly true. Who do these people think they are that they can tell someone else how to live thier life, where to live, or to judge them based on where they live. No one has that right, at least not in a free country such as Israel or the US. And under no circumstances would anyone being killed be OK. If 20 people are ok, why not 100, or 1 million? Who thinks like that? The same people in the US who pushed Eugenics in the 1920's, that's who.

Finally, why is it that no one calls the Arabs on this:
"Of equal significance, Washington’s emphasis these last two years on the settlements as a primary obstacle to peace minimizes, if not obscures, the fact that the Palestinian leadership consistently has refused generous Israeli compromises without offering a counter plan."

The Arabs are not genuine, and when someone is not genuine, then they cannot be trusted. They have no interest in just the settlements, they want all of Israel, so first it will be the settlements, then it will be Tel Aviv, and Jerusalm and other bigger cities, when will it be enough? I will answer that, when "Israel is wiped off the map" as Ajad said, or like Egypt Air recently did on its website.

This is a War against the West, the freedom loving people of the world, until this is realized, we will continue to lose, hopefully we will catch on with enough time to save ourselves.

the fact that the fogels lived in a "settlement" is irrelevant. unfortunately there are many people in this country and other countries who hate jews whether they live in settlement areas or don't live in settlements. the settlements are just an excuse for their jew hatred and these are the same people who say they are not anti-semites they are just anti-zionist.

As everyone says, this is a tragedy. But, it's shouldn't be front page world news:

- This type of violence happens all the time in the USA. When I was growing up, not one week went by when this type of murder didn't happen involving kids in Washington DC.

- This week, there is a nuclear melt-down in Japan, war in Libya, and riots in Arab countries. Based on international stats, probably 10 underage girls are being raped and mutilated for "honor revenge" as we speak. A crazy Palestinian killing a family in the West Bank is horrible, but let's put things in perspective. Jews need to get over our victim mentality and expect the world to sympathize when anything bad happens to us (especially since this has become tribal warfare at this point).

- I've been to the West Bank and am about to become a father for the first time. I can tell you right now, there is nothing in the world that could compel me to put my baby in harm's way and move my family to the West Bank. There is no excuse for this evil done to this familier. There is also no excuse to put children in harm's way. If a settler adult chooses to live in the West Bank and dies in the fight, OK, that is their choose. But don't put your children in harm's way.

And just because we're Jews, doesn't mean we can blindly pretend all are innocents here.

First, as someone who lives in the "West Bank" (here, we tend to call it Judea and Samaria, which are its historical names - "West Bank" was an invented name by the Jordanians when they controlled it to indicate it was west of the Jordan River - a little big to be called a riverbank, don't you think?) - my children walk about our community without fear, something they could not do when we lived in the U.S. Second, if you look at events during the intifadas, you will see that the majority of horrific events occurred inside the Green Line, which you presumably think is safer and where children are not "in harm's way."

Third, and most critical, I absolutely reject the notion that a Jew should not be permitted to live ANYWHERE, simply because it will offend the sensibilities of Muslims or whoever lives nearby. If a Jew moved to a community in the U.S. and bought a house (and that is what the vast majority of settlers have done - they have bought land, not stolen it), and then the other people in the area said they shouldn't live there because they thought the area should be Judenrein, there would be a huge outcry - and rightly so. The idea that it is somehow inherently offensive for a Jew to live here, that there are areas that should be Judenrein, is simply unacceptable. I wish more Jews would see this for what it is.

Fourth, rather than putting ourselves in harm's way, our presence is much of the reason that rockets aren't being fired at Tel Aviv, as they are at Sderot now that there are no Jews in Gaza.

Fifth, when I lived in Boston many years ago, police would often go into an inner city area after a robbery or violent crime had taken place. And they would say something like, "Well, you have to expect this kind of thing to happen when you live in this area." The public was outraged, and insisted the police stop this (which they did) because no, they didn't have to "expect" this kind of behavior - they should expect that people would behave like human beings and obey the law. And so it is here in Judea and Samaria - people who say that one has to "expect" this kind of thing to happen, who "expect" that Arabs are going to behave like this, are holding Arabs to a much lower standard than they would anyone else - a view that is, frankly, racist.

Do you think that if there were no settlements there would be no terrorist attacks on Israel? The people in the settlements are a bulwark for the rest of the country. They are brave pioneers. Without them YOU and your family are less safe.

No, this type of violence does not "happen all the time in the USA". Plain murder does, especially in places where people are forbidden self-defense.

Murder of Jews because they are hated Jews does not happen in the USA, or happens at most very, very rarely.

World news ignoring murder in another country is not too strange. Ignoring murder that is motivated by racial hatred, and that is followed by large scale riotous celebration -- that IS strange.

Here is a test: replace "Jewish" by "Black" and the other participants by "White". Would the resulting story have been reported world-wide as a horrible case of racism, of the KKK reborn? Of course it would, you know it would. That is the issue, that is the double standard.

The comments to Gary Rosenblatt's article prove some of his points. I see in the comments no sense of outrage, no compassion, no sense of the true horror of what happened in Itamar, and that, even more tragically, this event hardly stands on its own as an isolated incident. When Gary Rosenblatt says he knows the answer, I, as opposed to the other commenters, think he really does. Not because he can read the minds of the media in this particular case, but because it follows such a clear and established pattern of reporting by the media. If the media looks at it as "a typical break-in/homicide" as one commenter suggests, then one can only conclude in the face of what actually happened that they are either biased or ill-informed, or both.

Here's one that supports what Mr. Rosenblatt is saying: I live in Israel, and I personally know an Israeli journalist who works all the time with the foreign press. He sees them up-close every day, and he hears what they say. He constantly hears foreign reporters say things that reveal profound ignorance about the subject they are paid to cover, and also serious bias in how they view events. For example, just 2 weeks ago, one reporter told him that he thought if "only" 20 or so Israelis died in a kassam attack, that would be an "acceptable" number. My friend asked him which of his children he would find it acceptable to be among the 20. The reporter of course had no answer for him, but still maintained that 20 dead Jews was ok.

There is a serious problem out there, and we gloss over it at our peril.

I usually agree with your point of view, but on this matter I differ.

Everyone I know was thoroughly disgusted, horrified and saddened by the brutal murder of the Fogel Family. While I do not know the Fogel's motivation for living in Itamar, many, including myself, feel that those living in these outposts are not heroic or brave but rather they are law-breakers and they endanger the safety and reputation of the State of Israel. They drain resources from Israel and they thumb their noses at the democratic nature of the Jewish State. All too many have no regard or tolerance for their neighbors.

For these reasons, many Israelis resent the arrogance of the settlers and wish the government would enforce the law.

None of this justifies such barbaric act as the massacre of the family, but it should become the focus of a serious national discussion of the purpose of the settlers and their role in a democratic peace-seeking society.

No, I don't think you know the answer. As you are NOT every person, of every shape, size and color in the world and the media.

Perhaps this is more about it looking like a typical break-in/homocide to the rest of the world rather than a terrorist attack (which is most often targeted towards a place with many people, and often in Israel includes a suicide bomber). Perhaps this time it began to evolve into a different image, and until terrorism creates a new image for itself (going into homes and killing families), it will not get the media attention you feel it deserved.

There is a famous saying in Israel, "thank gd for the arabs, otherwise we would all just kill each other." This is a perfect example. The religious think the secular see them as second-class citizens, and as a secular Israeli, I often find myself being seen as a second-class Jew in America and a second-class Jew in Israel as well. And I am actually a child of parents who one was raised black-hat and the other as a conservative/reform Jew.

The religious community is insular and secular Jews have a bitter taste in their mouth from years of being looked down at. Both sides have to give and open themselves up to change, open-mindedness and love to for ALL Jews, no matter their shape, color, size or level of belief and observance, including their potential level of belief and observance in the future.

Well said!

First off, this was a dreadful inhuman act. Still I must say, you don't know. Saying you do is both ignorant and magnanimous. The obvious fact is that everyone is running around like the proverbial headless chicken. Add all the large scale horrific events, the political distortions, making ends meet, getting run into, friends passing away, health degenerating, missed mortgage payments, kids being bullied at school, and that's not even half the list. What you do know: That you do have the time to reflect on this and to put your name in the paper.

Disappointing. I was looking forward to reading this all day. I agree with just about all your points (not glenn beck) but still not very inspiring (inspired).