Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Being Kind to the Cruel

Ben Uliel after his conviction last May (TOI)
It is shocking that over $150,000 has so far been raised on behalf of convicted mass murderer Amiram Ben Uliel. What is more shocking, however, is that  a group of distinguished religious Zionist rabbis have publicly signed on to this. 

For those who do not recall the name, let me remind you what this monster was convicted of. From the Times of Israel:

 Amiram Ben Uliel was sentenced by the Lod District Court Monday to three life terms plus 20 years for a 2015 firebomb attack on the Dawabsha family home in the West Bank village of Duma. Saad and Riham Dawabsha, and their 18-month-old son Ali died in the attack. Only the couple’s eldest son, Ahmed, survived, with burns; he was 5 years old at the time. 

At the time of his conviction – before sentencing, I strongly felt that justice could not be served even if he were given a death sentence. Letting him live does not really serve the cause of justice. As I suggested then, even a death sentence would not be enough to meet the standards of Mida K’Neged Mida… inflicting the kind of punishment on him that he inflicted on others. Be that as it may, there is no death penalty in Israel and the court has spoken. He probably got the maximum sentence allowed by law.

Bearing these thoughts in mind, how in heaven’s name can raising money for a terrorist like this be justified?! In what world does Ben Uliel deserve any compassion?! He admitted doing it. Although he later recanted – now saying it was a forced confession - the court didn't buy it and neither do I. He is part of an extremist faction of religious Zionists that have carried out numerous revenge (price tag) attacks - not only against Palestinians but even against their own government!

That he was a Jew doing it to innocent Palestinians is not justified by the fact that Palestinian terrorists do it to innocent Jews. It is not an excuse to say that this particular heinous crime was in revenge for a heinous crime committed by Palestinians to 3 Jewish teenagers.

The kind of people that think along these lines have an extremely distorted view of justice. Killing innocent people never justifies killing other innocent people. And yet that is the kind of thinking that led Ban Uliel to burn 3 people to death via a firebombing of their house while they were sleeping. 

If there was ever a Jew in modern times more deserving of the title Rasha, I cannot image who that would be. Even if his crime can be explained as the result of indoctrination by extremist ideologues in the world in which he was raised. Evil is still evil. Mass murder is mass murder. 

I don’t know how anyone, let alone a group of distinguished rabbis can feel sympathy for someone like this. This is the epitome of people being kind to the cruel. About which Chazal say - will be cruel to the kind. 

And yet  this seems to be what is happening here. As I said in at the time of his conviction, his ideology is just an extension of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s method of dealing with Arabs – taken to an extreme that I’m sure even Rabbi Kahane would not have approved. 

That being said, I am equally sure he would have been the first to show compassion and understanding for Ben Uliel. Same as these religious Zionist rabbis are.

Are these rabbis the 21st century incarnation of Rabbi Kahane? A man that was condemned by the majority of mainstream Orthodox rabbis when he was alive? Including my own Rebbe, Rav Ahron Soloveichik? 

It would seem so. If that is the case, I am disgusted by it.