Honored guests: Family members of jihadist murderers take part in
a Jerusalem elementary school ceremony a month ago
taken down once people started talking about it; background here. ]
We wrote here a few weeks ago ["24-Apr-16: Weaponizing children: Here's one way it's done in Jerusalem"] about the barely-reported, intense and sickening process fostered by the Palestinian Authority to inject hatred and a passion for murder into the minds and lives of the children whose welfare they are charged with protecting.
We see catastrophic Arab education and the Palestinian Arab lust for weaponizing their children as critical factors in the generations-long struggle to establish and protect a Jewish homeland.
There are lots of bad people in the story. They include no shortage of square-headed Israeli bureaucrats whose passivity (which we describe in that post) in the face of this outrageous dimension of Palestinian Arab life helps, perhaps in a small way but surely in a real way, to keep it going. That's unforgivable.
It's important to focus on the good people too, and there are plenty of those. (But we will not be tempted into the silly practice of pretending that good and bad are found in roughly equal proportions on both sides of the Arab/Israel divide. They simply are not; wishing for a different reality won't change that. For a sense of our position on this, see "03-Nov-15: What do they mean when the Palestinian Arabs say they oppose terror?" and "6-May-14: In search of appalled, sickened Palestinian Arabs".)
We want to share a moving and meaningful opinion piece published last night and written by the very articulate son of Richard Lakin, a passionate and good man whose life was forfeited to the practitioners of this Arab education process we call catastrophic.
The Anti-Israel Poisoning Starts Young | Palestinian schools honor the killers of my father, a teacher. This would break his heart | Micah Lakin Avni | Wall Street Journal - May 17, 2016
My father, Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old retired elementary-school principal from Connecticut, was on a bus in Jerusalem last October when two young Palestinian men boarded and began shooting and stabbing passengers indiscriminately. Two passengers were killed that awful day and 16 injured, including my father. Despite the efforts of first responders and the nurses and doctors at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, my father died two weeks later. He had been shot in the head and stabbed multiple times in the head, face, chest and stomach.
Over the past seven months I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what would cause two educated Palestinian men in their early 20s to board a public bus and butcher a group of innocent civilians, many of them senior citizens. I’m sorry to report that the Palestinian reaction to the attack has led me to believe that the “peace process” is more one-sided than ever.
My father grew up a fighter for civil rights in America. He took those values with him in 1984 when he emigrated to Jerusalem, where he taught English to Arabs and Jews. He was a kind, gentle-hearted man who dedicated his life to education and promoting peaceful coexistence.
Yet Palestinian newspapers praised Baha Alyan, one of the terrorists who murdered my father, as a “martyr and intellectual.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has met with the families of the attackers and praised them as “martyrs.” A Palestinian scout leader said Baha Alyan, who was shot and killed by a security guard before he could kill more innocent passengers, was “an example for every scout.”
Muhammad Alyan, the father of Baha Alyan, has been invited to speak at Palestinian schools and universities about his son the “martyr.” He recently spoke to children at Jabel Mukaber Elementary School in East Jerusalem, about a half a mile from where my father lived. Tragically, many Palestinian children, perhaps most, are still taught to honor terrorists and fight for the destruction of Israel.
All of this would break my father’s heart. In 2007 he published a book called “Teaching as an Act of Love” summarizing his life’s work and educational philosophy. The message of his book is that every child is a miracle that should be nurtured with love. After Baha Alyan’s father visited Jabel Mukaber Elementary School, I asked school officials if I could come and share my father’s message of peace and coexistence. My offer was rejected.
As long as Palestinian leaders nurture a culture of hate, encouraging school children to go out and kill, more violence is inevitable. By encouraging hatred, they distance all of us from the love and belief in peaceful coexistence for which my father stood.
My father’s book begins with a quote from William Penn: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
My father lived by those words. If only his murderers had as well.There are many NGOs active in Israel who loudly declaim co-existence and peace but too-often turn out to be ordinary political activists arguing that it's Israel, only Israel, that needs to be blamed. How constructive it might be if they got behind Micah Avni's cry against the poison being injected daily into the Palestinian Arab bloodstream.
We're thinking of one particular such group, based in Israel but funded (lavishly) mainly by churches, NGOs, governments and other non-Israeli sources, and which has claimed for fifteen years to be making thousands of peace-building presentations annually to Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab school groups. We make no secret of our feelings of deep disdain (as we explain here) for their fanciful and politically-spun claims.
Still, it's appropriate to call on them now and insist they shine a critical light on the people at Jabel Mukaber Elementary School who rejected Mr Avni's offer to go there and speak of his murdered father's legacy.
While they're considering this, they might also tell us about their experiences talking peace to the Jabel Mukaber children and how that has gone for them - and for the rest of us. Perhaps there is even a teachable moment here.