“But what is most shocking is that it’s just the cruelty of the massacre but also those (images) of glee and joy in Gaza, in Bethlehem and in other places where candy was handed out, where fireworks were set off, where praises were heard.” Indeed. But no one will draw the obvious conclusions.
“Cops storm home of terrorists who slaughtered 4 rabbis,” by David K. Li and Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post, November 18, 2014:
Three Americans — including one with close ties to Boston and New York — were among four rabbis killed Tuesday during a brutal attack inside a Jerusalem synagogue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “respond with a harsh hand” to the horrific assault that also brought a condemnation from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
American Rabbi Moshe Twersky was among the victims.
Netanyahu took swift action, ordering authorities to destroy the homes of Tuesday’s attackers as well as those of Palestinians involved in other recent deadly attacks.
In an address to his nation on Tuesday night, Netanyahu said he was incensed to see news footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets of Bethlehem and the Gaza Strip, celebrating the slaughter.
“But what is most shocking is that it’s just the cruelty of the massacre but also those (images) of glee and joy in Gaza, in Bethlehem and in other places where candy was handed out, where fireworks were set off, where praises were heard,” the prime minister said.
The Americans were identified as Aryeh Kupinsky, Kalmen Levin and Moshe Twersky. Liverpool-born Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, who most recently lived in North London, was the British citizen killed in the attack, according to The Sun newspaper.
The four all held dual citizenship with Israel. They were slaughtered when two Palestinians armed with meat cleavers and a gun stormed the building and began attacking people.
“This affects both nations, Israel as well as the United States. Our hearts go out to the families who obviously are undergoing enormous grief right now,” President Obama said.
“Secretary [of State John] Kerry has spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu. President Abbas has strongly condemned the attacks. ”
The attackers did not cover their faces and they shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the carnage, witnesses told The Times of Israel.
Police eventually killed the attackers in a violent firefight, but not before eight others were wounded, one critically, authorities said.
“Tragically, this is not the first loss of life that we have seen in recent months,” Obama said.
“Too many Israelis have died. Too many Palestinians have died. And at this difficult time, I think it’s important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and to reject violence.”
With three Americans among the victims, FBI agents will join the probe.
“When US citizens are the victims of terrorists attacks overseas, the FBI investigates the incident,” a law enforcement source told The Post.
One of the American victims, Twersky, has particularly close ties to New York and Boston.
Twersky was born in Boston and his dad, Isadore Twersky, is founder of Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies.
Twersky’s grandfather was prominent philosopher Joseph B. Soloveitchik, dean at New York’s Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University, according to published reports.
“He (Isadore Twersky) was my colleague, Professor Twersky at Harvard for many years. And the victim’s mother was the teacher of my children and the victim’s grandfather (Soloveitchik) was one of the greatest rabbis in modern Jewish history,” American defense attorney and former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told CNN.
“The man who was killed today was a man of peace, a scholar, somebody who was not really involved in politics. He just loved learning.”
Twersky graduated from Maimonides School in Brookline, Mass., WCVB reported.
The school posted on its website Tuesday: “We mourn the loss of our 1973 graduate, Rabbi Mosheh Twersky, z”l, murdered by terrorists in Jerusalem.”
The abbreviation z”l stands for zichrono livracha, which means, “may his/her memory be blessed.”
The school also said it was “engulfed in grief and rage” over Twersky’s slaying.
Rabbi Menacham Genack, chief executive officer of Orthodox Union, was close friends with Twersky and was a student of Soloveitchik’s.
“I was supposed to call him today. I woke up to learn he was murdered. I was absolutely stunned,” a crushed Genack said. “I spoke to his mother yesterday and I was supposed to call him today.”
Genack called Twersky a humble and caring teacher who didn’t deserve to die in such a brutal manner.
Masked Palestinians hold up axes, guns and knives as they celebrate the attack in the southern Gaza Strip.Photo: Reuters
“This story is becoming too painful over and over again,” he said of the non-stop cycle of violence. “It’s very disconcerting, it’s incomprehensible.”
Edwin Maltzman, one of Twersky’s classmates at the Maimonides School, fondly recalled his old friend’s love of scripture — and courage to question elders in class.
“He always engaged with the rabbis in discussions. Moshe was verbally sparring with them on another level,” Maltzman told The Post.
“A rabbi would make a point and Moshe would challenge him. Sometimes the rabbis would retract their points. He was on another level.”
Maltzman, a 58-year-old Brooklyn man, added: “This is such a terrible tragedy. To be murdered inside a synagogue — that’s unbelievable.”
David Osborne, one of Goldberg’s best friends, called his pal a “pillar of the community.”
“He was the most wonderful person you could meet,” Osborne told Jewish News.
“I was on my way to the synagogue when I heard screams and shots being fired — I knew instantly it was bad.”
The attack in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood in the western part of Jerusalem was the deadliest in Israel’s capital since 2008, when a Palestinian gunman shot eight people in a religious seminary.
A worshiper inside the Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue said the attackers “went wild,” shooting and hacking helpless victims.
There were about two dozen people inside when the attack unfolded.
“I looked up and saw someone shooting people at point-blank range,” witness Yosef Posternak told Israel Radio. “Then someone came in with what looked like a butcher’s knife and he went wild.”
Posternak said unarmed worshipers tried to fight back.
“I saw people lying on the floor, blood everywhere,” he said. “People were trying to fight with (the attackers) but they didn’t have much of a chance.”…