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There is a lot to be said in favor of living in Israel – the people, the sense of community, the history, the beaches, the nightlife, etc. A land of milk and honey… But then comes a human tragedy. A sudden flash of senseless violence – all in the name of God, Allah and someone’s favorite political cause.

Massacre at Itamar
The most recent incident is the massacre at Itamar – a small Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The short version for those who “missed it”: one or more terrorists infiltrated the settlement on Friday night, broke into a house and slaughtered the sleeping parents and three of their children. The longer version can be found at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4041237,00.html.
You can turn that into a “political debate”: Are the settlements legitimate? Do they present obstacles to peace? Do Jews have a right to purchase land and live anywhere? Were the terrorists influenced by Palestinian incitement? Do Palestinians have a right to attack Jews who purchased land and settled in the West Bank? And so on.
But slaughtering children in their sleep should NOT be the subject of a “political debate”.
These children were not “collateral damage” of a struggle between adults with different ideologies. These children are victims of an intentional, horrible crime specifically targeted at them. Children should not be targeted regardless of what their parents’ religion, or political views are.
I can’t stop thinking about this tragedy. Not as an Israeli, not as a Jew, but as a parent. What if these were my own children? What if these were your children? Senseless killing of children is beyond words, and should never happen.
I don’t know who “sent” these murderers. I can only hope this was a spontaneous act by people who lost their sanity. However if this was a pre-meditated act by a political group, than hopes for peace in our lifetime are seriously dimmed.
I don’t even know what the proper “reaction” should be. I do know that neither side will politically gain from this. If anything, the extremists on both sides will harden their stance.  And the cycle of violence will continue.
The milk and honey taste a bit bitter today.
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