A tenet of nonviolence is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine what their life is like and how I would react to the pressures and joys they face. The murders in the Har Nof synagogue by a couple of Palestinians has me thinking back to the Baruch Goldstein massacre in 1994 when he sprayed a Hebron mosque with gunfire killing a couple of dozen Muslim worshippers.
Murders with a religious angle strike me in a particularly bad way because I am a spiritual person, loving to be moved by religious practices. I know too many people who do so much good for the world, and who are moved to live lives of extreme service because of their religious beliefs, to feel that religion is itself the problem.
This cartoon is from northern California’s Jewish Bulletin in 1994, shortly after the Baruch Goldstein massacre
Sadly, his brutal, murderous act was actually celebrated by a segment of Israeli society which has grown and is holding much more sway today than even at that time. See exceprts of “Into God’s Bunker” on Youtube for chilling interviews with a rabbi, his wife, their son and his friends to see some of what I’m talking about.
Even today, his grave, though not officially a memorial, looks like one and is protected for reverent visits only by settlers and Israeli police and military. Now would be an appropriate time for reducing it’s grandeur, out of respect to all who are murdered out of a misplaced sense of religious fervor and entitlement.