Yesterday, readers asked me what the atmosphere is like in Jerusalem after the nation learned that the three missing teens had been dead all along.
Today started normal enough. Still, the murders were lunchtime conversation, as were the retaliatory strikes done by Israel on Hamas members living in Gaza early in the morning. Still, I hadn’t seen or heard anything unusual from my desk in the Old City.
I started to head home sometime after 5 p.m. As I walked toward Jaffa Road to catch the light rail, I could hear a crowd in the distance. I asked God if I should continue that way and felt freedom to do so.
When I got to the corner of Jaffa Road and King Shlomo, I saw police on horse back and others on foot around a crowd of chanting demonstrators. Traffic was honking because the demonstrators had blocked the light rail tracks and so the train was blocking the car traffic.
There were many bystanders and many police. In addition to the horses, motor bikes and cars, the police had a big water canon truck at the ready.
When I made it past the wall of police, I saw that the protestors were quite young and that most seemed to be what are called national religious. The young men were wearing knit kippas (yarmelkes) and have tzitzit hanging from their waists. One young man was wrapping the tefillin (phylacteries) around his arm and head as others chanted and sang.
Many of protestors were wearing stickers which read “Kahane was right!” and ““Israeli Government: No more talking, we demand revenge!” Some were holding yellow flags that had a picture of a man and said “We are all Kahane.”
Meir Kahane was, according to Wikipedia, “an American-Israeli rabbi and ultranationalist writer and political figure, whose work became either the direct or indirect foundation of most modern Jewish militant and extreme right-wing political groups.” What was Kahane right about? Read his bio and draw your own conclusions.
I learned later that this protest I ran into was a break-off from a larger demonstration that had started near the western entrance of Jerusalem. News reports (Jerusalem Post, Artuz Sheva) say that protest started peacefully but devolved as passing Arabs shouted at protestors. Fights broke out and protestors began harassing Arab shop keepers along the road where the light rail passes.
So to answer the question, many Israelis are angry (my photos and video didn’t capture the anger that spilled out once police started to forcibly move the crowd off the tracks). There was real hope among many here that the three kidnapped teens were alive even after being missing more than two weeks. We’ve since learned that they were probably killed not long after they were picked up. Hope deferred does make a heart sick (Proverbs 13:12).
Pray for Israel. And when I say Israel, I mean the nation and everyone in it: Jew and Arab, Muslim and Christian. Israel is determined to take out Hamas. Hamas is threatening opening the gates of hell (their favorite threat of late). And now young Israeli teens are shouting for revenge and tussling with police.
This could get ugly fast.
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