Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth Prime Minister, once said, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
Every time I heard this, I considered it hyperbole, demonstrating not the possibility that mothers could hate their neighbors more than love their own children, but to illustrate the immense animosity they felt against the Jews.
But once again, the world is reminded that this is no hyperbole. It’s literal. The hate is deep and streams from generation to generation. They teach hate; they live hate; They pass it on to their progeny.
Last week, when reporters interviewed the mother of one of the Hamas members arrested for the murder of three Israeli teens, Gilad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Frankel, she simply replied, “If he truly did it – I’ll be proud of him till my final day.”
There were celebrations on the streets and social media photos with individuals holding up three fingers, representing the darkest form of victory.
Without acknowledging responsibility, Hamas praised those behind the kidnappings.
And yes, the retaliation murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was a tragic crime, and Israeli society, lawmakers, and Jewish representatives around the world categorically condemned it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “reprehensible crime,” and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he “strongly condemns” the killing, calling it “a horrible and barbaric act… This is not our way.”
The difference is that it was an incident, not a pattern. These Israeli perpetrators will be treated as criminals and not hailed as heroes. They will be convicted, if guilty, and legally punished by their own people.
Far from saluting the assailants or praising the crime, Prime Minister Netanyahu reached out to the victim’s father, offering him condolences and an apology:
"I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son," he said. "We acted immediately to apprehend the murderers. We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. We denounce all brutal behavior; the murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being."
We can use the reactions to these crimes on both sides as indication of the differences in culture and ideology, but these distinctions are now blurred and obscured in favor of a media-driven, terrorist-supported, blood-fueled narrative, first, morally equating the two sides, placing them on parallel footing, and then, making Israel the antagonist, who is not after securing its nation and civilians, but rather, driving an aggressive, technologically-superior offensive into the young and innocent children of Gaza.
Ironically, the narrative is reverse.
These are the same young and innocent who are exploited by their own. They are the young children used as human shields to prevent attacks or to lure Israel into hitting a target, killing children so that often-fabricated pictures can be posted throughout the Web and in most main stream media outlets.
It is true that these children are the victims. They are the victims of a hateful and war-loving society that readily instigates and instantly becomes the victim of an unfair and unbalanced conflict, where they are at the receiving end of a ‘disproportionate response.’
What’s lost in the media narrative is the missiles that are launched daily into Israel’s civilian areas. Over the last three days, 401 rockets have been fired from Gaza, according to a military spokesman. That’s six rockets per hour.
Offensively, Israel has been known to prevent casualties, as Col. Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, once said about the IDF during Operation Cast Lead, that they “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”
Many, like Col. Kemp who witnessed the military operations of the Israelis wrote about their superior standards in preventing the loss of human life, giving warnings to families before they enter an area, specifically sparing the lives of children.
Kemp continued, “Israel did so while faced with an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capacities behind the human shields of the civilian population.”
But these practices are only a glimpse into how the culture of hate manifests itself against its enemy. On a daily basis, while young Israelis are taught the importance of diplomacy, dialogue and democracy, Palestinians are training and filling the minds of their children to hate and to wage war against Jews.
New Palestinian textbooks still teach arithmetic through the addition of killing two Jews today and three tomorrow.
While Israelis hide their children in bomb shelters underground, Palestinians hear IDF planes above and send their children to the roof, cowardly using them to shield and protect infrastructures.
What happens then when Hamas, an extremist group, on the designated U.S. terror list joins with Fatah, the recognized Palestinian government?
What is the fate of Israel and those who support her when Hamas, who violently intimidates to carry forward an extremist ideology that is fueled with hate and anti-Semitism, then becomes the only avenue by which Israelis can negotiate peace?
And while missiles continue to fly, and Hamas threatens to hit Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest metropolitan city, four Gazan children have just arrived in Israel for life-saving treatment at Wolfson Medical Center just outside Tel Aviv.