Two separate acts, committed at opposite ends of the world by two separate people joined by one motivating factor – hatred of Jews and the desire to kill them – threw those words from the Vehi She’amda poem in the Seder service into sharp relief on the eve of Pesach.
The first heinous act was committed by an American Nazi. There is no other way to truly describe him: a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan with a history of violence and extreme hate towards blacks and Jews, and even a prison sentence behind him. Glen Cross (or Miller, he seems undecided about his own name) took himself to the Jewish community center in Kansas City and opened fire, killing a grandfather and grandson. He then proceeded to a Jewish sheltered housing community and killed a woman there. Ironically, all three victims were people he probably would have preferred to have kept alive, since none of them were actually Jewish.
From the Jerusalem Post report:
OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Sunday’s attack on the Overland Park Jewish Community Center and the Village Shalom retirement community has officially been labeled a hate crime, Overland Park police chief John Douglass told reporters on Monday, less than 24 hours after three people were killed outside those buildings.
On Tuesday, state prosecutors announced that the suspect would be charged with three counts of murder. Police identified him as Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., 73, from neighboring Missouri.
They said the suspect also goes by the names Frazier Cross, Frazier Glenn Miller and Glenn Miller.
Michael Kaste, special agent in charge of the Kansas City FBI office, would not comment further on what groups Cross might be affiliated with, but the FBI, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League identified the suspect as a white supremacist and former high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Cross was arrested in 1987 and served a five-year sentence for possession of a hand grenade after becoming notorious for perpetrating hate crimes against African-Americans.
Kaste added that he had been known to the FBI but was not being actively watched for potentially disruptive or violent behavior.
Police confirmed the identity of the victims: Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, a freshman at Blue Valley High School who had come to the JCC to audition for the singing competition “KC Superstar.” Corporon died in or near his car in the parking lot.
Underwood succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
The third victim was identified as Terri LaManno, nee Hastings, 53, of Kansas City, who was visiting her mother at Village Shalom.
None of the victims appeared to have been Jewish. Corporon and Underwood were affiliated with the Methodist Church of the Resurrection in nearby Leawood, Kansas, while LaManno was affiliated with the St. Peter’s Parish Catholic Church in Kansas City.
Jacob Schreiber, CEO of the JCC, which serves the greater Kansas City area, read a short statement in which he said the victims and their families were “dear to us” and that the JCC leadership’s “heartfelt prayers are with them.” Schreiber added that he had been “heartened by the outpouring of support” from the community. “It strengthens us as we move forward from this tragedy,” he said.
Logan Cole, a teenage witness to the crime said:
“It could have been such a different situation,” she explained. “I’ve never felt this unsafe calling myself Jewish, and that’s really hard. That’s something that shouldn’t happen.”
Young Ms. Cole has had a rude awakening in the one country in the world without a solid history of antisemitism. Sadly what she experienced in America is something that is well-known both in Europe and the Middle East.
We send our condolences to the families of the victims and wish refuah shlema to the wounded.
The next act of anti-Jewish terror was committed right here in the heart of the Jewish homeland, just before Pesach began. An Israeli man was shot dead and his pregnant wife injured in a drive-by shooting near Hebron, as the family made its way to the wife’s parents for the Seder. We later learned that the victim is a senior police officer and was previously a senior IDF officer in the famed Intelligence 8200 Unit:
Terrorists opened fire on a family car near Hevron in Judea, murdering the family’s father as he was driving, mere minutes before the Passover holiday began on Monday afternoon.
The man, a police officer in his 40s from the center of the country, was killed instantly by the gunfire. He was from Modi’in, security sources told AFP on condition of anonymity.
His pregnant wife was wounded, and evacuated to the hospital in a condition defined as moderate to critical. Additionally a nine-year-old child was lightly wounded in the gunfire.
Paramedics who rushed to the scene attempted to resuscitate the man, but were forced to pronounce his death at the scene. His wife was wounded by bullets that hit her in the waist.
An IDF helicopter was dispatched to scour the area for the terrorists, and likewise large IDF forces were sent out on the search.
The nearby Arab village of Idhna, located to the west of Hevron, was closed as part of the IDF operation, given that the shooter apparently came from the village.
Israelis in another car say they saw a man in a helmet on the side of the road firing a Kalashnikov assault rifle. IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said it was unclear if the attack was the work of a lone shooter, a shooter with accomplices, or a “local terrorist organization.”
“A great loss to the family and the security forces”
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich arrived Tuesday at the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem to visit the injured widow of the murdered man.
“I met the widow, she is a very strong woman. I knew her husband, a member of the security forces, we worked closely together,” remarked Aharonovich after the visit.
Regarding the murdered man, Aharonovich noted “he was a very ethical and professional man, this is a great loss to the family, and of course to the security forces.”
Aharonovich hinted that the attack was carried out by a group of terrorists, and not a lone shooter.
“She (the wounded woman) told me that the family was on its way to Kiryat Arba to have the seder meal, and one or more terrorists stood and opened fire,” described the minister.
It was a “murderous terrorist event, the act of a terror organization that attacked,” according to Aharonovich. “She was wounded by several bullets and her husband was apparently murdered on the spot. The children sat in the car in back.”
The victim was Baruch Mizrachi, a top police intelligence and crime officer:
The victim of a shooting attack outside Hebron Monday night was named late Tuesday as Baruch Mizrahi, a 47-year-old father of five who filled a variety of senior positions in Israel’s military and police intelligence forces.
Mizrahi, who was gunned down in a terror attack as he was driving with his family to a Passover seder, was a senior officer in the IDF’s intelligence force, and more recently a senior police intelligence and crime officer, Army Radio reported.
On Tuesday night, Mizrahi’s colleagues in the police force mourned his loss, saying he would be missed both as a colleague and as a friend.
“This is a loss for his family first and foremost, and a great personal and professional loss to the force and the department, to the police force and to the state of Israel,” Mizrahi’s commander said.
“Beyond being a first-rate professional, he was a true friend who volunteered for every mission with dedication and faith, and lent a sympathetic ear to those under his command, to his colleagues and to his commanders. His presence could not be missed. Baruch devoted his entire life to his two great loves — his family, and the State of Israel.”
Mizrahi, who served in the military for 25 years, filled a variety of senior roles. In June 2011, he was drafted into the police force, where he served as head of the technology department in the police intelligence force.
His pregnant wife Hadas, 28, was moderately injured in the attack. One of their sons, a 9-year-old who was in a second vehicle, was wounded by shrapnel. He was operated on overnight Monday, and released on Tuesday.
What a tragic loss for the family and for the country as a whole. May Hashem avenge the death of Baruch Mizrachi HY’D and bring comfort to his family and friends.
The IDF meanwhile are scouring the village of Idhna from where the terrorist emerged. Despite the fact that the victim was a senior police officer, it is doubtful he was deliberately targeted because his was not the only car that was shot at:
According to an eyewitness, at around 6:00 p.m. a man dressed in black, wearing a helmet on his head, opened fire with an AK-47 rifle at cars passing by, Channel 10 reported. Two cars were struck but managed to flee, after which the Modi’in family was struck by the gunfire.
Shots were also fired at an IDF position near the Tarqumiyah checkpoint. No injuries were reported in that incident.
Speaking on Tuesday evening, the prime minister said the attack was a result of Palestinian incitement against Israel, which continued in the form of the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to denounce the killing.
“This reprehensible murder of a man who was traveling with his family to a meal for the Festival of Freedom is the result of the incitement for which the Palestinian Authority is responsible,” Netanyahu said.
The blog This Ongoing War (written by the parents of Malki Roth, killed at the Sbarro terrorist attack in 2001) addresses the international media attention (or lack of it) as well as Palestinian incitement (some emphases are added):
To this hour. relatively little media attention (for example, at the BBC) has been given outside Israel to the killing – coming as it has on the twelfth anniversary of the Park Hotel Seder Night massacre in Netanya – or its impact on terrorism-addicted Palestinian Arab society. Two American newspapers are notable exceptions.
The Los Angeles Times wrote that two of the three major terrorist forces in the Palestinian Arab sphere, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both “praised the attack but did not take responsibility for it“.
And the NY Daily News [“Hamas praises shooting that killed Israeli man, wounded his wife and son“] quotes Ismail Haniyeh, the “prime minister” of the Gaza Strip saying the murder “brought back life to the path of resistance” against Israel. He warned Israelis to expect more of the same from Palestinian Arabs, and particularly in “the West Bank [which] will be the future point of our struggle with the enemy.] We believe him.
As for the third of the major terrorist groups, Fatah, and its nominal head, Mahmoud Abbas (marking the tenth year of his four-year term as ‘democratically’ elected president of the PA), there are reports of anger among Israeli sources at their failure to condemn the assault.
We strongly prefer to ignore that genre of strictly-for-the-Western-media play-acting. Mealy-mouthed, plainly insincere expressions of Arab protest have a long and nasty history. One of Yasser Arafat’s bodyguards, Muhammad Al-Daya, shed a little light on the rules of that pathetic condemnation-of-terror charade just a fortnight ago in an interview with the BBC.
As with the thugs from Hamas and Islamic Jihad when they speak in Arabic on matters pertaining to terror, the terrorists ought to believed.
That same official Palestinian incitement is what leads the Arabs to believe that the Jews have no historical ties to the Temple Mount and no right to pray there. This inevitably gives rise to riots on the Temple Mount aimed at preventing Jews from exercising their inalienable rights to free worship at Judaism’s holiest site.
However, instead of actively confronting this incitement and terror in a similar manner to the IDF hunting down terrorists, the Israel police prefer a quiet life, and simply close off the site to Jews in order to avoid provoking the ever-seething Arab street. Unfortunately for them, there are occasions, such as Jewish festivals, when Jewish prayer cannot be prevented. This morning another Arab riot erupted on the Temple Mount and the police had to use force to restore order:
According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the violence began as officers stationed at Mughrabi Gate unlocked the passageway at approximately 7:45 a.m.“Police units immediately went to the top of the mount and used stun grenades to secure the scene,” he said.”Officers stayed there for an hour to ensure order and visitation continued as scheduled.”Rosenfeld said there were no injuries reported and arrests are expected later in the day.
The violence comes three days after two police officers sustained light injuries upon opening the Temple Mount’s Mughrabi Gate entrance for visitation, when a throng of Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at them.
According to police, the violence began shortly before 8 a.m. on Sunday, when two petrol bombs and a barrage of rocks were hurled at the officers without provocation.
“Riot control units were promptly dispersed to the Temple Mount, where non-lethal stun grenades were used to disperse the rioters,” said Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld shortly after the incident.
Rosenfeld said the two officers were treated at an area hospital, and have since been released. At least two arrests were made before the holy site was temporary closed down, he added.
“Security assessments were made following the incident and it was decided to limit visitation to prevent any further disruptions,” said Rosenfeld.
The contested holy site was opened later Sunday afternoon for restrictive visitation to avert more violence, he said.[…]Although the Supreme Court upheld Jewish prayer rights there, the court allows police to prevent any form of worship if it believes such activity will incite a “disturbance to public order.”
Just as we are disappointed in the American authorities having turned a blind eye to the violent proclivities of Glen Miller Cross, so too we should be furious at our own police and judicial system for caving in to the incitement and violence of the Palestinians, especially at our holiest site.
To remind you of those word in the headline, here is the paragraph we read at the Seder:
והיא שעמדה לאבותינו ולנו
שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלותנו
אלא שבכל דור ודור עומדים עלינו לכלותנו
והקדוש ברוך הוא מצילנו מידם
And in English:
And this (G-d’s promise) is what stood by our forefathers and us,
for not only one person stood against us to destroy us;
but in every generation they stand against us to destroy us,
and the Holy One Blessed be He saves us from their hand.
Here is the song performed by Yaakov Shweky and Yonatan Razel: