There is always excitement in Israel at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Children, especially, prepare for the mid-month holiday of Tu BiShevat. It’s fun to see this relatively minor holiday getting prime retail space at the supermarkets and even in the shopping mall:
The most popular and well-known children’s song about Tu BiShevat – Hashkediyah Porachat – describes the blossoming of the almond trees that we first start to see around Tu BiShevat. Sure enough, the trees and plants are beginning to blossom. The past few days in Jerusalem have been gloriously sunny and the colours have begun to come out all over the city.
The winds have come in strong today and the winter temperatures have returned. Sadness as well has descended upon Israel, as yet another Israeli was stabbed to death by a terrorist. Dafna Meir, a mother of 6 children, was killed in her home in front of her children. She was a nurse at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva.
As I am writing this, I just received an alert on my phone that another woman, pregnant and in her 30s was stabbed as well.
Both of these women live in settlements in the West Bank. There is complexity, to be certain, about the status of the settlements. But there can be no moral equivalency made in the face of the brutal murder of a mother in her home in front of her children. This violence is barbaric and inexcusable.
Our first two weeks here were accompanied by a relative lull in the violence. I pray that quiet returns soon.