The moral strength of Haim Fogel

There was a story in the Jerusalem Post recently about Israeli President Shimon Peres’s visit with the parents of Ehud and Ruth Fogel – the couple who, together with three of their children (Yoav, Elad and Hadas) was brutally murdered by terrorists in Itamar.

The words of Haim Fogel, the father of Ehud, to the Israeli President simply must be noted.

The Jerusalem Post reported the following:

“Haim Fogel, the father of the slain Ehud, said that his children had been educated with values such as love for Torah, statehood and respect for the other, but it was impossible not to notice the unfettered hatred of the other side. Politics aside, with the focus purely on education, said Fogel, children are taught hatred at school, and the upshot of that is what happened to his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.”

The story then quoted Haim, who said – amidst his grief and unimaginable anguish over the knowledge that he’ll never see his son, daughter in law, and three grandchildren again – the following:

The murderers killed our children in the most bestial fashion.

Before concluding:

But they are not beasts. They are human beings who were taught to hate.”

I have been to Itamar, saw the haunting notice which remains on the front door of the Fogel family residence joyously announcing the birth of  baby Hadas, I’ve seen the horrific crime scene photos taken after the attack, and have listened to the IDF paramedic recall in excruciating detail what he witnessed upon entering the home, and still can’t cease meditating upon the viciousness and hatred of those who would commit such an unspeakable crime against innocents.

Yet, I’m also in awe at the profound decency of a man who has every reason to succumb to the desire for revenge, and the need to dehumanize the perpetrators of this ghastly crime against those who he loved, yet – through strength, faith, and character which is almost impossible to comprehend – somehow finds the spiritual energy to not only resist this temptation, but to emphatically stress the humanity of even such morally compromised souls.

I read and re-read the words Haim uttered to the President of our nation, attesting to his courageous moral restraint, and am moved beyond words.

Fogel Family Funeral

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