JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israeli response - both officially and unofficially - to Friday night's brutal slaughter of five members of the Fogel family by neighboring Palestinian terrorists is not revenge. The response is to keep building the Jewish homeland.
During a condolence call at the home of Ruth Fogel's parents on Sunday, their surviving granddaughter asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "Will America do anything to you?"
Turning to the newly orphaned 12 year old, Netanyahu said, "They [the Palestinian terrorists] murder; we build. We shall build our land."
Earlier, at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke about Israel's housing shortage and "an emergency plan to shorten the bureaucratic procedures involved in planning homes."
"Every year a gap of tens of thousands of apartments is created. Over a decade, this gap has grown to approximately 100,000 apartments. This gap hurts young people, young couples, discharged soldiers and those who lack the means to finance the surging price of an apartment because there are not enough apartments; there simply are not enough," he said.
"Via the usual process, we can neither shorten nor close this gap. Here, we are bypassing the bureaucracy so as to allow us, for 18 months, or less, to plan for and prepare an inventory of at least 50,000 apartments, and maybe much more, to alleviate the housing situation in the State of Israel. "I know there is much criticism about this, and there are many people who are explaining why it is forbidden to do this. Twenty years ago, the State of Israel took a similar step to absorb the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were on their way here and who were without homes.
"Today, there are hundreds of thousands of young people in the State of Israel who lack homes. They live with their parents; soon they will be living with their grandparents. This is unacceptable. The government is being asked to take a dramatic and drastic step to alleviate this distress and to build apartments in the State of Israel. The public has a right to live. We are committed to realizing this right," Netanyahu said.
In any other democratic country, building homes for its citizens wouldn't evoke an international crisis. But when it comes to Israel, everyone gets in on the act.
Following Friday's attack, Israel announced plans to build 400 new apartment homes in Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Sefer and Gush Etzion. The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv responded by saying it is "deeply concerned" by the government's plan.
The U.S. sees "these settlements [sic] as illegitimate and as running counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations," embassy officials said, The Associated Press reported.
U.N. special coordinator Robert Serry said he too is "concerned" by the announcement because building is not "conducive to efforts to renew negotiations and achieve a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace."
And Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas viewed the decision as "wrong and unacceptable."
So what are these people actually advocating? In summary, they're saying to achieve peace with the Palestinians, the government must uproot a quarter of a million Israelis from their homes and communities in Judea and Samaria, re-divide Jerusalem and turn over Jewish neighborhoods to a future Palestinian state, cede the Jordan Valley, etc.
The truncated Jewish state would be at the mercy of "neighbors" who glorify terrorism, educate their children to admire shahids (martyrs) who sacrificed their lives to murder Jews, and hope that perhaps in their lifetimes, Israel will cease to exist.
The question begging an answer is why the nations of the world can't see the reality facing Israel. But they don't. No matter how many times they're presented with the facts, they come up with the same response.
The time is approaching, maybe more quickly than people think, when Israel will stand alone against the nations of the world. But not alone - not according to what scripture foretells. Maybe that's why so many people side with Israel's opponents. They don't believe the Bible is the Word of God so they don't accept the validity of a Jewish homeland either.