Subject:

Another Dead Child in Israel

Date:

Mon, 30 Dec 2002 16:37:35 -0500

From:

Roy Spiewak

Reply-To:

roy@spiewak.com

To:

letters@nytimes.com

 

The New York Times

229 West 43rd Street

New York, NY 10036

 

Via email: letters@nytimes.com

Via fax: 212-556-3622

 

 

To the Editor:

 

Re: "With West Bank Stones and Gunfire, Another Child Dies" by Dexter Filkins (news article page A7, Dec. 30)

 

Mr. Filkins reported at length on the death yesterday of Abdul Karim Salameh, a 10-year old Arab boy. We learn how he was one of the brightest in his class, a karate enthusiast.

 

Abdul died because he chose to initiate conflict. As his friend admits, the boys starting throwing rocks at the soldiers; the soldiers tried to ignore them, but when the soldiers passed by, the boys threw some more

stones, so the soldiers came back - responding to the riot with weapons not intended to cause death. Abdul died because his parents, his teachers, his religious leaders and his political leaders all chose (and continue to choose) to encourage their children to be martyrs, to "play intifada", through speeches, camps, classroom and mosque incitement. It is a deliberate policy and it is immoral.

 

Another child was buried yesterday - a gentle 17 year-old yeshiva student who was voluntarily on kitchen duty subbing for a friend. Gavriel Hoter, son of my dear friends Elaine and Haim Hoter, was one of four seminary students shot dead Friday night by Arab terrorists in the kitchen of the Otniel yeshiva dining hall as the students prepared to serve the Sabbath evening meal.

 

The terrorists struck on the Sabbath at unarmed seminary students. Where is the shock and world outrage at attacks at a seminary school on the Sabbath? Last April terrorists struck in Netanya at a Passover seder; they strike at synagogues all over the world. Arabs launched war against the Jewish State on the holiest day of Yom Kippur, yet the Muslim world cries foul when the U.S. continues its Afghan strikes  against terror during Ramadan.

 

Gavriel was a very special, brilliant boy. He finished high school a year early and was already halfway through a B.Sc. degree at the Open University, while simultaneously studying Talmud at the Otniel yeshiva. Beyond his religious studies, his interests ranged from physics to Harry Potter. A serious boy who loved nature and the land of Israel, he had a

beautiful voice, and relished singing with his brothers.

 

Both children's death are tragic; both represent worlds lost to their family and friends. But there is no equivalence, no balance. One child

was misguided and violently initiated conflict. The Times already told his story. The other hasn't had his story told. He was simply a peaceful seminary student observing the Sabbath. He was also my friend.

 

Roy Spiewak

Teaneck, NJ

 

 

(Note: The attached picture was taken this September at Gavriel's home in Alonei HaBashan before the holiday of Sukkot. Gavriel Hoter is on the left; my son  Yoni Spiewak is on the right.)