Thanksgiving Message and Remembering Ezra Schwartz

Nov 25, 2015 Issues: Foreign Affairs/Israel

This Thanksgiving, as we gather with friends and family, I am reminded and thankful of the relative safety we feel when we sit down at our tables and enjoy the company of those we love.  It is heartbreaking to me that Ezra Schwartz's family will have one empty chair this Thanksgiving, after their son—who was spending his gap-year studying at a yeshiva in Israel—was one of three people shot and killed last week by a Palestinian terrorist.  The continued violent attacks targeting Israeli civilians are, without qualification or exception, acts of terror.  The murder of an American teenager, the continued terrorism aimed at innocent Israeli men, women and children, the violent attack on a 70 year old Palestinian man in Jerusalem by two Palestinian teenage girls with scissors who mistook him for an Israeli, all deserve a full condemnation.  No civilian should have to live in daily fear, and we must not remain silent in the face of this terror.  Palestinian calls for a violent “Day of Rage” must be loudly and widely denounced as the continued bloodshed only makes it harder to achieve the two-state solution that both sides say they seek.  There can be no prospect for peace when the safety of civilians is viciously targeted by such hateful actions.  Attacks on innocent civilians, be they American, Israeli, or Palestinian, have zero justification and our response to such terrorism cannot be silence.

Being thankful of family and with the safety and security of our loved ones—both at home and abroad—in mind this holiday season, I wanted to share the incredibly moving video of Ezra Schwartz’s memorial service from this past week.  May his memory be a blessing z”l:

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.