Amid the ongoing tragedy of the warfare and bloodshed that everyday people in Israel face daily, some stories so cut to the quick of the heart that they cross political boundaries and cross oceans to the farthest shores of humanity.
Sitting here in the comfort of an American home, I was among the far-off mourners in the recent tragedy in the family of Rabbi Leo Dee. It was stunning in the senselessly horrific “randomness” of the terror attack that took the lives of his wife and two young daughters during the Passover holiday in Israel. Rabbi Dee’s tragedy put a very profoundly personal “face” on the daily cruelty being heartlessly inflicted on the innocent in Israel. His is a story that every parent worldwide can understand from seeing it with the eyes of the heart and feeling it with the dread of understanding it to their very core.
As the country and the world would learn, the Dee family of seven had left their home in Efrat in the West Bank to make the journey to Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee. They had embarked from home in two vehicles, one being driven by Rabbi Dee with three of his five children and the other car driven by his wife Lucy who was accompanied by daughters, Maia, 15, and Rina, 21.
As the news from Israel would be told and retold on the global newswires, some two hours into their journey, at a remote spot near the town of Nablus, the car with Rabbi Dee’s wife and two daughters was ambushed by a terrorist gunman—a monster who had riddled the car with bullets before roaring away as a faceless demon having scrawled his anonymous signature of hatred forever into infamy. In the wake of the bloody carnage left behind, two sisters were left to die at the scene of the attack despite all valiant attempts by rescuers to save them and their mother lay critically wounded, only to die later in the hospital.
Some ninety miles away from the scream of ambulance sirens at the scene of the attack, Rabbi Dee got a text message from a relative while driving telling him there was a terror attack that had occurred in the area of Nablus, to which they were traveling. One of his daughters in the car pulled up a photo on social media showing the Nablus attack and a bullet-riddled car that looked eerily like the car Lucy was driving. Looking down at his phone, Rabbi Dee for the first time saw that a call had come in at 10:52 AM from the phone of his daughter Maia. It would have been the approximate time of the attack on his family. Perhaps a moment before she died. The call had gone unanswered.
The tragedy of “if only” lasts a lifetime. “If only we had left home thirty minutes earlier.” “If only I had been there to protect them.” “If only I had heard the phone ring.” Like all of Israel, I mourned across the ocean in solidarity for Rabbi Dee.
Where will it end?
As I write this, Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron, is only hours away. The sirens will sound in Israel and for two minutes life in the entire nation will pause to remember the heroes who have fallen. This year amid the chaos of politics, there’s widespread concern that social unrest will mar this sacred time of remembrance and further divide the country. Thousands of parents of fallen soldiers are asking that no political influence will be allowed to sully the real meaning of the memorial ceremonies planned at Israel’s 50-plus military cemeteries.
As I acknowledge that same two minutes of silence here in America, my heart cries out, “Where is the rest for a nation too long buffeted by terror and heartache?”
I remind myself of King David’s words in Psalms 30:6, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
I am today praying fervently for the parents of Israel. I’m praying for their strength to find the courage to continue to teach their children goodness and kindness despite all that surrounds them that bespeaks hatred and violence.
I am praying for the children of America that they will continue to grow strong and courageous as the next generation of friends of Israel—this despite every nefarious attempt of the “woke culture” to indoctrinate them with the vile seeds of antisemitism as early as kindergarten. As we sit under the reign of political powers that seek to break the strong ties between America and our greatest ally, Israel, parents across our nation are themselves waking up by the droves and pushing back strongly at not only the new culture of hatred for Israel and America but at the attempts to rob our nation of our Judeo-Christian values, values adopted by our founding fathers from the wisdom of Torah—God’s book of instruction on how we should live and govern.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob instructed the Israelites how to teach their children about Him and to never forget the exploits He had done to bring them out of the cruel captivity of Egypt. Jews globally have just celebrated another Passover remembrance, this in the Hebrew year 5783. Passover is the reminder that by tradition, generation to generation, we must leave our children their greatest inheritance: to know God.
We must as parents around the world—Jews, Christians and all people of good conscience—push back against the darkness and ignorance of hatred, be it antisemitism, terrorism or whatever hideous form this monster has taken.
The world grows smaller daily. What happens to Rabbi Dee’s family on the road to Nablus, becomes news around the globe within the hour. What happens at a school just a few miles from my own home outside of Nashville when a lone shooter opens fire and takes the lives of three innocent young children and three of their adult supervisors, is that day emblazoned on the news in homes all over Israel. Our children are growing up in a literal “world without borders” where terror is growing more prevalent and more well-publicized with each passing day and each new bit of advanced communication brings the nightmare closer to home.
I pray that each of us can hold our children a little closer today and vow anew to instill in them God’s values. I pray that their generation can bring the illumination of light and love that will dispel the darkness of hatred in the world they are inheriting from us.
I pray we will always be there to answer their call.
Laurie Cardoza Moore is the Founder and President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), a Christian nonprofit dedicated to educating Christians on the biblical responsibility to support Israel and the Jewish brethren. She is the producer and host of the TV broadcast, “Focus On Israel,” seen globally. Resource more info at: www.pjtn.org