By Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, FSWC Director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism
This week our community mourns the killing of Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, a 21-year-old IDF soldier who was fatally struck by a rock thrown by an assailant in the West Bank on Tuesday morning. The attack occurred as Sgt. Ben-Ygal and fellow soldiers of the elite Golani Battalion were in process of apprehending suspects accused of terrorist involvement.
According to his father, Sgt. Ben-Ygal had been determined to serve on the front lines in protecting the Jewish Homeland, even though as an only child he had the right to refuse infantry service. A hero, struck down by a rock-wielder brimming with hatred. A son, taken forever from his family.
Life is at the very center of Jewish consciousness. Nothing can be more precious than life. And inversely, nothing more heartbreaking than loss of life. Tonight as we light the candles we feel the penetrating loss of Amit Ben-Ygal. A son of Israel, taken from all of us.
Rhonda Lenton, President of York University, will you be thinking of our fallen soldier tonight when you light the candles?
We ask you this because at your university there hangs a mural of a proud keffiyeh-clad Palestinian poised to throw a rock. The mural, we have been told, merely depicts an act of civil disobedience. A small stone flung in protest. A simple image of non-violent political expression.
We call your administration out, right now, tonight, on all these misrepresentations. That rock in your mural is a murder weapon. And the intended victim is a Jew. A Jew like Amit Ben-Ygal. The mural is a glorification of violence and murder against our community. And this cannot stand any longer.
President Lenton, we ask you tonight to join us in our sorrow for the loss of a young life. And tomorrow, when Shabbat is over, we ask that you take down that hateful mural once and for all.