Two Arab terrorists infiltrated Jerusalem's Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva at around 8:30 Thursday night and murdered eight Jews. At least 10 people have been wounded; three are in critical condition, a fourth victim was wounded moderately and six others, lightly.
The attackers entered from two separate entrances to the yeshiva and opened fire on the students before one of them was gunned down himself by an armed civilian. Witnesses say that the attack began in the seminary's library with the terrorists spraying bullets in every direction.
The yeshiva student who killed the terrorist, 40-year-old Yitzchak Dadon, said that he shot the attacker in the head with his personal weapon, after which another armed civilian "finished him off." Asked by a Channel 2 TV reporter what weapon the terrorist had, Dadon said, "A Kalachnikov," and turning to the camera, he added, "The Kalachnikov that you gave him, President Peres...."
The second terrorist hid in the yeshiva building, with subsequent reports indicating that the attacker was killed by responding security forces. Police are deployed in the surrounding neighborhood, and scoured the yeshiva and connected buildings. Most students in the building were evacuated after taking cover in the yeshiva's bomb shelter, according to police spokesmen.
Fifty ambulances responded to the scene, which emergency responders have called "a major incident." The wounded were evacuated to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital.
In Gaza City, Arab residents went out into the streets and fired rifles in the air in celebration of the attack against the Jews of Jerusalem.
Police forces are on heightened alert throughout the country.
The Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva is located near the entrance to Jerusalem, in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood. The yeshiva, founded by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, is at the heart of the national-religious movement in Israel.
I had just finished davenning Arvit when my cell phone started vibrating. My wife told me about the terror attack at Merkaz HaRav. She then said I should go bring my twelve year old son home. He was at a swimming lesson at an indoor pool that is a two minute walk away from the Yeshiva.
I went to the pool. The swimming lesson was over and and I found my son in the locker room getting dressed. The staff at the swimming pool would not let us leave the building for the police feared that another terrorist was at large. We waited for over half an hour before heading home.
On the way home we passed the Yeshiva. There must have been about twenty ambulances in front of the building. There were also police, journalists, and ZAKA. I told my son that the land of Israel is acquired through affliction. This isn't the first time that I've been close to an Arab terrorist attack.
I thought to myself about the dead. Young men at the prime of their lives, who had been sitting learning Torah, when animals disguised as humans cut their lives short. I thought about the wounded, some of whom may never really heal from this attack. I thought about the mourning notices that will be pasted up all over the city tomorrow, each one with a list of the grieving families. May the sick be healed and may the mourners be comforted with the building of Jerusalem.
I thought of the politicians that gave our enemies guns.
Update: I just read in the book HaHar HaTov HaZeh how Rabbi Min HaHar rebuked his daughter for cursing a chicken. Therefore I changed the end of this post, which was written at a time when my emotions overwhelmed me.