Last weekend's eruption of violence in Judea and Samaria was riddled with the usual accusations of Israeli brutality toward the Palestinians. But one story being touted in the Hebrew press demonstrates that Israel has no such lust for violence, and in general adheres rather well to Yeshua's admonition to "love thy enemy."
According to the story, at the height of the weekend violence, an Israeli doctor quietly entered the Palestinian-ruled biblical city of Shechem (today known as Nablus) without an army escort in order to save the life of a young Palestinian man who had been badly injured in a clash with Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers.
It mattered not that the young man had sought out violence with the Israelis, and any trepidation over entering Shechem without escort was suppressed. All Dr. Micah Shamir knew was that this Palestinian man would die without the kind of treatment Israel can provide.
Dr. Shamir, a senior physician at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, told the Ma'ariv daily newspaper about the harrowing experience: "It was clear we needed to save this young man. But entering Shechem was not pleasant, and there were moments of real fear."
Dr. Shamir and his colleagues were made aware of the young man's condition when Palestinian doctors at a Shechem hospital unequipped to save his life reached out for help. "I didn't think twice," said Dr. Shamir.
While the rescue operation was sanctioned by the Palestinian mayor of Shechem, had any of the local terror groups decided to attack or abduct the Israeli doctor, they could have easily done so. "It was extremely dangerous," Dr. Shamir recalled.
Ultimately, the mission was a success, and the young Palestinian man was secreted out of Shechem and transfered to a hospital in Jerusalem where he is recovering in stable condition.
Many Israelis were angered by the story, not because of what Dr. Shamir did for this Palestinian man, but because Israel typically shies away from taking such action on behalf of its own.
Shechem was the setting for a similar situation in October of 2000, when a Palestinian mob stormed the Jewish holy site of Joseph's Tomb and violently assaulted the Israeli soldiers stationed there.
As the Israelis pulled back, Cpl. Madhat Yusuf, 19, sustained serious gunshot wounds. Fearing that an incursion back into Shechem to rescue Yusuf would result in a major and bloody gun battle and subsequent international condemnation, the young Druze soldier was left to bleed to death.
Of course, the comparison speaks less of Israel's desire to preserve life on both sides than it does of the international community's double standards when it comes to the Jewish state.
Israel is simply expected to hold Palestinian life in the highest regard. In fact, Dr. Shamir's heroic effort to save a wounded Palestinian assailant was not mentioned by any foreign media outlets. At the same time, Israel's actions in defense of its own people are so vociferously condemned that the Jewish state is often afraid to do what is necessary to save Israeli lives.