My wife, Sara Blaustein, was brutally murdered in a drive-by shooting by Arab terrorists last Tuesday on the road from our home in Efrat to Jerusalem. We had moved to Israel with our 13 year old daughter, Atara, last summer fulfilling our life’s dream of living in the Land of Israel. My wife’s life revolved around her family, which meant more than just her husband and children, but by extension included the entire Jewish world. Anyone who ever needed any kind of charity – be it food, money, volunteering, or any other means of help – never came away from her empty-handed. The driving force of her personality, which was helping others at all costs, made it easy for her to make the transition to life in Israel. She instantly found her niche in the town of Efrat, where she continued to attend to her fellow-man at every opportunity.

My wife and I are among the 200,000 Jewish Israeli citizens of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Often, we are referred to as “settlers”, which to many connotes some form of fanaticism. Actually, my Sara was a perfect example of a member of our community. She was not an extremist in any way. She was simply another Jewish citizen returning to her national home.

Her outlook on life was that of a true American – she firmly believed in the ideal of justice and equality for all its citizens. Her faith in American values makes her loss all the more tragic, because it was American policy that lead directly to her death.

I was astonished to discover that the United States has a website offering a reward for the capture of any terrorist who acts against American citizens worldwide EXCEPT for acts of Arab terrorism. Such a blatantly racist and anti-Semitic policy was nothing short of an invitation for the gunmen to kill my wife. But more than that, it was a betrayal of the faith she had in the American government, and in the American way of life which she cherished so much.

Adding insult to injury, there was no representative of the United States government at her funeral. When contacted, the embassy claimed that Efrat was out of their jurisdiction, while the American Consul-General refused to send anyone in order not to make “a political statement.” Aside from this being callous, it’s extremely hypocritical. In 1996, the Consul-General at the time, Ed Abington (who now works for Yasser Arafat in Washington) made a condolence call to the Arab village of Husan – minutes away from where my wife was murdered. The Consul-General went to console a family whose son had been killed.

Yet my family, now sitting Shiva, has not merited a visit from our country’s representatives. Why is there political discrimination in American consolation policy between Arabs and Jews?

The juxtaposition of all these things – the lack of US reward for the capture of Arab terrorists, the imposed restraint by the US on Israel from pursuing my wife’s killers, and the lack of common decency by the American government in failing to pay a mere condolence call – leaves me feeling not only abandoned by a cold, unfeeling government which does not seem to care about a murdered American, but also betrayed by a policy which must share in the responsibility for that murder.

Norman Blaustein

June 1, 2001


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