Har Nof Heroes
Following the appalling tragedy in Har Nof, we learned of the amazing qualities of the victims (aside from the amazing heroism of the Druze police officer Zidan Saif). It was also very impressive to see the dignified reaction of the Har Nof community. See, for example, the article in the Times of Israel, "In Har Nof, Introspection, But No Religious War". There was no attempt to attach blame to anyone other than the murderers and those who incite them. There were no claims from Har Nof residents that it was due to the sins of a different community (unlike the Satmar Rav, who claimed that the non-Zionist victims were killed in retribution for the Zionists who ascend the Temple Mount, as a lesson which would have been entirely lost due to neither group being followers of Satmar). The gratitude to Zidan Saif, including Rav Rubin attending his funeral, was genuine, not merely "to make a kiddush Hashem".
I was inspired, and not at all surprised. This was, after all, Har Nof. I spent countless Shabbosos there when I was in yeshivah, and I lived there for eight months after I got married, and I can attest that it is full of the most wonderful people. This is not a naive claim that they are all wonderful; I know of several people there of poor character. But my impression is that a larger-than-usual percentage of the population is of exceptional character.
Har Nof is a mostly charedi neighborhood in which a large proportion of the population are olim, and/or baalei teshuvah to varying degrees, and/or involved in Jewish education by choice (i.e. not because they had no other skills or general education or socially acceptable options). This means that a large proportion of the population are extremely idealistic. Add to this that many of them are Anglos, and this means (apologies for the xenophobia) that they have certain qualities that are often lacking in their Israeli co-religionists.
It was around twenty years ago, when I first started spending time in Har Nof, that I became greatly enamored of the charedi world, and began crusading for the charedi cause. At the time, someone argued to me that I was making a mistake in extrapolating from the idealistic Anglo olim/ baalei teshuvah/ mechanchim of the charedi world to the charedi world in general. I was reminded of this last week, when someone spread the inspirational account of how one woman had taken it upon herself to arrange free transportation for people to attend the funeral of Zidan Saif. The person who shared the story with me stressed that this was a charedi woman, from Beitar, using her story to score points for charedim. Upon reading about her noble deed, however, I was intrigued to see that she had arranged it by means of Facebook. If she is using Facebook - something that is banned for the charedi community - then she is certainly not typical of the charedi world!
In any case, I hope that we can all take a lesson from the wonderful qualities of all our fellow Jews who were involved in this horrible event. By doing so, this is a credit to those who tragically lost their lives.