Thursday, October 8, 2015

Twelve Hours in Time

Stop for a second and think about the last 12 hours of your life, of what has happened in your city, your country.

Now imagine if all of these happened within a distance roughly the size of New Jersey - a tiny country.

Keeping a Sense of Humor

When I went into labor with my oldest child, I was sent to the hospital. They did an examination and told me to go home and come back later. I was a bit surprised. "When should I come back?" I asked them.

"When you can't tell any more jokes," the doctor said with a smile. I'd been talking, smiling and joking around in between the rather weak contractions. At the time, to be fair, I didn't know the contractions were weak...a few hours later, I had learned quickly.

I went back four hours later and, as the doctor had predicted, I couldn't tell jokes. I remember thinking them and then realizing they would take too much energy and so they went unsaid. I didn't lose my sense of humor; it was just too much to verbalize.

Earlier today, I did lose my sense of humor. Reports were coming in from different parts of the country. It felt like it was every few minutes. I was trying to work and my phone kept beeping. Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Kiryat Arba. Jerusalem. Stabbings - six people wounded in total, at least two seriously. The terrorists were caught in almost all cases (one got away).

I'm not sure which attack broke me more...the one at the train station that I go to almost daily? The one right in front of the mall that I was in yesterday? The one in the city where my parents live? The one in the city where my younger attends high school?

I thought about all the places where there had been attacks and as this startling pattern began to too did my sense of humor. As I smiled a bit, I realized that I was not to be defeated. I posted this to Facebook:
So, I figured this out...I think this whole terror wave is my fault. Yesterday, they hit Petach Tivkah, where my parents live. Last night, close to Maale Adumim...a short while ago, they caught an Arab a few blocks from where I am...then there was an attack near the Azrieli Mall, where I was yesterday...and a few minutes ago, an attack in Kiryat Arba where my daughter goes to school...

Are you sensing a pattern? I think this is all my fault.
One person asked, "eh, where are you going tonight?" (thanks, Yarden).

To which I responded, "I thought you invited me to dinner, no?"

So far, my sense of humor, sick though it might be, has managed to stick around. I had to go out of the office for a bit, and so posted, "Dear Palestinians - I need to go to the shuk and the bathroom. Could you please chill out for the next hour or so?"

It seems that I'm not the only one with a sense of humor today. A Palestinian went into the center of Tel Aviv and began stabbing people. Four people were injured, including a young woman. A brave soldier in the Air Force saw what was happening, stepped out and killed the terrorist, preventing him from hurting others.

Someone posted a picture of his dead body (the terrorists, thankfully) to Facebook showing he was shot in the head. I've cut the picture so that you can see what is on his shirt.

Who says terrorists don't have a sense of humor?   

Though, someone probably should have told him that "Time Heals All Wounds" isn't always guaranteed. I'm thinking a bullet to the center of his forehead is kind of fatal. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Israel Doesn't Run

Just over 4,000 years ago, Abraham was commanded to leave his ome and journey to a far off land that God promised him would be for him and for his descendants. For all that time, uninterrupted, the Jews knew Israel was the place we belonged. We were exiled, and returned; exiled again and returned; and exiled again and returned. After the first exile, we actually never left. There were always Jews in this land from the time the Jews returned from Babylonia until today.

Once the Jews were ONLY in Israel, than mostly, than less. Once again, there are more Jews in this land than in any other in the world. We have been hounded and hunted, persecuted and pursued through centuries and continents. When we began returning in larger numbers, we could have lived with the small Arab population in peace, as we had lived for centuries in their countries and among Christians in Europe and elsewhere. We did not instigate the pogroms, the Crusades, the Inquisitions and the Holocaust.

And we did not instigate the conflict here in pre-Israel Palestine. During those years, the Palestinians were anyone who lived here - Jew or Arab. The Jerusalem Post, the only major English newspaper in Israel was originally called The Palestine Post. We fight a war we did not start, nor did we seek one.

My grandfather was born in Poland; his family had moved there from Spain. He moved to the United States...always seeking a better life, a safer one. His mother and his two sisters died in Auschwitz. He came to Israel once in his life and then promised to take me to Israel...he died before he could fulfill that promise, but my husband and I closed the circle, bringing our children to the only land that was, is, and will be theirs.

We have been fighting for 67 years simply to live in peace. We have been accused of being the aggressors, the occupiers, the conquerors.

Last week, a young Palestinian stabbed a 24 year old Jewish father of two, killing him. He stabbed the man's Jewish wife, who is 22 years old. She screamed for help and begged help her. They spat on her and told her to die. A Jewish man came running to help. He was stabbed and killed as well. A two year old child of the Jewish couple was shot in the leg before security forces arrived and killed the Palestinian terrorist.

A day later, a young Palestinian decided to kill Jews too. He stabbed a 15 year old boy...and was then killed by security forces.

President and Chief Liar of the Palestinian "Authority" - Mahmoud Abbas - held his silence about the murder of a young Jewish couple right before the eyes of their four children on Thursday; that he was silent about the murders of two fathers and the stabbing of a Jewish boy. As bad as it was that Abbas held his was made much worse by the fact that he PRAISED the killers and demanded that Israel be condemned.

And to make it worse, the idiot Secretary General of the UN bowed low before Abbas and condemned Israel. The farce that is the world boggles the mind. A mother and father are gunned down and you praise the killers? What the hell is wrong with these people?

And when Israelis began to protest the wave of terror and demand one of the strongest armies in the world be given the right and the power to defend them, Israel's left came out swinging. One woman in Raanana comfortably explained that she wasn't "a target" of Palestinians. One man suggested the protesters were "right-wing fascists."

Apparently whatever Abbas and Ban Ki-moon have is contagious. And so it could have been that Israel would have celebrated what is normally one of the happiest and best times of the year - a month filled with holidays and vacation and hiking and camping and relaxation, with anger and pain and frustration. That's what the Arabs wanted - now and in the past. It's why they attacked on Yom Kippur 32 years ago and why they often attempts terror attacks during this period.

So last week we mourned and struggled not to sink into so many emotions. We danced harder, sang louder and held our children just a bit tighter.

And then, a few days ago, Bon Jovi came to Israel and sang what he called "the fight song for Tel Aviv" - and by that, I think, he meant all of Israel. I guess I can confess - I have no musical talent, no singing ability. The songs I like are more about content than tune and I'd never heard a Bon Jovi song in my life.

That's probably embarrassing but well, the music in my life is the music of words. I hear music in what I read and sometimes what I write. This time, in the midst of such great sadness, this man came to Israel and sang...and Israel danced to his tune.

No, I don't think he wrote the song for Israel...but he's definitely right - we don't run!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

BBC's Changing Headline

There are certain fundamental facts of life that everyone knows. What those facts are can often differ according to gender, religion, race, nationality. Take two people and show them some incident and often they will come away with two different "facts."

I am, for the most part, thoroughly amazed by the world's impression of Israel (and Jews). I would think a simple view of facts would clarify so much and yet, it never seems to matter. I don't agree, but can understand, when the world tell us that our "owning" the land of Israel 3,000 years ago does not impact on today. But how can the world honestly believe all our problems began in 1967, by the so-called "occupation." Seriously?

The Palestine Liberation Organization - a terror group created to eliminate the Zionist presence in "their" homeland, was created in 1964. No attacks until the Zionists were granted a state of their own? What about the murderous attacks on Hebron in 1929?

This was Palestinian land before Israel occupied it? What about the fact that the British took 2/3 of the Palestine mandate and created a fictitious land named Jordan? What about the fact that we agreed to the Partition Plan in 1947 and it was the Arabs that chose war and then started whining when they lost?

History does not determine truth; that is for sure.

Perhaps it is headlines...yes, maybe the media is so powerful it can manipulate information and truth to influence opinions. That is actually closer to reality than any of us would probably be comfortable with.

Last night, a 19 year old Palestinian decided that the Third Intifada had arrived. He posted to Facebook and then he went out to kill some Jews. Brave "man" that he was - he attacked a Jewish family, stabbing the father and mother. A Jewish man in his 40s, a father of 7, ran out from his home to try to stop the attack. A video taken by Arabs in the marketplace shows they did nothing (ran away and listened and one even casually drank from a can) as they listened to the terrified shrieks of a small child being shot in the leg.

The father of the two children and the father of the seven children were murdered; the mother of the two children is in critical condition. The two year old was shot but will survive; another small child was miraculously uninjured.

The terrorist was eliminated. Shot. Dead.

BBC covered the story.

Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two? First, why was Jerusalem attacking anything? Second, who killed the two? What two?

The Palestinian MURDERED two innocent people. This headline is an outrage, a distortion of the facts. It is a clear attempt to influence your view.

Clearly, you are meant to sympathize with the murdered two, but BBC doesn't want you to blame the poor Palestinian...after all, he was shot dead.

Israel's Facebook exploded with anger. It isn't enough that Palestinian terrorists gunned down a father and mother in front of their four children on Thursday; it isn't enough that cars, buses, and trains are relentlessly being attacked by rock-throwers who by-and-large are getting away with it. It isn't enough that two mothers have been injured in these attacks - both with young babies in the car that miraculously escaped harm. It isn't enough that in last night's attack, another mother is struggling for her life, her two children having already lost their father.

Apparently, even BBC realized that the headlines was nearly as abhorrent as the attack itself.

A short while after untold numbers of protests, BBC modified the heading.

It's an improvement but considering that the Palestinian was dead on the ground with clear proof of his identity and his admission that he died as part of the third intifada, the quote marks are rather telling.

Apparently BBC realized that this too was insulting. The victims are clearly identified, at least some of them (and the missing part is telling...more on that in a moment), so why do they hesitate to identify the murderer? The terrorist? The "man" who thought murdering two fathers and attacking a woman and two babies was acceptable?

BBC does mention that "two others were also injured in a knife attack." Well, there we go with the framing again. The two others that were injured included a two year old baby who was shot. Shot because when Rabbi Lavi ran out to try to save the family under attack, he too was stabbed. The Palestinian terrorist then grabbed his gun and aimed it at the other victims.

Soon, the headline changed again.

It now reads "Jerusalem: Palestinian kills two Israelis in Old City".

The BBC article then goes on to explain about the deaths of the two Israelis. BBC reports on another attack that happened a few hours later - reporting that an Israeli teenager was stabbed and his assailant was also killed by police.

Teenager is really a way of cleansing the act. After all, the murderer himself was a teenager, wasn't he? The boy...yes, boy...that was attacked was 15 years old.

The article also mentions that the attack "comes two days after an Israeli couple were shot dead in the West Bank."

No mention of the fact that as the sun rose over Israel today, there are fourteen orphans. Fourteen children who have lost their fathers (and four that have also lost their mother in the same attack).

BBC does not mention these children, yet they too are victims of these attacks. BBC does not mention families in mourning, communities in shock.

And they don't mention the tears that come to my eyes as I hear my two year old granddaughter call out to her father, "Abba! Abba!" downstairs as I write this.

One crime from the Nazi era that is rarely mentioned was in fact the very crime that enabled the Holocaust to happen - the dehumanization of Jewish lives. When you call a fifteen year old a "teenager"; when you don't mention the shooting of a two year old; when you don't mention 14 orphans; when you call victims "settlers" instead of Jews, Israelis, or simply parents or human beings...all this leads again to the dehumanization of the Jew.

It happened countless times in history. It cannot be allowed to happen here in our homeland. Each victim has a name; each child must be mentioned. The one who chose to be dehumanized was the Arab terrorist. I have mentioned his age but will not mention his name. Instead, I will curse it and pray that his memory be erased - perhaps the worst curse you can give a person according to Judaism.

"Yamach shemo" - erase his name, God, please.

And please bless the Henkin, Lavi, and Benito orphans and watch over them, bless the widows with strength in the coming days. Please grant Adele bat Miriam (Adele, daughter of Miriam) and Natan ben Adele (Natan, son of Adele (and Aharon)), a full and speedy recovery from their wounds.

And please bless the world with clarity of vision to see the threat that faces Israel, and them.

And please continue to bless and watch over Israel. You have taken back to Heaven four amazing souls, whatever tasks you assigned them in this world having been completed. It will be hard, so hard, for those left behind to understand and through their pain accept that these four can now do more in the world-to-come.

Today, we will bury two fathers as on Friday, we buried a father and a mother. Please God, bless Israel with peace.

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