Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free Gaza

Palestinians are demanding a free Gaza...in reality, they have had that for more than 5 years. Note the math...they are complaining about a naval blockade that began 4 years ago, AFTER the capture of Gilad Shalit. That means Gaza was free for a year...and they used that freedom to infiltrate into Israel, murder soldiers and drag Gilad across the border, where he has been held every since.

And yet they cry out that we should free Gaza...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jumbled News and A Clear Message of Triumph

Sometimes, the news jumbles together and you wonder how it is possible not to learn a lesson from the very clear path it builds for you. There is a truth, even in the lies our enemies tell. A truth so bitter, so real, that our leaders refuse to listen, even if it means our deaths.

As I drove to work recently, I listened as the news reported that Abbas was telling Israel that we had to choose between peace and settlements. It is a formula that might make sense, if it was the settlements that prevented peace. It is a lie that might fool the most ignorant but for those who understand that we have not built for 10 months while Abbas made no effort to make peace, it is yet another abomination. We have done so much; Abbas has done nothing but avoid negotiations, set preconditions, and spin truths into the most horrid of lies.

For 10 months, we caved into Obama; to the US, the UN, the EU, and worst of all, our own desperation to believe that peace can be shoved down the throats of the Palestinians despite their very clear message that they worship death and violence, not peace and harmony. For 10 months, Netanyahu wanted us to believe the impossible – that you can dance alone to a tune only he hears; that you can convince those who seek to confuse, that honesty is the better road. For 10 months. For 10 months there was nothing. Nothing but rockets, stone throwing attacks. Nothing but accusations, preconditions, demands.

So, having done nothing but wait until the last possible minute to even agree to talk to Israel, the Palestinians are now positioning themselves to say that it is Israel that has not done enough, not cared enough, not sacrificed enough. It’s true, they laugh to themselves, for 10 months nothing…and for how much longer can we watch Israel dance while they laugh on the side? I have no sympathy for the Americans who come to the party so disastrously ignorant. I have no compassion for the Blairs of the world who cannot comprehend a world, a culture that raises its children to martyrdom. We are finished, I want to scream at Abbas. Your lies won’t work. But they do, and I am left to wonder, again and again.

Obama – for God’s sake…how stupid can you be? How can you look at our country and believe we have not done all we can. Now in these last 10 months? Five years ago when we destroyed the homes of 10,000 people for nothing? You want us to give more? Tell that to the orphans, the widows, the bereaved parents.

Abbas says Israelis much choose. The anger encompasses the brain at times, chokes you beyond words.

That was the morning. In the afternoon, there was a conversation with an Israeli aboard a boat heading to Gaza – a flotilla with a message; he said. And what, the newscaster asked, what was the message? My mind flashed, as it often does, to Gilad Shalit – it makes sense – they are trying to grab the attention of the world to focus on Gilad. They sail to gain the attention of the world, to turn it to the cause of the naval blockade – the ongoing, illegal captivity or our son, Gilad.

I was so busy hoping they would succeed, it took me a few moments to realize the treachery, the deceit, the horror. No. Not Gilad – not for these publicity-hungry, self-hating Jews who dared to talk of “true Judaism” as they desecrated Jewish law, ignored it, debased it. They want to show their solidarity, these stupid idiots, with the beleaguered Palestinians; they want to break the naval blockade and declare themselves heroes. They dare Israel to stop them – in the name of Judaism because those who sailed in the name of Islam already failed. But there is no difference between the Judaism of these people and the Islam that pushed the last flotilla to violence. I would not trust these self-proclaimed “peace activists” any more than I trust the last group of thugs.

They sail for the Palestinians, but not for Gilad. The anger grows as an ache deep inside; how blind, how naïve, how destructive, how wrong.

And then in the evening, I got a call from my son who was with the army in Hebron hours before. He is fine. He’s left the city, though he may go back. Slowly the mind takes in the information. Another shooting attack; indiscriminate; meant to kill. Another pregnant woman – but this time a miracle. Though the woman was shot, her husband was able to continue driving until he got her to help; she delivered her son in health and safety – a miracle.

What lessons do we learn this day of such jumbled news?  So many confused thoughts; so much anger. The journey of the day took me through the feeling that the world will fall, yet again, for Abbas’ lies and Palestinian propaganda and past the idiocy of those who are blind enough to help our enemies but care nothing for our own. It ended with the wails of a newborn baby boy, born of a terrorist attack that might easily have claimed his life and those of his parents. But a birth, a joy, a message that comes clear and washes away the anger. Tell your lies, follow the wrong path, but know that at the end of the day, there is a rebirth, a dedication.

I don’t know what the parents will name this child – perhaps Baruch, for blessing – for truly he is blessed. Perhaps David, who led his people in strength and war. Or Chaim, for he lives to triumph and show the world the determination of his parents and his people.

Or perhaps, though it is not my place to name him – perhaps they will call him Israel. I hope they will – for it was Israel that rejoiced in his birth last night as we put aside the anger and the lies to celebrate the most important part of our religion – life.

May God bless this baby boy, son of Netta Zucker. May he be welcomed into the covenant of Avraham, Isaac, and Jacob and may he be granted a long and happy and healthy life here in our land…the land that will remain ours, despite Abbas, Obama, the idiots on the flotillas, past, present and future.

May God bless this boy with life.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Awful Moments

I live in an amazing city, perched on the hills just to the east of Jerusalem. It is considered  a suburb of Jerusalem in many ways, though it is a city in its own right. A city of 45,000 people. We have many of our own facilities...we even had a movie theater for a long time. We have our own ambulance squad, though most of the actual ambulances are "on loan" from Jerusalem.

What that means is that in the moments after a terrorist attack, when they call all ambulances, three of our ambulances are called as well. For years, during the worst of the second intifada, that's how I knew there had been an attack - even before the media. I'd hear sirens and I became addicted. It was a way of dealing with the stress and even when things calmed down, to this very day, I listen for sirens and try to see the road to count. One ambulance means little - an accident at home, hopefully a woman giving birth, a normal incident. Two is likely more serious - usually a car accident.

Three is only one thing - a terrorist attack. The sirens wail as they fly up to Jerusalem. Three was what I dreaded seeing and when I did, I would go to the computer, the radio, the TV back when I had one...anything to catch a glimpse and then realize I was in those awful moments when I knew before the news was reporting.

Sometimes minutes later, even as long as 15...the map would come up first. We knew the rough location, but not the numbers. Then they would climb. It was almost a relief to listen and know that I was no longer alone.

This happened again a few minutes ago. I'd forgotten how horrible that feeling is.

Shmulik called in the early hours of the evening to tell me that he was in Hebron, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs. His commanding officer had gone to inspect the deployment of troops. It is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and so many people go there to visit. It is an incredibly emotional place, solemn, special.

"See if you can take the time to daven Aravit [say the evening prayers]," I suggested. I don't know if he succeeded or not. I only know that a short time ago, he called to tell me he was back on base. He wanted to tell me he might not get home at all tonight; and if he does, it will be very late.

"What happened?" I asked him, knowing it couldn't be good.

"Shooting attack," he told me. "In Hebron. Two wounded."

I forgot him telling me he was on base. I forgot everything except him telling me he was in Hebron earlier this evening. "Where are you?" I asked him, none too calmly.

"On base," he said again. "on base."

"How bad?" I asked him. He didn't know.

"Check the news. It should be on soon."

And so I opened my computer. I went to three sites...nothing. It was a return of those horrible moments when I know enough to feel anger and sadness and worry, and not enough to know how bad. Was the anger to be joined with mourning; would there be more orphans...as there were just weeks ago?



Please, I begged the Internet. You were merciful a few minutes ago in not telling me until I'd heard from my son...now tell me.

"One lightly injured in shooting attack near Hebron."

"Pregnant woman injured in her leg; her husband drove her to the hospital. Light condition."

"Two injured."

And the worst headline award, once again, goes to YNET for their "Woman gets shot in the south." Gee, YNET, why'd she go and do something so silly? Woman gets shot??? I'm always amazed by the way media loves to frame terrorist attacks in the passive tense because they don't want to admit to terrorism. Can you imagine the outrage if someone were to write something as offensive as "World Trade Centers get themselves blown up" or even  "Twin Towers got attacked"? As if the WTC were responsible...as if those who were responsible then...and those who were responsible tonight, were not the real terrorists.

But returning to my point...which is hard when my brain doesn't want to work...when it only wants to panic, when it only wants more information put in, rather than allowing words to exit. The worst moments of a terrorist attack are those first ones. The minutes before you know...worse, the times I know that others don't yet know because I heard the ambulances...or, in this case, because Shmulik called me mercifully to know he wasn't there when the attack came; that he is safe.

These are the confusing times - so much of the information changes as pieces drift in - one or two - lightly or not. A woman; a man. Who knows?

It will come out. The stomach will settle and return back to the anger of earlier in the day when I heard Mahmoud Abbas say that Israel had to choose between peace and settlements. He's angry that Israel has stopped the building freeze. We promised 10 months and we gave him 10 months. He waited and did nothing for more than 9 of those months and now he says WE don't want peace? Now he says WE must choose?

Once again, my cowardly government will not answer him correctly. Oh, we may start to build (of course, the ultimate cowardly Ehud Barak is likely to avoid giving out permits thus thwarting law and justice by creating his own totalitarian rule), or we may not. But Netanyahu will likely cave to Obama, who is also demanding that Israel not build anymore in "the territories."

One has to wonder where Obama was the last 10 months as well - oh, that's right- he was busy criticizing Israel for not doing enough for peace, ignoring the freeze just like his Arab brothers.

And then there's the latest flotilla - this time by a bunch of "Jewish organizations" who urge Israel to practice "true Judaism" - these Jews who probably know nothing of Jewish law, certainly I'm sure they are not paying attention to the laws of Sukkot (unless someone wants to tell me they built a Sukkah on the ships they plan to sail into Gaza?

And what is their goal? I listened on the news...wondering if perhaps they were going to demand Gilad Shalit be free...no, silly...they have swallowed the hogwash of the propaganda makers...hook...line...and bull. They are worried about the poor Palestinians...presumably not the ones cavorting in Gaza's latest mall, swimming in those luxurious pools and living in those amazing mansions...no, the other ones...but not, certainly not, a word about Gilad Shalit.

Aboard this latest flotilla is a former pilot from the Israeli army who thinks he is God-like enough to solve the problems of the world...well, not Gilad's problems. Gilad is not relevant to him, only his ego and image and publicity - that pompous pilot and his shipmates.

So they will try to thwart the Israeli navy as well. The good news is that this time, when Israel stops them, few people are likely to care. My personal prayer is that Israel will sink the ship - and let the Gazans save those onboard. In fact, perhaps they should allow them to enter Gaza...and leave them there. No, Israel won't leave them there...it isn't our way...but please, Israel...please learn your lesson - sink the ships now. Give them one warning and then tell them to prepare their life boats and while they do...quietly send our boys under and let them carve a big hole in the bottom and let it sink. This time...and every time.

I know I'm being mean; I know I'm not being diplomatic. I should write more carefully, with less anger...but from the morning to the night...from one incident to another. From Abbas' asinine words to the idiots on the flotilla, to the shooting attack. It was a day of awful moments today only relieved by the gift of knowing my son was safe and for that, I give the greatest of thanks.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Hope, A Prayer, and Vitamin P

In Israel, people refer to "vitamin P" as "protekzia." What it means in simple terms is that it is all in who you know. Often this is true. Not always, but often, if you know the right people, you can get somewhere early, get a parking spot, get a special price, etc. There's protekzia at the bank for people with larger accounts; at schools for the families of staff members. There's protekzia for families of police officers and more.

One problem is Israeli society is that people often blur the lines between protekzia and outright wrong. That's one reason why there was so much corruption in the Olmert government - Olmert and his ministers all thought it was coming to them when what they were doing likely crossed all lines of legality. In its ugly form, protekzia can cause harm. In it's purest form, it can bring about good things for those who need it.As you go through life in Israel, you build connections.

The point of protekzia is actually, I believe a favorable aspect of Israeli life in that it indicates, often, the desire to help. And, of course, it is most natural to help the people you know. So someone needs something and you know someone who knows someone who can help, so why not ask? When you are new in a country, you don't have much protekzia because you don't know that many people. That's one of the benefits of some organizations. For example, people who just came to Israel don't have protekzia, but if they came with Nefesh B'Nefesh, for example (an amazing organization which helps Jews relocate to Israel when they want to), you have that organization behind you - an instant shot of vitamin P.

Chaim's been in Israel for almost a year now. He came back last Sukkot and entered the army in March. His youngest sister came to visit, but he hasn't seen the rest of his family in most of that time. The holiday of Sukkot is 7 days long (this year add on the Sabbath that follows it and you get to 11 days, of which, the army won't really be functioning for training for about 7 of them. He wants to go visit his family. It's a good time for him; a good time for them; a good time for the army.

But a new soldier has very little protekzia, a lone soldier often even less. Once before, Chaim asked me to call his commanding officer and as his "adopted" mother, I called and explained that while most soldiers don't need to carry a phone, if Chaim can't speak to his family at a convenient time for them, he won't be able to speak to them at all because the one hour they wanted to give him simply didn't mesh with his US-based families schedule.

His commanding officer was great - the solution was simple...Chaim could carry his phone and answer it when it was possible. This time, Chaim called to tell me he really needed to go back to visit his family; this was the perfect time and he wanted to go. He'd asked his commanding officer who asked his commanding officer, who would ask....and time was running away.

I tried reaching one officer - no answer. And then I spoke to Shmulik, who spoke to his commanding officer. S. was the head of the base where Shmulik and Chaim did their basic training, and has just been moved (with Shmulik as his new driver) to another position and base...onwards, upwards...and yet S. has a soft spot for lone soldiers. He understands their sacrifices in coming here and their dedication.

We called him last night. I should say Shmulik called - trying to get Chaim released this morning. What it came down to was 7 seconds. They would release Chaim so long as completed the advanced training...the final mark of which is a combined exercise that is timed. You have 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Chaim took 10 minutes and 27 seconds (including a full minute they shouldn't have added on in the first place). What that means is either he made it in time, or missed by 7 seconds. His commanding officers were counting it as a miss and for those 7 seconds were requiring him to repeat it.

The repeat was to be done Wednesday morning. The holiday begins Wednesday night - no time to get off base, fly half way across the world. For 7 seconds, Chaim would miss this opportunity to be with his family, his sisters and brother, his beautiful little nieces, his grandparents. 7 seconds.

S. asked why we had waited so long. If we'd asked last week, it would have been easy...but we were asking for him to miraculously turn the army around...from 8:00 at night to 6:00 the next morning. Chaim left with his unit on an all-night exercise; I began to wonder if protekzia could win...or not.

At close to 11:00 p.m., S. sent Shmulik a note - Chaim can leave on Tuesday morning. Not good enough, I told Shmulik - he needs to leave tomorrow morning. That delay seemed almost as cruel to me as the 7 seconds. I could feel across the ocean a mother's desperation...which was silly because Chaim's mother couldn't know what was happening at that moment and how close we were. "Write him back," I told Shmulik, and he did. It was the best they could do.

I started trying to call Chaim - I sent him a message. A while later he called. He was ecstatic. His commanding officer could handle the last 24 hour problem. He told Chaim in the morning when they finished the all night exercise, he could shower, pack his bags, sign some forms and be off. "Hopefully on the morning bus," Chaim told me.

I was trying to calculate if I could drive him to the airport. "Don't you dare," Chaim said and I could hear the smile in his voice. His plane leaves at 4:00 a.m. and I have to be up north at a client the following morning. He's right...I don't think I could do it, but I am so happy for him. I'm waiting for the call that tells me he's off base and on his way to Jerusalem; there to pack and catch a late night cab to the airport; there to fly home...well, not home...I've been resisting writing home until now and there it slipped through. I'll leave it though because Chaim is blessed - more blessed, perhaps than most, in that he has two homes. The home of his family and the home of this country.

Aliza is disappointed that Chaim won't be with us for the holiday - I am thrilled. I'm so glad Shmulik was able to get to S.; that S. was able to pull this off. I'm so glad Chaim will fly home for a few days and then fly home again.

A hope, a prayer, some vitamin P and a lone soldier gets a week with his family.

For all the times Israelis refer to vitamin P in a negative way, this time it worked.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thoughts on a Solemn Day

Yom Kippur is an amazing day of reflection. You can't really stop yourself from thinking of so many things related to your life, things you have done, how you have treated people and how they have treated you. There were the regular thoughts and prayers I have each year and this year, for the first time, there were new ones as well. Perhaps it is a sign of growing older; of having four of my five children fasting, of knowing my youngest child has long since left "baby" behind and is fast approaching maturity.

She spent most of the day helping a neighbor with young children and the night before a friend came over and told me how cute my daughter was holding her baby. Holding her baby...my baby who isn't a baby anymore. None of them are. Shmulik was home. Elie was home. I was grateful to have that peace of mind and yet...

When I was in the synagogue, my mind went off into imagining the moment in 1973 when people came into the synagogues and announced that Israel was under attack. Strange thoughts to have.

I stayed home for part of the services because I needed to be home (more on that at some point). I looked to the east to Jordan, at one point. I stopped praying and listened to the silence of the moment. In the distance, I could hear the prayers being sung in the synagogue nearby; children playing in the park. And the strangest thought came into my head...

If at this moment, Iran were to launch missiles at us...or Syria...or Hizbollah...all of Israel is now within range. What would the world say tomorrow about the Jewish nation that once was? Most of us have grown up in a world where Israel simply as here; only those in their late 60s (at the earliest) and more likely those in the 70s remember a world where Israel wasn't simply a reality.

These thoughts crossed my mind as I stood there and listened to the peaceful silence of the day. We've built a most amazing country here in this beautiful little land. We are at peace as we live in this land - if not with our neighbors, at least with ourselves. Our crime rate is lower than in most lands, our health care above. Business is flowing into this land - sure times are bad in the world economically, but we are weathering the storms, day by day, somehow.

But as I stood there thinking, imaging that horrible moment and where my family would be and how I would find them if we were separated and wondering what the world would do or think...I realized once again how despite leading a normal life, there are moments that are so not-normal here. I don't believe people in America contemplate their imminent destruction on a national level; I don't believe you do in England and France, South Africa or Australia. I don't believe you do in Arab nations, or Russia or South America.

And yet, we have a madman in Iran threatening our destruction and a world that sees in all we do only evil. We have nations threatening us for all manner of things and pressure coming from the US. I'm not sure what brought on these thoughts on such a solemn day but it was suddenly there, disturbing the peace and bringing images of such sadness.

Not to leave you with such thoughts, though - I will tell you that the sun is shining here in Jerusalem; it is a beautiful day and we are approaching what I believe is my favorite holiday of all...Sukkot! More on that soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dear World

In a few short hours, we, the Jewish people, will withdraw from your presence. We’ll ask you to leave us to ourselves in peace. We have had enough of all you speak of, all you hold dear. For the next day or so, we turn ourselves inwards, to the people we are, to the God we worship.

We have done much for you this year, sacrificed too much. We have lost friends and loved ones, too young to die and we ask ourselves “Why? For what?” But now we have to make peace with the truth. We did not sacrifice these to you, nor even to the mythical god you call peace. No, we simply are living God’s plan and for some reason we cannot fully understand, it was God’s will that these people fall to the Arab knife, gun, rock, explosion, attack, terror.
This past year, we did not build in our land – that too was a sacrifice you demanded and we offered but tomorrow, we return to ourselves. The European Union wanted to come talk to us today and feels snubbed that we refused. We offered alternative days and like the petulant children they are, they refused. We will talk to you today, or not at all, they cry out in their temper tantrum.

For once, we are united. We are the adults we should be. Whatever you want, we explain to them. There really are things more important, more crucial, than a bunch of EU representatives who demand to come hours before our holiest day. For once, we are above that.
This week, Secretary of State Clinton came to our land and instructed us, yet again how we should behave before the Arab world. We were bombarded with missiles and mortars, even some containing illegal chemicals and the world and Hillary Clinton were silent about these abominations. This week, they were silent and we allowed this – this too was a sacrifice you demanded and we offered. But for once, we are united. We are the nation we were meant to be. Whatever you wanted, we explain to Hillary Clinton, but no more. There really are things more important, more crucial, than the approval of Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama.

Once before, we were attacked on this holy of holy days and so tomorrow, our soldiers, our sons will not stand down. Many will not come home. They will stand there and fast, guard our borders so that we can negotiate the most important of deals, the most precious requests we place before the Almighty.
Dear World, there is nothing you can do to us, that God cannot do worse. There is no fear greater than our not being granted His blessings for the year to come and so tomorrow, we leave you to return to Him. Our airports close in a few hours – you cannot enter our land and we will not leave. Our radios and televisions stop – it is not the time for entertainment and frivolous activities. We speak of our lives, our futures, and those of our children.

Yes, we impose a closure on the Arab population and that infuriates the so-called human rights organizations who fail to understand that we too have a closure on ourselves. There is no work in Israel tomorrow – not for the Arabs, and not for the Jews. We have more important things to do, to consider, to repair.

Dear World, for once we do not ask your understanding, we do not ask for your forgiveness. For once each year at least, we turn in the proper direction – to our holy city Jerusalem and to our God. Forgive us for our sins, we beg You. Remember our land and all You have given to us. For once, God, believe that we understand and are focused properly. They can do nothing to harm us because we give You our faith, our love, our beliefs, our future.
May we all be written in the Book of Life and inscribed for a year of peace and health and happiness and growth and may we understand that it is that blessing that will grant us a year of peace – that, and nothing else, and no one else. G’mar hatima tova.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A New Experience

In the middle of the night, a few months into his service, Elie called me to warn me that "something" had happened and he wouldn't be on the morning bus as expected. His base was "shut down" - no one authorized to leave. How close we came to war in those first hours is something we will never know, but Elie's unit was sent into the fields with their artillery weapons - there to await the possibility of a wave of planes attacking Israel from across the Syrian border.

Hours and days and months later, and perhaps even today we still do not know the full story of that night. What Israel bombed, according to the New York Times, was the beginnings of a nuclear reactor. Whatever it was or it wasn't, it was the first time Elie was told he couldn't go home without any clear deadline when he could or would. In the end, he was on base that next day, that next weekend, and a few days beyond. At the last minute, he was allowed home - for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

A few nights ago, terrorists opened fire on a car containing two women and two men. One woman had waited many years to have a child - she leaves behind a young girl, orphaned and left crying for her mother. The other woman was 9-months pregnant with her 7th child. She and her husband were both murdered, leaving six children suddenly, irrevokably alone. Another man was murdered in the same attack - newly married, he leaves a young wife, suddenly widowed.

The next night - another attack. This time, a bit of a miracle. The husband and wife survived, though the husband was moderately wounded and the wife lightly hurt.

The next night - another attack. This time, a young girl driving with her family was moderately wounded when terrorists began pelting her car with rocks. She was hit in the head; doctor's fear permanent damage from a head wound.

Shmulik's commanding officer, the officer that he is now tasked with driving and assisting, is "responsible" for the area where these attacks took place. Shmulik came home for Shabbat, but was told to keep his phone with him; that at any moment of the day or night, if there is yet another attack, he will be called and must return to the army. Pack a backpack, whatever you'll need. The return call would come with only moments to prepare.

Thankfully, the Sabbath passed quietly; as did last night. Late last night, Shmulik received a simple message. Prepare to meet at 6:00 a.m. - we'll be gone at least until the holidays. It's Sunday here in Israel, the start of the new week. Even more, in a few days it will be Rosh Hashana, a new year.

Shmulik will not be home tonight, not tomorrow, not Tuesday. I hope, as Elie was, that he will be home for the holiday so that we may begin the next year together as a family. What is new for Shmulik is the not knowing. So far, he has always known, more or less, when he will be home. For now, for once, he learns another part of being a soldier. He goes to serve Israel and will be home only when the situation allows it.

May God grant a full recovery to those who were injured in last week's attacks and may He said comfort to the families of those who were murdered. May the soldiers of Israel protect our land; and may God protect them.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Anger of an Infidel

There is an anger, so deep and vast, that it can choke you. It comes and goes without much warning, much like the terror attacks that cause its rebirth. It is a feeling of confusion, of wonder. How, you want to cry out. How can you be so stupid? How can you be so blind? How could you think this was anything but inevitable? Why? Why didn't you think? Why didn't you do something to stop it? Worse, why did you do something to cause it to happen now?

You can’t say you didn’t know. It’s happened so often, each time, really. The inevitable outcome of all attempted "peace" negotiations is death. Harsh though that sounds, that is reality. If you offer a hand to the Palestinians, there will be much conversation and discussion among the Arabs. Stupidly, the world, the western world, the United States, the State Department, even our out stupid, stupid leaders, will think the Arabs are discussing our latest offerings and the talks that will take place.

They will dream of peace and international fame for each of them. They will imagine the spotlights shining as the world deems them the ultimate peacemakers. They will dream of Nobel Prizes and going down in the history books. It’s true. The Arabs are discussing something, but the world is too stupid, too blind, too naïve and too ignorant to understand or accept that what the Arabs ARE discussing, what they are planning – is how to cut off that hand that the world demands we reach out.

That hand offered in peace is an abomination to their culture. It is the hand of an infidel, they will whisper among themselves. Easily ignored, even laughed at. How stupid these infidels are, let us offer them the peace of Mohammed. We can agree to anything. There is no dishonor in betraying a hand offered to an infidel, an agreement made with these non-Muslim leaders.

Perhaps even stronger, the greater the lie, the more impressive, the more powerful, the more manly, is the Arab leader that pulled off the ruse. That conned the infidel into making the deal. How much sweeter the deal, how much weaker the opponent, when you can get them to offer something for nothing but words. Stupid infidels.

There is an anger that burns inside me that so many of my own people refuse to understand this; that many say we settlers are the cause. The Arabs have murdered a pregnant woman. Shot her as she drove with her husband, and then again in the head to crown their victory. The agony incapacitates; the pain overwhelms and so the world rationalizes. Wait, it’s bad, but wait, she lived where? She makes her home over there? Ah, six children she had…she must have been one of those. Religious. Right-wing. Settler. Labels meant to separate when the only really important label here is the one the Arabs have given us. She was murdered because she was an infidel, like you, like me. Like so many of us.

We settlers can ask a simple question, a most logical one - if it is the SETTLERS that stopped peace from happening, why was there no peace in 1966 before there were any settlers or settlements? Why did we not all bask in the sunshine of peace and humanity in 1949 when the Arabs had more land than they are supposedly willing to settle for now? The answer, of course, is so obvious. We are all settlers – each and every one of us Israelis. We settled Tel Aviv as much as we settled Har Bracha and Beit Haggai. This week, it was two parents from Beit Haggai; next week, it could as easily be parents from Netanya. Why can’t you understand that in this battle, we are all settlers, all infidels?

Why, oh why, do you believe that the Arabs will not return, again and again, to the gun, to the bomb, to the rock, to whatever they can use to destroy in anger, the infidel among them. The reality is so simple. We Israelis dared to claim our homeland, which rests deep in the midst of their world. We dare to breathe the air Allah meant for them, to drink the water Allah intended they have alone. We are unworthy. But the stupidest, saddest, most infuriating question of all is why, oh why do you think that I am the infidel alone and you are not?

This week was a terrible one for Israel. No, wait. There are two Israels. One born of a drive to settle our land, to love it, to plant in its soil and one born of a need to smile before the world and assimilate into it. It is a drive to be like you out there, to pierce our bodies wherever you do, to dress as you do, to be all that you are, lest you think we are different.

To the Moslems, we are infidels; to much of the rest of the world, we are idiots. We were idiots this week and we have paid a horrible price for our stupidity. Three families lay in pain and ruin; seven more orphans added to our nation. An unborn child lost to us in the womb of his murdered mother. A beloved teacher gone. Seven orphans.

A couple graced with life, marvel the miracle that allowed them to escape death when 10 bullets riddled their car. A family ponders the life of a young girl, now wounded in moderate condition with doctors warning there may be permanent damage. There, in the blink of an eye - five families' lives are forever changed.

All while far away, our leader dances before the world. You are my peace partner, he lies to Mahmoud Abbas. While we are burying our dead and caring for our wounded, the stabbing pain turns to boiling anger. And the circles that are a never-ending part of life here in Israel continue to surround me.

My oldest daughter knows the wounded couple. The daughter of the murdered couple works here in our city and neighborhood with some of our young children as part of her national service. And Shmulik is now the driver of an officer whose job it is to run to each of the scenes of these terrorist attacks.

Shmulik will be home for Shabbat - but only very close to when it comes in. He will be on "konenut" - on alert this weekend. If something happens, his commanding officer will be called and he in turn will call Shmulik. It will be a tense weekend. If Shmulik goes, I will know only that there has been an attack. That it is likely that somewhere in my area, someone has been hurt...or worse.

There is an anger at the stupidity of our leaders, of the nations of the world that allow this and amazingly enough, blame us. It is not that we are settlers - it never was. It is, if we are to be brutally honest, not even that we are Israelis. The bitterest pill to swallow, the reason why it is accepted with a sad nod that a pregnant woman and her husband, a teacher, and a newly-married young man, can be shot in the head and leave her children orphaned, is that we are Jews.

It isn't politically correct in this advanced year of 2010, in the early part of the 21st century. Anti-semitism is from the dark ages of World War II. We are so much more advanced, so much more civilized. We, the world tells us, are no longer anti-semites, not that we admit to ever being. No, we are anti-Israel and that is politically accepted, even praised.

But what of those Jewish mothers that we buried this week? Ah, it presents a problem to the world unless we can excuse it. Wait, they were settlers, weren't they? They chose to live on that other side of a line drawn in the land. Extremists, explains US Department of State Crowley, extremists on both sides are trying to stop the peace process.

So the anger returns.

Dear Mr. Crowley, what exactly did the Israeli side do to torpedo your peace talks in Washington? We sent you our idiot leader to stand there and say that he has a peace partner, and we buried our dead.

And after doing all this, the pain and anger rise to choke us because we watch as the world moves on to other things, while seven orphans never will. And somewhere, deep in the midst of this anger is the amazing bewilderment. Perhaps, after all is said and done, we really are as stupid as the Arabs believe us to be, we infidels of Islam.

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