Over the last two decades that I have lived in Israel, I have often felt that I was waiting for something, somewhere to explode. It's funny how now that so much of the rest of the world is waiting, Israel is quieter and calmer than it has been in a very long time.
Why? Ah...fools would suggest it is because of some imagined peace option but honestly, I just think the Arabs are so busy killing themselves and finally realizing that they suffer more than we do from their governments that they are, probably only temporarily, leaving us alone.
Mainly, I think they realize that no matter how much they kill themselves in their ongoing attempts to kill us, they won't succeed in defeating the essence of what we have built in this land. The opposite occurs. The more they attack, the more our left wing element realizes the futility of trying to buy peace.
But anyway - I want to write about outside Israel now, not inside. Or, perhaps offer a lesson from what I have learned here. Innumerable times, I have found myself stuck in horrible, bumper-to-bumper, three (or two or four or one) lane traffic that is SLOWLY crawling towards some sudden check point that wasn't there yesterday, won't be here tomorrow, and why...today of all days...does it have to be here today?
I have missed a friend's daughter's bat mitzvah, I have been late to meetings, I lost out on a girls-night-out with my daughters and daughters-in-law (not really, we went to dinner and then a play, and then the amazing Raise Your Spirits theater group gave us free tickets to their next amazing performance for free!). My point was that with no warning, hours of my life was spent somewhere on a road waiting to hear that something had exploded.
This past few days has been a frustration for many Americans. Some have said Obama showed weakness for shutting over 20 embassies in the Middle East, first for one day and then for a week. I'm not one to defend Obama - I believe the US has never had a weaker President (with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter) - at least not in the last 3 or 4 decades.
Beyond whether he was justified and whether cowering accomplishes anything, there is a greater issue here. In Israel, we have come to accept, and to trust, that when we are sitting in a security-induced traffic jam - there is a reason. We believe, we trust, that intelligence knows...and so we go about our lives as best we can - on the one hand, waiting for that explosion, and on the other hand, grateful that we aren't hearing it.
America - I'm sorry you can't trust your leader enough to believe that the security threat was real. Maybe it was; maybe it wasn't. It seems, though, that Obama is in a no-win situation (which I find kind of ironic). Either people don't trust him - or something has to explode.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have to remember that in the best of situations - nothing will happen, nothing will explode.
In Israel, days after we have this maddening delay, we'll hear that a terror cell was apprehended; that a specific make and model van had been the target of the manhunt and was found.
If you ever get annoyed at the delays, remember this world we live in...there are people out there willing to crash planes into buildings holding as many as 50,000 people. They will dance and celebrate if they succeed and so we have to accept it is better for us to be two hours late than see pictures of blood and death.
Maybe Obama's administration over-reacted. Maybe there really wasn't a threat...and maybe there was. Are you willing to risk the lives of innocent people for a maybe?
I cannot count how many times I have waited for an explosion. And ironically, the explosions I have heard came without warning, when I wasn't waiting at all, when I least expected it.
But that is human nature and I'd rather be waiting to hear one...than hear one. I'd rather sit in traffic and let our soldiers and police hunt, than watch funerals and weeping relatives supporting each other in their loss.
I offer my love and my support to America - we are with you in this battle against terrorism, against those who think it is acceptable to set of bombs in crowds. We have fought this enemy for decades. Don't be frustrated that something didn't explode. Celebrate the freedom that they target; celebrate that you are a culture willing to close down embassies and appear weak...because it means you value life above pride.
Connect those dots so that instead of feeling frustrated...you feel joy. May God bless the United States of America.