In these days of tension here in Israel I feel the need to share some of my thoughts with you, my friends in Colorado.
I’ll open by saying that we’ve seen worse than this. It might be an awful thing to say since people are losing their life here by terror, but in Israel, more than in other countries, coping with the situation often involves putting the events in perspective to the past.
Knowing that the Israeli public have seen worse than this helps me to move on with my daily routine, fighting the temporary need to stay indoors.
The Israeli radio is full these days with experts in the fields of terror, psychology and the Palestinian people. They talk a lot and I often listen to their mumbling. One of the questions they are dealing with is “what motivates these terrorists? Some of them are just teenagers”. Some Israelis are opposing the simple action of asking this question. “Why should we look into their reasons”, some say, “to stop and try to understand what motivates them is sometimes almost like assisting them. Their reasons are irrelevant, they just want to kill Jews”. Bret Stephens from The Wall Street Journal wrote a bit about it last week, you should check it out.
Since curiosity is in my nature, I do find myself thinking about the things that motivates someone like Isra Abed to grab a big knife on October 10th and walk into the central bus station in the city of Afula. 30 years old, Abed is a mother to one child and holds a bachelor degree in science from the Technion (the Israeli MIT). She is an Israeli citizen, Israeli Arab, who enjoys the same benefits and rights I have as an Israeli citizen. I wish I could ask her “what made you decide to toss all of this away and chose the path of murder?”.
Stress mixed with humor. A friend of our family, Eyal, was very stressed last week knowing that his daughter’s preschool is operating next to a construction site full with Arab workers (somewhere in the center of Israel). Knowing that the preschool is protected only by one security guard, Eyal decided to take the matter into his own hands. He spent three days sitting in his car, in front of the preschool, with a baseball bat on his lap, ready to confront any of these Arab workers that will might decide to attack the preschool. On the third day, as he was checking his phone, a man approached him and knocked on his window. “Yes, what do you want?”, Eyal asked. “Shalom, my name is Achmad”, the man replied, “I’m one of the managers here in the construction site. I noticed that for the last three days you are sitting here in your car, watching us, probably afraid of us and I thought it would be a nice idea to offer you a cup of coffee”. And so, he handed him a cup of coffee which he greatly enjoyed.
Troubling days but we are moving on, cause we’re here to stay.
I’m afraid we are still many steps away from living peacefully with each other, but I’m not going to stop trying.