Israel Stories

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

With Perfect Faith

With unquestioning belief and with perfect faith Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Al Qaida’s brave warriors (even the children, pregnant women and kids with Downs Syndrome) rush to strap explosives to themselves in order to indiscriminately murder Jews, Christians and Muslims anywhere and at anytime.

What it is to have perfect faith, something we can only aspire to. Of course it is not without its extreme hypocrisy but when you’re the ‘down trodden wretches of the Earth’, you can get away with it.

Live by the sword, even if you firmly believe it will never happen to you and if it does there is such a fantastic reward that you almost hope it will. Confused?
Even if you live a relatively normal middle class existence it is still the principle that drives you to murder and once you’ve dehumanized your victims it is no longer relevant who they are or who you are. You are on a mission to kill and as they say in Israel, ze’ooh!

A few weeks ago I was waiting by the side of the road to cross with my kids. We saw cars speeding by drivers with no belts on and kids in the front and back with no belts on. Now we cant police the world and its very sad to see that these parents don’t love their kids as much as maybe they should and also are not really aware of the serious consequences of their actions. A bit like Golda Meir’s famous quote about peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us. Well drivers are the same, maybe they will strap their kids in and also have less disdain for everybody else on the road.

My kids, ever astute, commented on the way these drivers and their passengers young and old were not wearing belts. I told them they were lucky that their Imma and Abba always made sure everybody was strapped in and never took risks.

These drivers, I explained never think anything will happen to them. They have faith that they will be OK and they seem to ignore or more than likely not care about their fellow citizens.

Selfish, suicidal and stupid, you might get there quicker but it may be in the back of an ambulance.

So we are about to cross the road and a car very kindly stops for us. We begin to cross, cautiously, always aware of our surroundings. Meanwhile my kids were commenting on how nice it was that the lady stopped for us.

As we were exactly in the middle of the crossing a taxi came roaring up the hill, on a mission. Now taxi drivers are the most notorious of all of Israeli drivers and the simple fact that a car is blocking their way doesn’t really seem relevant.
My kids have a favorite song called bear hunt. ‘Going on a bear hunt, gonna catch a big one, uh,oh, mud. Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, gotta go through it’.
And so it was with the taxi. Cant go under the car in front, cant go over the car in front, what other alternative does he have, to stop? No, of course not. Gotta go through it. And he did.

Smashing into the back of the nice lady that stopped for us, the taxi driver and his unbelted passenger both had a bugs eye view of the road hitting the windscreen, the lady jerked forward from the force of the collision, severely whip lashed, and in a reflex reaction, belying my age and build, that would have looked great in slow motion, I grabbed my kids and pulled them away and pushed them, almost throwing them on to the pavement.

I used to be laid back about the driving here. Be always mindful of your surroundings, or some other Star Wars quote, used to be me my mantra. Its not you it’s everyone else on the road.

But when more people in this country have died by the hands of their fellow citizens or themselves on the road than by the hands of their enemies it makes you think, who are we really fighting?

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Dripping Tap 2

Drip, drip drip. Mental note, get the plumber in as fast as possible before I go completely mad. Drip, drip, drip. Actually this tap has some rhythm. Drip, drip drip. How can my wife sleep through this noise. Drip, drip, drip. This is real oriental torture. Drip, drip, drip. Mental note, due to lack of sleep everybody in the house should keep at least 2 kilometers away from me, call it a security buffer zone. Drip, drip, drip. Mind you I have not spent months on end in a public bomb shelter, can you imagine? Drip, drip, drip. Suddenly the drip doesn’t seem so bad. Drip, drip, drip. At least we’re central and safe.

The next morning I leapt out of bed, ran outside and breathed in the pure Modi’in air. What a wonderful morning I thought; the birds singing in the trees, children playing in the streets, the scent of flowers and pine calming and relaxing my senses. OK, so it wasn’t quite like that. The next morning I dragged myself out of bed, crawled into the bathroom, swore at the leaking tap, grumbled at the wife and was quite inexcusably rude to the neighbor who phoned to borrow some milk.

I nearly fell down the stairs, turned on the TV to watch the latest news; Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, budget, schools, teachers. I boiled the kettle and manhandled the phone book trying to focus on the plumber’s number. Even dialing his number was a challenge. “Is that Yossi? Get here as soon as you can. Got a leaking tap, driving me insane. No I’m not up in Gaza it’s the TV. And you, bye.”

The kids crept silently into the salon, the news disappeared and the cartoons took over. I decided to ignore it. Fell up the stairs to my office, sat at the computer and read all the news feeds.

As I read the feeds and saw the videos of our incredible country being torn apart and then a rush of anger overtook all my senses. I don’t think it was sleep deprivation and I am sure it was just raw emotion that caused me to cry a little.

So many questions unanswered about the Palestinians, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, the international community and the blatant anti-Israel anti-Semitic reporting. Nothing new there. But, I asked myself, why are we not immune to all of this. For thousands of years we have suffered under just about every government in every country. You’d think we would have evolved such thick skin and be so tough as to able to ignore it all

But no. Every time the BBC refers to Hezbollah or Hamas as militants, my blood boils. Every time they call Israel’s response disproportionate I end up shouting at the TV, and every time they ignore Iran’s call for Israel to be wiped off the Earth, I stand there incredulous, waiting for someone to condemn them.

And just like a dripping tap, you never, ever, get used to it.