I’ve always loved the word “juxtapositions.” It sounds so fancy, when it means something so simple. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, juxtaposition means “the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side.” In simpler terms, it means looking at two things and noting the relationship. And often, it means wondering how it is possible that no one else does. The irony, I have said often, is killing us.
So here is another example of perfect juxtapositioning (though it isn’t really used as a verb, but here I use poetic license). Yesterday, three things happened in my world. The first was a personal one and important to our family. A little while ago, our son-in-law went into the army and yesterday was his Swearing-in Ceremony marking the completion of his basic training. As I saw with Yaakov, Shmulik, and Chaim, our son-in-law received a rifle and a Bible – symbolic of the service he is about to perform, and the reason why he will do it.
On a side note, I missed Elie’s ceremony because parents weren’t invited. It was one of those tension-filled times so they took the boys up to a mountain in the Negev Desert, walked them to the top at sunrise, and had them form a circle. There, for them, for each other, they formally welcomed them into the brotherhood and responsibilities of the army. I wish I could have been there, but had I been, it would not have been the experience it was. It must have been amazing, dawn breaking, a view of our land from the top of the mountain, all the soldiers, only the soldiers.
Well, back to yesterday – yesterday it was Haim’s turn and my daughter and I drove up to Haifa to be there. It was long, it was tiring, it was wonderful. Many in Haim’s group have young children already. The young mothers watched as their husbands joined in the ceremony; the children waved to their fathers. There aren’t boys who entered the armies, but grown men with wives and children. And yet the ceremony and the dedication are the same.
The second “thing” that happened yesterday was that a young Palestinian child named Wallah Omar came to Israel. She is a little girl, only two years old. She entered Israel to go to Rambam Hospital, also in Haifa, for a life-saving operation. Yesterday, doctors removed a brain tumor from Wallah’s head and the family hopes to take her home soon. In Gaza, a place that spends millions of dollars on rockets and mortars to fire at Israel, Wallah would have died. So quietly, she was brought to Israel, where Israeli doctors operated on her and saved her life.
And the third “thing” that happened yesterday, far from Haim’s ceremony in Haifa and Wallah’s operation, was that two massive rockets slammed into the city of Beersheva in southern Israel. Beersheva is a modern city. It isn’t reminiscent of the ancient Biblical spot where it is referenced in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Isn’t it ironic that it was in the area of Beersheva that Hagar found refuge with Ishmael, and today, the Arabs bomb it?
As for the modern city, it lies a bit to the south and west of where the ancient referenced site was. Modern Beersheva is home to almost 200,000 people. That’s how many people were attacked yesterday; that is how many knew, in seconds, that a rocket was going to come crashing down.
It is these juxtapositions that amaze me. On the same day a Palestinian child’s life was saved by Israeli doctors, thousands of Israeli children were endangered by the Palestinian concept that it is acceptable to fire a rocket into a civilian city.
It is the juxtapositioning of these moments that amazes me, that shocks me, that angers me. We keep our hospitals open and treat their sick. It is our way and I accept that. But sometimes, sometimes it just makes you feel overwhelmingly stupid.