My daughter called me a few hours ago to make sure that I was okay, that I had somehow managed not to be at a train station that I never go to, at what would have been the wrong time of day, going in the wrong direction.
What she was really trying to do, what she needed to tell me, was that her friend had gotten a phone call from another friend who had witnessed the whole thing. The 15-year-old girl was right there, saw Ibrahim al-Akari ram his vehicle into three people and then drive off.
My daughter started to cry on the phone, “It’s not fair, another time again.” The sound of her voice, the tears I could hear but could not wipe away, reminded me of the time her older sister watched her first terror attack unfold before her (on the television). As she (my older daughter) spoke, I sat nearby looking at her, blind typing her words and turned it into an article, Her First Moments.
There was little I could say to my younger daughter as she described what had been described to her, little real comfort I could offer. “I’m shaking,” she told me. So am I, I thought to myself. So am I. So many emotions on this day – sadness that more families are suffering; another funeral soon. Anger that news sites can talk about an “alleged” terror attack.
What is alleged in this? I’ve had the sad misfortune to have a child run into my car; and years ago, I saw a woman hit by a taxi. I slammed on my brakes, pushed the car into park, and jumped out to run to the child, who thankfully wasn’t hurt badly and hopefully learned the lesson that he had to look before running into the street. And in that other instance, the taxi slammed on the brakes and the driver ran out to see himself what had happened.
The video is on YouTube – the driver drove OFF the street, onto the train tracks, plowed over several people. This was not an accident – even Hamas recognizes it and congratulates the dead terrorist for his fine day’s work. What is alleged about this? There is also the sense of inevitability. A few short years after I had moved to Israel, I watched then mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert with his back to a particularly bad bus bombing, explaining the inevitability of another happening soon.
It was the second intifada…something was exploding somewhere almost daily and certainly weekly. I was so angry at him, “Lie!” I remember saying out loud to the television, “Lie. At least till we bury them, just lie! Tell us you will protect us. Tell us this will stop! Lie if you have to!”
Twenty years later, I don’t need the lies, except perhaps, for my daughter and yet I couldn’t bring myself to say them. For the first time in my life, and only in the context of that one broadcast, maybe I owe Olmert an apology. We can’t lie and yes, another attack is inevitable. What Israelis have to accept is that the Third Intifada is here.
The Arabs have threatened it for so long, now it is time for us to acknowledge it, call it what it is, and deal with it on every level – from security to the trauma it is causing.