The Shabbat came, as it often does, in a mixture of cooking, cleaning, showering and preparing. It was a nice quiet “family” affair. Lauren and Elie were here, but Shmulik and Amira were not. For the first time in ages, the table was left small – only six places. It was quiet, it was nice.
A bit after 1:30 we finished lunch and cleaned up; a short time later, we all went for our afternoon naps. Many in Israel still consider the 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. “siesta” a quiet time. It is a custom my family never really adopted when we moved to Israel, but one that someday, somehow, I hope to keep. I love the idea of a nap. Maybe I’m getting old. Or, maybe I just work too hard.
The one time a week we get that nap – is on Shabbat. My afternoon horizontal is almost a critical element in my ability to sleep 3-4 hours a night most other days. Yes, I should sleep more…that too in on the “someday” plan.
I don’t know what time I finally finished and went off to rest; I do remember hearing a siren. An ambulance siren. Only one, not prolonged, it faded from my memory.
Until after the Sabbath ended and I saw the news. At 1:50, an Arab approached the entrance to Maale Adumim, mumbled some words in Arabic, took out a knife, and attacked the security guard at the entrance to the city. He wounded the guard lightly in the neck before running off to Azaria, the Arab neighborhood less than a kilometer away.
I have been to Azaria – to buy a kitchen cabinet for Shmulik’s apartment; to look at some other things. My husband sometimes goes there, though I ask him not to. This time, Azaria came to us.
The guard was taken to the hospital and should be fine. He works for a security company – not the one that Elie and Shmulik do. They guard one of three sites inside Maale Adumim, not the city entrances. There was a time I was traumatized by the should of sirens. I would listen or try to see how many there were. One was a car accident, I would tell myself, or hopefully a woman giving birth. Two was a bad accident. Three was always a terror attack.
I have learned to relax with the sirens – it has taken me years. I am so much calmer than I used to be – mostly because buses aren’t really exploding every day here as they were a few years back. Last year there was an attack near a bus and a tourist was killed; but mostly today’s terrorist attacks are less organized – more a momentary thought by an Arab who decides to follow through.
The tractor driver who decided to smash his tractor into a bus…actually, I think there were three or four of these attacks; the driver who smashed his BMW into Elie’s unit, numerous rock attacks and more. These are all symptoms of an Arab deciding today was a good day to attack, a good day to kill, and often, a good day to die.
The Arab that attacked Elie’s unit was angry because his family refused to allow him to marry his cousin. I don’t know what the motive for today’s attack was. I know only that I don’t want to return to the days where I listen to sirens and wonder what has exploded and where. I like this small slice of normal. I like drifting off to sleep thinking, hoping that the siren I hear is only a woman in labor.
Tonight, Elie is on call for the ambulance squad. If they need him, he will go. He has never been to the site of a terrorist attack…I can only continue to pray that he never will be. Shmulik has been to the site, but only hours later, after the bodies of the innocent were removed, and I believe he was kept far enough back, as the driver of the senior army official onsite, so as not to have seen too much. I might be wrong; I hope I am. I can only pray that he too, and all my children, will never know of such agonies.
Today was a small taste of the ironies. You think it is the peaceful Shabbat – and not so far away, a man is attacked. For what reason? Other than hatred, if the Arab is caught, we will likely hear of some twisted family logic that led him to this spot to prove God only knows what.
This time, happily, the guard was only lightly injured. That’s how we live sometimes – focusing on the “this time” and hoping the next time won’t come. Instead, we wish each other a Shavua tov – a good week…
This week, Elie flies with Lauren to the United States – his first time since he was a small boy. Lauren wants to show him so much of a land that will be so foreign to him. The language, he will understand. The rest will be interesting to hear about.