Comments on Comments

This is not the post I plan to write, thanking those of you who are praying for Elie and taking so much time to write to me and give me support. The mothers of American soldiers in Iraq whose sons are there are writing to me and I am humbled. My son is at war now for a week, yours have been there for months. I complain because I haven’t talked to him for a few days, how often do you get to hear your son’s voice? The former soldiers (is there such a thing?) from the American army and from the Israeli army, you are proof that soldiers go to war…and come home…and you write to tell me to trust in Elie’s training, to believe, and have faith.

No, I can’t write to thank you now because I have to wait till this is over and Elie is home safe. If I start to tell you what your words mean to me, I’ll crumble. So, this is a comment on the comments that I receive that I don’t publish. Many are hateful and filled with lies. The evidence is there – in black and white video showing them firing from the school. The formal complaint filed by the United Nations several months ago is a fact and can be checked.

What is interesting is how many people don’t bother writing their names – Anonymous makes things so easy to say hurtful things and watch from the sidelines hoping your little bomb of hatred finds its target.

Anonymous wrote: There were no mortars fired from the school. The UN and other independent organizations all agree on this. Please stop spreading lies just to ease your conscience.

Any sentence that begins with “The UN and other independent organizations all agree” has to be given the value it deserves – none. The United Nations is anything but independent. Where was the United Nations for the last 8 years when rockets were falling? Where has the United Nations been while Hamas, the supposedly legitimate, duly-elected government of the Palestinians refuses to allow any access to our prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, for almost three years now? And where was the United Nations when Palestinians fired mortars from that school. As for easing my conscience, if I don’t sleep at night, it is because I am worried about my son, all my sons, and now my nephew too. They are down there, along with one million Israelis, and unlike our army, the Palestinians make no effort to avoid civilian targets – quite the opposite. No leaflets warning Sderot are released; no statement at all.

Anonymous (or another) was at it again, this time getting personal. This is very common and my greatest consolation is that when I read these to Elie, he’s going to laugh. For that alone, I thank the creative writers who think they can solve the Middle East conflict by insulting my son.

Anonymous wrote: Your son is a faggot a** ***** a** f*****g murderer, f******g greedy a** jew

Anonymous (same or another) wrote: Shut up jew

Well…hmmm…..sorry for all the “asterisks” but, I, at least, am trying not to be offensive. Let’s see. No, my son is not a murderer. As time goes by and his artillery unit continues to fire on command (and no, I am not shifting this to those who give the command. If Elie were ordered to fire on a crowd of civilians, he would refuse, but then again, he’d never be given that order in the first place), the chance that Elie’s shells have not killed anyone gets smaller and smaller. This is war and the enemy is firing at us. That the enemy “only” has weapons that by and large miss…isn’t true. They have other, more advanced weapons they have yet to use, as they themselves have warned us many times. Missiles that can hit Tel Aviv, a huge metropolis where hundreds of thousands of people live.

For now, their main goal is to terrorize, to interrupt life here and yes, if they can kill a few people, all the better. In Israel, it is often said, to be a realist, you must believe in miracles. Yesterday, a rocket fired from Lebanon landed on the roof of an old age home. Three people were lightly wounded. A few weeks ago, a young Israeli girl in the south woke up and found a hole in her bedroom ceiling, and a rocket on her floor. These are the miracles God grants to Israel almost daily.

My son is not greedy – sure, he might have hogged his toys when he was a child, but he’s really gotten so much better. He lets his younger brother play with his PSP when he comes home and he is often the first to get up and help me around the house. Rather than greedy, I’d like to say he is careful with his things. Can we agree on this?

And, the clincher, you called my son a “jew” – though as a writer, I have to tell you that you are supposed to capitalize proper nouns and so you should have called him a Jew. Yes, guilty as charged and very proud of it. And, therein lies much of the truth of this war and the hatred I see in some of the comments. My son is a Jew, and even worse, by the standards Anonymous lives by, my son is a proud and strong Jew. Three times a day, he thanks God for all of life’s wonders and asks for blessings for himself, his family, his friends and his country.

The rest of the day, while following laws we received thousands of years ago, including the one that says, “Thou shalt not murder,” he defends his land. The commandment does not say, “Thou shalt not kill.” Killing is bad and tragic, but sometimes it is commanded. We are commanded to kill those who seek to kill us, and we were commanded to kill Amalek, a bitter enemy who attacked the weak and the young amongst our people as we were taken out of Egypt. As a nation, we failed. We didn’t kill Amalek because we showed compassion, and our punishment through the centuries has been that God has presented Amalek to us again and again. Hitler was a modern-day Amalek; and in many ways, so was Yasir Arafat. Today’s Amaleks fire into our cities and try to blow themselves up in our cafes and buses and malls.

Sometimes, Anonymous (the same or another) attacked me and not my son. I’d like to tell you know that I prefer this. Oh, no, I mean, I don’t like it, but at least be man (or woman) enough to know that these words are mine. So I’ll respond to the same or another anonymous who told me to shut up. (Shut up, jew). That, I cannot do, nor will I. As for being a “jew” – again, with great pride, I agree.

Anonymous wrote: F*** off hook nosed *****

Look, we all are what we are and this one hurts. My nose is not hook-nosed. It could be smaller, but I can’t change what I was born with and I sort of need my nose. If it is any consolation, with a bit of makeup, especially if I put on eye makeup, my nose seems more proportional to my face and really, what does that have to do with my being a soldier’s mother?

There were two other kinds of posts. There are those who question what Israel has done and try to reason with me, as a mother. They assume the media is correct and question Israel’s actions. Some comments are so incredibly wrong that with even a bit of reason, you can see they are nonsense. Here are a few:

Actually, Israel knew there were civilians in the building because the UN gave them the coordinates so Israel would not attack it.

Israel has some of the most sophisticated equipment in the world. Why would we need the UN to give us coordinates … and since we complained about the school being used as a launching ground in the past, why would we now need the UN to tell us it was there?

The area that your army is attacking is a civilian area. There are no bases in Gaza. Palestinian defenders are abviously not going to stand in the open and allow your airforce to bomb them.

No, our army has attacked numerous military targets – training bases, operational headquarters and dozens and dozens of arsenals. Even at the school, there were secondary explosions — there, where the UN agreed to give sanctuary to hundreds of people — proving, again, that Hamas was storing arms in that school.

There is an incredible amount of information the UN seems not to know, all of a sudden. It didn’t know about the explosives inside its own building? It didn’t know about the mortars being launched from the front yard? Sorry, but this bends credibility to the point that it breaks.

There most definitely are military bases in Gaza – Hamas bases and those of several other Palestinian terrorist groups. There are also vast open areas of territory where these bases could have and should have been located.

Palestinians love to say they are the most densely, packed in population in the world – another lie. There vast areas of open land that could be used for training and storing weapons. I know because I have been in Gaza, I have taken pictures.

But the last sentence was perhaps the most interesting, “Palestinian defenders are abviously [sic] not going to stand in the open” because it made me think of my son. My son is out in the open. There are no buildings where he is; he showers, when he can, with water brought to them in a truck. They are open, exposed, to rockets that are fired no less so than the Palestinian gunmen and yet my son’s unit is positioned away from major population centers lest they draw fire and innocents get injured.

Then, there were those who tried to be neutral … well, not exactly, like this one:

I hope we get rid of you both Israel and Palestine.

Believe me, friends – you can’t make this stuff up.

Oh, and this one –

If the state of israel did not exist, nothing would have ever happened there in the 1st place (no mass destruction, deaths, tight security, ……..)! Stupid Belfore pact!

Beyond the mistakes (Israel with a capital “I” and Balfour Declaration, not Belfore pact), it seems that, once again, Israel is to blame for it all. No mass destruction (what mass destruction?), deaths…oh, and tight security. There you go, those of you who live in America. Next time you go through tight security at an airport, you are apparently supposed to blame us, not the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center, attacked the Pentagon, the London subways, the Madrid trains, the Mumbai hotels, the Bali resort, American embassies in Kenya and Sudan, the U.S.S. Cole (and I’m running out of space or I would continue).

And finally, as this post is getting rather long and I still have so much to do today…there was one more that, all kidding aside, no mother should have to read. It is a message of such intense hatred; and, yet, it is important because it is a reflection of all that we fight against. This one, however, did not hide behind “Anonymous.” With pride, I’m sure, he put his name on his obscene message – Musa Islam Abu Ayyoub.

I hope your worthless, bastard, whore of a son gets shot in the f****** face. I hope he dies slowly. I hope that you cry for him to live but he dies in front of your eyes like the coward that he is. I hope you cry for him, I hope the taste of his death sits on your tongue for the rest of your life. You horrible, horrible person. I wish nothing but pain and misery on you, your worthless country and your worthless family.

There are so many comments I could make on this, but I won’t. I could tell you that this is my greatest nightmare. I can’t think of anything worse in life than what Musa describes. And, unlike Musa, I would not wish this even on my worst enemy. No, I won’t defend myself, my son, my family, or my country to you. It would be a waste of time (mine, yours, and his).

Musa felt it was his right to have his comment known, associated proudly with his name. For those not familiar with the way in which Arab culture uses names, when God blesses a man with a child (I believe only the first son, actually, not a daughter), the man is forever changed and becomes known by the name “Abu…” or “Father of ” and then the son’s name. So Musa is very proud to tell us that he is the father of Ayyoub.

And the saddest message I can give you today, is that I have no doubt that Musa is raising Ayyoub to be just like him.

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