There is an anger, so deep and vast, that it can choke you. It comes and goes without much warning, much like the terror attacks that cause its rebirth. It is a feeling of confusion, of wonder. How, you want to cry out. How can you be so stupid? How can you be so blind? How could you think this was anything but inevitable? Why? Why didn’t you think? Why didn’t you do something to stop it? Worse, why did you do something to cause it to happen now?
You can’t say you didn’t know. It’s happened so often, each time, really. The inevitable outcome of all attempted “peace” negotiations is death. Harsh though that sounds, that is reality. If you offer a hand to the Palestinians, there will be much conversation and discussion among the Arabs. Stupidly, the world, the western world, the United States, the State Department, even our out stupid, stupid leaders, will think the Arabs are discussing our latest offerings and the talks that will take place.
They will dream of peace and international fame for each of them. They will imagine the spotlights shining as the world deems them the ultimate peacemakers. They will dream of Nobel Prizes and going down in the history books. It’s true. The Arabs are discussing something, but the world is too stupid, too blind, too naïve and too ignorant to understand or accept that what the Arabs ARE discussing, what they are planning – is how to cut off that hand that the world demands we reach out.
That hand offered in peace is an abomination to their culture. It is the hand of an infidel, they will whisper among themselves. Easily ignored, even laughed at. How stupid these infidels are, let us offer them the peace of Mohammed. We can agree to anything. There is no dishonor in betraying a hand offered to an infidel, an agreement made with these non-Muslim leaders.
Perhaps even stronger, the greater the lie, the more impressive, the more powerful, the more manly, is the Arab leader that pulled off the ruse. That conned the infidel into making the deal. How much sweeter the deal, how much weaker the opponent, when you can get them to offer something for nothing but words. Stupid infidels.
There is an anger that burns inside me that so many of my own people refuse to understand this; that many say we settlers are the cause. The Arabs have murdered a pregnant woman. Shot her as she drove with her husband, and then again in the head to crown their victory. The agony incapacitates; the pain overwhelms and so the world rationalizes. Wait, it’s bad, but wait, she lived where? She makes her home over there? Ah, six children she had…she must have been one of those. Religious. Right-wing. Settler. Labels meant to separate when the only really important label here is the one the Arabs have given us. She was murdered because she was an infidel, like you, like me. Like so many of us.
We settlers can ask a simple question, a most logical one – if it is the SETTLERS that stopped peace from happening, why was there no peace in 1966 before there were any settlers or settlements? Why did we not all bask in the sunshine of peace and humanity in 1949 when the Arabs had more land than they are supposedly willing to settle for now? The answer, of course, is so obvious. We are all settlers – each and every one of us Israelis. We settled Tel Aviv as much as we settled Har Bracha and Beit Haggai. This week, it was two parents from Beit Haggai; next week, it could as easily be parents from Netanya. Why can’t you understand that in this battle, we are all settlers, all infidels?
Why, oh why, do you believe that the Arabs will not return, again and again, to the gun, to the bomb, to the rock, to whatever they can use to destroy in anger, the infidel among them. The reality is so simple. We Israelis dared to claim our homeland, which rests deep in the midst of their world. We dare to breathe the air Allah meant for them, to drink the water Allah intended they have alone. We are unworthy. But the stupidest, saddest, most infuriating question of all is why, oh why do you think that I am the infidel alone and you are not?
This week was a terrible one for Israel. No, wait. There are two Israels. One born of a drive to settle our land, to love it, to plant in its soil and one born of a need to smile before the world and assimilate into it. It is a drive to be like you out there, to pierce our bodies wherever you do, to dress as you do, to be all that you are, lest you think we are different.
To the Moslems, we are infidels; to much of the rest of the world, we are idiots. We were idiots this week and we have paid a horrible price for our stupidity. Three families lay in pain and ruin; seven more orphans added to our nation. An unborn child lost to us in the womb of his murdered mother. A beloved teacher gone. Seven orphans.
A couple graced with life, marvel the miracle that allowed them to escape death when 10 bullets riddled their car. A family ponders the life of a young girl, now wounded in moderate condition with doctors warning there may be permanent damage. There, in the blink of an eye – five families’ lives are forever changed.
All while far away, our leader dances before the world. You are my peace partner, he lies to Mahmoud Abbas. While we are burying our dead and caring for our wounded, the stabbing pain turns to boiling anger. And the circles that are a never-ending part of life here in Israel continue to surround me.
My oldest daughter knows the wounded couple. The daughter of the murdered couple works here in our city and neighborhood with some of our young children as part of her national service. And Shmulik is now the driver of an officer whose job it is to run to each of the scenes of these terrorist attacks.
Shmulik will be home for Shabbat – but only very close to when it comes in. He will be on “konenut” – on alert this weekend. If something happens, his commanding officer will be called and he in turn will call Shmulik. It will be a tense weekend. If Shmulik goes, I will know only that there has been an attack. That it is likely that somewhere in my area, someone has been hurt…or worse.
There is an anger at the stupidity of our leaders, of the nations of the world that allow this and amazingly enough, blame us. It is not that we are settlers – it never was. It is, if we are to be brutally honest, not even that we are Israelis. The bitterest pill to swallow, the reason why it is accepted with a sad nod that a pregnant woman and her husband, a teacher, and a newly-married young man, can be shot in the head and leave her children orphaned, is that we are Jews.
It isn’t politically correct in this advanced year of 2010, in the early part of the 21st century. Anti-semitism is from the dark ages of World War II. We are so much more advanced, so much more civilized. We, the world tells us, are no longer anti-semites, not that we admit to ever being. No, we are anti-Israel and that is politically accepted, even praised.
But what of those Jewish mothers that we buried this week? Ah, it presents a problem to the world unless we can excuse it. Wait, they were settlers, weren’t they? They chose to live on that other side of a line drawn in the land. Extremists, explains US Department of State Crowley, extremists on both sides are trying to stop the peace process.
So the anger returns.
Dear Mr. Crowley, what exactly did the Israeli side do to torpedo your peace talks in Washington? We sent you our idiot leader to stand there and say that he has a peace partner, and we buried our dead.
And after doing all this, the pain and anger rise to choke us because we watch as the world moves on to other things, while seven orphans never will. And somewhere, deep in the midst of this anger is the amazing bewilderment. Perhaps, after all is said and done, we really are as stupid as the Arabs believe us to be, we infidels of Islam.