The World According to Elie

Perhaps that is too grand a title, but I have two Elie-isms for today and didn’t know which one to use as a title.

The first happened during Shabbat, as he was playing with his younger sister. Her endless squeals, his capture and tickles. They wrestled, he grabbed her and lifted her in a hug as she complained and ran. At one point, he said to her, “Before I kick you, give me a hug.” It was…it was just Elie, and of course, his sister complied immediately.

The second Elie-ism happened as I drove him into Jerusalem today. There was one of those amazing scenes – a new meeting point, protected by soldiers on the perimeters…high and low…and then I saw why – hundreds, perhaps a thousand soldiers – with guns, without, Elie’s artillery beret, green ones…light and dark, colors, backpacks…and so many buses. A central meeting point to take these soldiers back to bases far and near. I saw a helicopter circling…it was a vivid reminder, though none was needed, that though my son and these soldiers serve so close to home…they are, for days at a time, so very far from our reality.

But, before I dropped him off, we were talking about the escalation in rocket attacks in the last few days. 10 last Thursday, several on Shabbat, four more in the early hours of the day.

“Will it take another war to stop these rockets?” I asked Elie.

“Probably,” he answered.

“Will the world understand this time?” I asked myself, as much as I was asking him and his answer was the one I expected.

“Probably not,” he said, and then came his latest Elie-ism. “It’s like they’re complaining to the world, ‘they hit us back first’.”

It reminded me of a story from my childhood. I don’t actually remember it; but I’ve been told the story so many times. Apparently, I was not the most angelic of children; I was, more often than not, the source of the conflict.

One day, my sister went to my father and complained that I had hit her. My father promptly believed her story and came and disciplined me. During or after his punishment, I explained that my sister was in fact the one who had hit first.

My father didn’t know what to believe and so he returned to ask my sister. She told him the truth, “yes, but she hit me back.”

Thus it is with the Palestinians. They shoot rockets at us; taunt us; dare us. And then when we do hit back by attacking a military unit about to launch rockets, the Palestinians demand world attention, UN inquiries. How dare they hit us back, they cry to all who will listen and even those who won’t.

Yes, we dared to hit them back today and yesterday and so it reminded Elie of the story I’ve told from my childhood. The difference, sadly and absurdly, is that I was a child of 4 or 5; the Palestinians should know better…as should the world.

Four more rockets today…the world, according to Elie, should know better than to fall for the persistent complaints of the Palestinians. “Yeah, but they hit us back” shouldn’t work in the real world.

7 Comments on The World According to Elie

  1. “Yeah, but they hit us back” shouldn’t work in the real world.

    From your mouth to G-d’s ears.

  2. you write so beautifully and your son is such an amazing man…but WHY WHY WHY? I dont fully understand x

  3. I’m laughing about the big brother/little sister thing. One of my no-longer-active duty Marines was here for 2 weeks over Christmas. His standard greeting to his little sister was “are you ready for your lumps?” It makes me laugh just to think of it. 🙂

    and I don’t understand either. There is NO logic to the world’s treatment and expectations from Israel.

  4. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! SOME of us in the world DO understand. We DO “get” it, and we choose to stand with all of you, and make our voices heard.

    And we pray – daily – for the sons and daughters like Elie.

    Bless you all.

  5. It’s a vicious circle to keep blaming each other for who hits who first. Surely it would be more positive to be reaching out to the mothers of Paletinian teenagers – women generally are the ones who bare the brunt of violence against their families and are often the ones to start reconciliation where the men are locked in confrontation. Spread the message of peace and love for all humans everywhere. Hope you allow this to be put on your blog. In friendship from a fellow mother.

  6. Hi Janet,

    In a simple world, you would be correct in saying that blaming others doesn’t work. Let me give you an example of something that happened today and the history behind it.

    First, the history. During the first intifada, Arabs were throwing stones at Jewish cars as they traveled near and through their villages on the way to Jerusalem. Israel built a fast, modern highway around these villages – a bypass road to protect travelers. It was open not only to the Jewish travelers, but all travelers and neighboring villages…until the Arabs started throwing stones on that road (and firebombs and shooting at passing cars).

    In some areas, to protect the cars, tall walls are erected on either side and fences to keep rock throwers further away. To stop the attacks, which escalated to the murder of several innocent people (three women in one car, others passing by, etc.), Israel shut the road to Arab cars – that stopped the drive past shootings that killed several.

    It’s been relatively quiet on the road since Arab traffic has been stopped and so the courts have ruled that Israel should open the road that we built to everyone. And today, even before it was opened – more rock attacks and injuries.

    You mention Palestinian mothers – there are many videos on YouTube and other places showing mothers praising their sons for attacking Israel and there have been many female suicide bombers. I appreciate your comments – I just want you to understand something that much of the world does not…you can’t make peace with those who want to kill you. You can’t make peace until they too want peace. You can negotiate about a meter of land, money, a building…but if the fundamental society rejects your very existence…there is little hope of change…especially under the Hamas regime.

    I don’t know where you live, but I can assure you that Israel has reached out…to every level of Palestinian society and continues to seek peace and yet, Elie is correct. The world tells Israel to open Route 443, for example…but today’s rock throwing incident just shows again and again that there simply are no options for endangering ourselves under the false hope that things will change any time soon.

  7. Paula- when we went to Chashmoniem, the day after the tekkesh,we were witness to a Palestinian protest in front of the home where were staying for Shabbat – we sat in our hosts backyard and watched how our soldiers were taunted and teased… our soldiers got them to move, but they did not hit back…

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