I am a new Immigrant and I have no idea
There are nights in Israel where you do not know what to do. Nobody knows how to respond to death. Death is awkward for everybody, especially an immigrant. From what I have learned, you should not smile too much. Even if you show up to a funeral and you see a lot of family, it is not a Bar-Mitzvah. It can get confusing with the uncles, cousins and death. It is important to keep a blank face. That I am sure of. A confused and shocked look usually keeps everybody thinking that you are concerned. The best anybody can do around death, is to look unpleasant. I have learned all of this from showing up to many shiva houses. Showing up to the homes of mourners to comfort them, to sit in front of them trying to come up with a good conversation while they are crying after their parent died, is an amazing way to feel very uncomfortable. The key, a good questioning look of concern.
As an immigrant, you are new to a country. Immigrant means you are not a native. This means that you did not have the same childhood experiences as the locals. I will explain more in my next manifesto ‘What is An Immigrant.’
Israel has been dealing with attacks and terror since its inception. You want to act the part, but you have no idea what to do. Bombing the shule you pray at is not a great way to fit in. You don’t want to have the wrong emotional reaction to the acts of terror that take place. As an immigrant, you have to just tag along. Otherwise, you would start creating these crazy rituals, like screaming on the streets and shooting guns in the air which kills more people (this I know because I saw some Middle East funerals). Or you might take revenge into your hands, as one of the few people in Israel who hasn’t done the army.
I have tried helping with security. However, as an immigrant I am even scared to check people when on guard duty. Immigrants, such as myself, didn’t do the army. Nonetheless, like American Jews, we are tough. I have been in altercations where I have even called them names with the weapon of your mouth, using words like creep and poopoo face. I can fight back the American way and take them to court. I am here to support my people and give in whatever way I can, as long as I do not have to serve in the IDF.
I want to fit in. I don’t want to be the crazy guy at an event that acts wrong, like the sister that is not getting married, bawling because her brother is getting married which somehow makes her cry more than a funeral. We all notice her and I do not want to stand out. I want to be a supporting aspect of this country, Israel, and I will do what I have to, even if that means calling somebody a poopoo face. I have and I will.
We are stuck trying to figure out the correct reaction. All I really know is you are not supposed to laugh. It is similar to making your way into a gang and getting tears added to your tattoo for each person you kill. There is a ceremony you are part of because you want to join, even though you have no idea why they do it, and you are supposed to not laugh. Enough of my days in MS-13. That analogy would make sense if religious Jews sported tattoos, which they do if they are Chozrei B’Tshuva (people who just became religious). As much as you do not know what to do, or feel, it is yours, your people, your land. You want to make it feel that way at least. Even though your family is in the USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Ethiopia. I do not know who is reading this book, and I do not want to miss out on any demographic, other than Canada. I will be honest with you, my listener, I am also confused right now. However, the point stands: something weird happens and even though we are not fully emotionally connected, we want to seem like we are not weird. We want to fit in, we want to care, even though it makes no sense to us. And like my days back in MS-13, we would be happy to get beaten with bats for 5 minutes, just to fit in.
What is the correct reaction to terror?
The correct reaction, I will tell you my friends, is to react. I understand my statements, as many that have been seen in this manifesto, are revolutionary in their wisdom.
The correct reaction would seem for the Israeli government to try to protect their citizens. But that does not seem to happen all the time. So you might end up at a protest.
Other seemingly correct reactions would be to not let people use tractors. Stop construction all together. At least to have a security guy on each and every tractor.
A great reaction would seem to be to cry. But in Israel, you don’t see the crying in public, because nobody wants to be the crazy sister at the wedding who cares. Caring is a great way to look like a lunatic. Even so, we pray, say some psalms. So I have followed the Israelis and I do what they do. But I never expected the correct reaction to terror being to go to work next day. I never expected the correct reaction being to be told what to do.
If you want to really help stop terror as an Israeli, work in construction. After the past few years, I see a non-Jewish driver, working construction in Jerusalem, I am scared. It is a shame that the terrorists brought it to a point where I am frightened, screaming, ‘Run! Walleed is throwing down cement.’ This is not racism my friends, that is a true thought. And it is because there were terrorists who used tractors to run over people. I am guessing they didn’t need as much schooling for that, as the terrorists who had to learn how to fly a plane. And yes, I am scared to be on a plane with other people, because I know those terrorists don’t share armrests and kick my seat constantly. So yes, travel has turned into a scary thing. We need more Jews flying, so that we can pinpoint who the terrorists are, when waiting for their non-kosher meals.
I do not know what they will use next. We have to be prepared. They are becoming more creative. If they decide to use ink, I will not be able to go to a stationary store, let alone a print shop. I am already afraid whenever I see somebody wearing a belt on a bus. I now have to keep my eyes on businessmen, especially when they are wearing suits.
The real point is that Jews should get off their tuches and work a little. Maybe build something other than a sukkah. The little huts look disgusting. Maybe even learn how to use a hammer. You cannot use velcro to keep a home together throughout the winter. Maybe be a person who knows how to put up a picture, without taking out the wall. Maybe then we will be able to use the stuff we bought at Ikea.
This is not political or anti-anybody. These are thoughts I have had since the tractor attacks. Can the book still be distributed?
All I know is that novelists are the problem. It is men like Robert Ludlum and their conspiracy theory novels that feed the terrorists their ideas.
As an immigrant, witnessing the mourning of the nation (as quick as it may seem), I did not and still do not know what to feel. It is as if I am a child looking to others to figure out the correct way to respond. I learned the tactic of sporting a serious look, as if I am wondering about something. I cannot tell you any specifics, because I am usually thinking about nothing. Yet, I see Israelis and they jump right back up. The next day, they are at their jobs, playing around, back at cafes. It is not like it is raining outside. If it was raining outside people would be in their homes, mourning for days.
I noticed that the main response most people have when an attack happens is to watch the news for a couple of days. A lot of people like to relive it. See it many times. The more you see it, the more it becomes part of you. The more you can scream at the TV. That is probably the best way to have it properly affect you. Scream at the anchor a lot.
I don’t like the news response for myself. I know there is evil and I don’t like seeing what it breeds for hours upon hours. I know that there will be conversations at Shabbat dinner, and I will end up in a taxi or on a train, hearing about it. I am going to hear from many different people everywhere, ‘Killing people pointlessly is wrong.’ I am one of the people who understands it is wrong to take life for no reason. Maybe it is my moral code. Maybe the rest of the world has to hear that message. That is why every person I meet feels the need to repeat the message that ‘killing is wrong,’ just in case I feel like siding with the terrorists.
Hearing people’s opinions feels like watching reruns of Doctor Phil’s restated moral lessons: ‘Cheating on your wife is wrong. She is your spouse. You married her. You are a family. That other woman, is not your wife. She has another husband.’ Just in case I forget that your wife is the woman you married. But I have to hear it. We all have to be reminded every once in a while that killing your spouse is wrong.
I have a strong moral fiber. I understand that a lot of thought should be put into killing people. But we do need to be reminded of danger. The Ministry of Safety, in Israel, told me today that you shouldn’t allow your children to run into the streets, because it is dangerous. People need to hear these things. Not everybody knows it is dangerous for a child to run into traffic. Maybe I am a little cocky and think I don’t have to hear this stuff too much. Even so, I want to connect with the nation and respond in a communal way, with my people. I would rather we didn’t need a response. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t know what to do if nothing happened either. If nothing happened, then I would have nothing to respond to and then I would be the odd one out. Having people to hate helps me fit in.
I am an outsider, making my way in. That is why you see me at protests, cheering with everybody about whatever they are saying in Hebrew. I showed up to a protest with a sign that said ‘No Jews =s No Police Brutality.’ To this day I have no idea what that means. Is it pro or anti Jewish? I can tell you that it felt like I fit in for those few moments, until somebody told me that it makes no sense. I did explain to them the brilliance of putting the ‘s’ after ‘=’ sign. If there was no ‘s’ people might read it ‘equal’ and not ‘equals,’ and that would be grammatically incorrect. But I showed up to the protests and I expressed the important view that ‘no Jews =s no police brutality’ and that is a message we forget every once in a while. I did my part.
Asides from showing up to protests and not doing the army, I pray. And that is what we can offer as immigrants. We can offer prayer. We can respond with all by using Hebrew words we have used our whole lives, which we do not understand. That is how we react and connect. At least in prayer we can fit in, we can look solemn and not have any idea what is going on.
I am ashamed to say I was not in MS-13. I wanted to sound tough and get some respect. I am just trying to fit in.