I dragged my laundry all the way down Ibn Gvirol Street in the heart of Tel Aviv to get to the launderette. I always bought something small at the shop next door and asked for small coins as change from the woman working there. The TV was on in her shop and we both watched it as the newsreader reported on an ambush in Jenin that had killed over a dozen fighters from Golani during the ever worsening Al Aqsa Intifada. Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz then came on the news to talk about the actions the army would take next.
I looked at this blonde 40 something woman behind the counter and something in my eyes asked her a question. She shrugged her shoulders and smiled weakly, “it’s war” she said as she gave me my change and I went off to do my laundry. As I was walking out she changed the channel. Soon I was in the army fighting that war.
The Al Aqsa Intifada ended but the war goes on. The country looks almost unrecognizably different now, when I get on a bus I don’t have to choose between the empty double seats near the door which are more comfortable but also more likely to be blown up by a suicide bomber and the more crowded and perhaps fancifully safer area at the back. But the war still goes on.
I read the words of Benji Lovitt and particularly Marni Mandell and am heartbroken by the emotion of their responses, perhaps because I find that my own heart has become so hard that I can no longer feel the emotions that are flooding through them at this tragedy. Those who died were not the first Israeli victims, nor were they the last. The dead are simply more victims killed by people who didn’t even bother making any demands of us, people who didn’t want any prisoners freed or peace agreements made, this is an attack from a blood enemy, a blood enemy for whom utter extinction is the only answer.
Our response will be the very same response that it has always been, we will continue to live in our homes, refuse to be afraid, shrug our shoulders and say;