I’m sitting in my office in the middle of Jerusalem…and someone’s world has just ended. Somewhere in Israel, a few hours ago, there was a knock and without thinking, the woman walked to the door and opened it. Perhaps it was a man, even a sister or a brother. It doesn’t really matter.
No words really need to be said…
There would have been at least two soldiers there. Perhaps the soldiers said something; often they don’t have to. The soldiers will stay until the others gather, try to help make arrangements that the family had never, not even once, believed they’d have to make. Where do you want your son buried? And with the question, the mother’s heart will scream again. Nowhere, don’t you understand? Nowhere. Not now, not ever.
And as the family buries their son, the latest victim of senseless violence and hatred bred into a 16-year-old’s bones and blood, the two soldiers will disappear. The family will never see them again. Forever, they will be remembered as the ones who brought the end of the world, devastation as they had never imagined.
This time, perhaps it was different because the 18-year-old Israeli who was murdered by the 16-year-old Arab survived the initial attack and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Perhaps this time, there was no knock…just a frantic and urgent call to get themselves to the hospital as fast as they can.
Whether it was a call or a knock, there is a family in Israel in shock at this moment, in tears, in pain. An agony that has only begun and will never end.
And for what?
That is the question they will ask and never quite be able to answer.
What brings a 16-year-old to the point where he will take a knife and stab a sleeping man…not yet even a man…repeatedly?
That is a question that is beyond the family; no longer relevant. All that there is at this moment, is the impossible, blinding pain.
I have never known this pain. Each day of my life, each hour, each minute, I pray that I never will. I have imagined it…in the darkest hours of the nights and sometimes when the sun shines brightly. I don’t know if every soldier’s mother imagines it or if it is just me.
I’m sitting here in tears, wishing I could reach out and offer comfort even as I know that they will be surrounded by loved ones. The soldier’s friends and commanding officers will come and never leave the family alone. Family and neighbors will bring them food, hold them, sit with them.
Other families who have lost sons and daughters will come to them – they are part of another family now, greater than we ever wanted it to be.
But they’ll never know why; they’ll never have their world back and for that pain, comes anger so great. I’m not ready to deal with the anger they and others will feel; anger comes later…now, in these first hours, there is only pain.
Unlike the Arabs, hate will not come with the anger. They are a victim of their own culture, their own death-worship. They have raised their children to this violence and for that, we can feel only disgust and pity.
In the name of their misbegotten god, only darkness and death are holy and for that alone, I am sickened. May God avenge the blood of a young Israeli soldier who was murdered in cold blood today. May God curse the people who raised his murderer and taught that 16-year-old boy to worship all that is evil.
And may God send comfort to the family of this young Israeli. May they find a way to cope in the new world born in the moments after the other ended, and may no other parent know the agonies they now suffer.