Yesterday, with tragic irony, the day my blog about terrorism was published on the TOI site, an unprecedented terrorist attack took place at the Sarona Market. We all know that this market is a delightful place to spend some time, engaging in some of our favorite activities: shmoozing, eating, greeting, meeting. Easy to reach in the heart of Israel’s great city, Tel Aviv, it’s a relatively new but easy to love must do destination, which is why it was chosen by the terrorists.
I was watching CNN in New Jersey when I heard the news. A quick calculation indicated that it was not yet 10 p.m. in Israel so I immediately called our grandson who, at age 25, works in an office building a few minutes walk from Sarona. The phone rang and rang. No answer. His mother facetimed him. No response. His father called and called.
You all know the feeling. Pounding heart. Queasy stomach. Rapid breathing. Inability to focus on anything except that unanswered phone.
I had experienced those sensations before. On 9/11 three of our four kids were working in Manhattan. My husband and I were at the Warsaw Airport awaiting our flight back to the US. Our plane was delayed (a week as it turned out) and we finally were told that a tower had been hit by a plane. Where, we did not know. Lack of a common language made it difficult to get more information. We all assumed it meant an airport control tower. After all, who could even imagine the atrocity that had actually happened.?
Finally we got the information and immediately started frantically dialing the kids. No circuits available. No response from any of them. We called the fourth one who was living in Palo Alto, California with her husband and very young children.. She answered and we screamed into the phone: have you heard from anyone? Calm as could be she replied: about what? Me: about the news in New York. She: I didn’t have the radio on. We’ve been listening to Barney tapes in the car.
Finally, in hours that seemed like years, we got through to everyone. It’s hard to be thankful and rejoice when so many have been senselessly destroyed. We did not rejoice but we were thankful.
This type of fear happens to us all. We see ambulances, hear fire trucks, learn about an incident on tv near where our loved ones live or work or study. Lives can be changed in an instant, making all the mundane daily concerns trivial. The washing machine broke. I got a flat tire. I gained two pounds this week. Who cares?
In Tel Aviv the news got worse. Three dead. Then four. Lives torn asunder. Severe injuries. We don’t know how severe. Will they recover? When will they identify the victims?
Finally our grandson answered the phone. He was playing frisbee after work. I know you can’t hear a phone while you’re playing frisbee. My breathing returned to normal.
Yesterday after reading my blog about the Kikar Tzion terrorist attack in 1975, a friend phoned to tell me he thought I was discouraging people from visiting Israel by instilling in them a fear of terrorism.
Let it be known that I will soon be back in Israel. I am no heroine but I am not afraid! No one should be afraid. Terrorism is a nightmare which exists throughout the world. Paris. Istanbul. New York. Brussels. Buenos Aires. In Israel I am safer than anywhere else on the universe. No one can predict where terrorists will spew their hatred next. Israel is the only country where security is actually taken seriously and where the preponderance of would be terrorists are stopped before they commit their crimes.
And it’s a wonderful and glorious and beautiful fun-filled destination. The terrorists don’t want you to be in Israel. They want you to be afraid. Well, I’m not and neither should anyone else be! I will soon return to Sarona.