It begins. The immediate scouring of the news for a name, any name. The shameful wave of relief when they’re made public. It was no one I knew, thank God. But next time… next time my search is just as frantic. The mandatory chain of phone calls and text messages: “Mom, I’m fine.” “Dad, where are you?” “Is everyone okay?” The fear that grips my heart whenever my phone announces breaking news with the telltale “ping”. And sometimes, worst of all, whenever the news comes from a person, not the media, and I wait and wait for the country to know and the country to mourn, but my phone never pings.
Then my Facebook news feed is divided into three different kinds of people. Those who have no clue what’s going on in Israel and get to blissfully keep posting cliché pictures of their dogs and breakfasts. Those who are either conspicuously absent for lack of words or who post a brief message of sympathy.
And those who only post about specific attacks after ones like last night’s attack in Sarona market. The panic, the eyewitnesses on the news in Tel Aviv repeating over and over again in disbelief, “It’s here, the wave of terror has finally reached us. We didn’t see it coming.” I cannot express my pain for the people hurt by this attack, who were in close proximity to this attack or were otherwise affected by this attack. But isn’t it time for the bubble to burst?
I know that there are those who will be quick to criticize that question. Do not misunderstand. I do not, God forbid, in any way view terror as a means to an end or an opportunity to awaken awareness. However, many months ago, terror once more reared its ugly head and tightened the grip of its many tentacles in Israeli cities. And a bubble grew, a bubble that was present before, to keep the sticky, controversial pus of this phenomenon off of the pluralistic, European streets of Tel Aviv. It is just to demand that it burst.
It’s not about politics. It’s about solidarity despite political differences. It’s not about the fact that my mother lives over the Green Line. It’s about the fear that I have of what might happen to me on the 15-minute drive to visit her from Jerusalem. It’s about acknowledging the common denominator of humanity and not blaming people who are being targeted on an hourly basis for their choice of residence. And it’s my feeling that where there was once solidarity with a portion of Israeli society that is, for no matter what reason and with all due respect, experiencing much more suffering than the former — there is none.
This terror has been my life and countless others’ for an unfair amount of time. Welcome to Israel. What are we going to do about it?