Attacks in Hebron, and an attack in Jerusalem. A mob and a terrorist. One side and the other. Settlers and believers, that can move around freely on the sacred day of Chayei Sarah. A bomber injured a dozen and a half and killed one. Tens of thousands of Jewish Israelis marched through the Arab city of Hebron and beat up both Palestinians and soldiers. But in the eyes of the state, we know what matters more. Tens of thousands of ralliers threw stones at the already petrified residents. Two similar events, both ideologically motivated, yet two very different narratives.
As a student, I can only write about my experiences in school. When the subject came up, one of my teachers was quick to share his views on the matter. His idea was to take the terrorist’s family and send them to Gaza. He, of course, didn’t forget the most important thing – to burn down the terrorist’s house. He was not talking about the dozens of Jews beating, chasing, and breaking into Palestinians’ houses, he was talking about the one who blew up the bus stop. One of my classmates did start to argue with him – I guess there is, after all, an advantage to being taught your opinion matters. He tried to reason with the rhetoric of how the families are often completely innocent and not the terrorist’s accomplices at all. This, of course, didn’t go over well with the class. Several students actually began to scream at the one being reasonable. Swearwords flying, accusations and defenses rolling. The one kid began to get passionate. When one girl yelled “you’re the reason our country is in this situation” I felt ashamed.
Ashamed, because the circle of violence in this country could not be a result of a person being empathetic. Our circle of violence came to be as a result of cruelty.
Because we already do what my teacher said. The IDF already hunts the families of the terrorists and they already burn down their houses. It is revenge and it is being done every day.
On the other hand, Hebron is a city that is extremely important for the religious mob. They walked all over the city like they own the place. But beatings and lynchings are fine as long as they happen to Arabs. This is an accepted view. A city full of a people, and another that wishes them harm. Or Herzel Mount, another important place for the religions. But Israel deserves it more. Why? Because it is the single most important pilgrimage site for Jews, while it’s only the third most important for Muslims. Are we about to compete for the prize of Best Religion of 2022?
But we were sitting in class today and after shouting about how exactly should the state execute the terrorist who blew up a bus stop in Jerusalem, we switched subjects to the United States.
It was a breaking point that cleared every weird thought up. Because everyone only believes their own country’s propaganda, not someone else’s. Hey, do you guys know how in the US, there are kids aged 17 with guns? That’s crazy!
Everyone agreed, how crazy that is. But not every 17-year-old in the US has a gun, while every 18-year-old in Israel must have a gun and carry it around 24/7. Everyone only believes the propaganda they were subjected to.
If you were conditioned to believe that someone has to have their family deported and their house burnt down, you will believe that. You will advocate for that to happen.
If you were conditioned to believe that children should be able to buy weapons because freedom cannot exist without guns, you will believe that. You will advocate for that “right”.
Attacks in Hebron, an attack in Jerusalem, and a shooting in Colorado. Every one of them is caused by humans; disgusts humans and hurts humans. All of them cause suffering but our society cannot stop. Because it is our side against theirs.