Right in the first week of the terror attacks, when nobody even knew what was ahead, the Moshav where I lived had a “White Night” activity for the children in class Dalet. They spend all night outdoors, screaming, screeching and having fun. This was just after a couple of code reds that had hit the area. The special night had been cancelled some time before because of the red alerts and rockets being fired at this area. But now they decided to go ahead anyway. And I was proud of that decision. To me that was exactly the example of the Israeli spirit: not to have terror rule your lives. That’s what I saw in the face of the municipality worker who was hanging up the Israeli flags on the length of the main road of Ashkelon during the second week of the terror attacks: you should have seen his face: he was beaming!! And we were beaming with him.
As the weeks passed and brutal attacks spread in Israel, Facebook was flooded with stories: outraged, left winged, right winged, sad, shocked, well, you get the point: the whole spectrum of human emotions played out in blogs, posts and reactions to newsfeeds. I suspect that people themselves were swept up by this surge of emotions, overwhelming and changing as the days went by and the terror attacks became more frequent, gruesome and determined.
And slowly but surely I witnessed a country getting swiped away in a haze of fear: shops being closed, people at each other’s throats, people getting physically attacked and brutalized out of anger, frustration and hate.. Somehow it looked like Israel wasn’t getting their shit together… And then I started to get afraid.. I had noticed a similar fall back only at the time Yitzchak Rabin was killed. An overall temporarily loss of hope. To be so close to a peaceful solution, in spite of gruesome terror attacks swiping the country. Massive losses of lives, whole busses and restaurants at the time. The hope was still prevailing. And then to have that shot down by one of their own. That was just too much to handle. It took a long time for the hope to come back, for the peace process to grow again, but it did. Like it always does.
And now? There weren’t any busses exploding all over the country, you could still go out for a pizza without being blown up. Why is this fear so overwhelming?? Netanyahu was in office before all this happened and after. There have been more hawkish leaders before him as well more lenient ones… why didn’t the country bounce back already??
And then it hit me: I know!! I know why this is so hard this time!! It is the children. The Israeli people are getting attacked by children!! Mahmoud Abbas’s policy of brainwashing whole generations of people into despair and hatred, is finally paying off: Even the children think that it is a good thing to go out and kill Jews. It is a honorable thing to do. You will bring respect to your family. The unrelenting manipulation has resulted in having kids go out, pulling another kid of his bicycle and stabbing him multiple times (!!!!) within an inch of his life, run around to try and make more victims, before the pain of being run over by a car morphs him back into a child again, writhing in pain and caught on camera. And Israel is forced to watch this. A 15-year-old girl decides to go ahead and try to attack and kill people!! Fifteen??? Why are you not cutting out pictures of the Arab star of Idols and sticking them on your wall, swooning over him, giggling with your friends?? That’s what she is supposed to do. But there she is: being a martyr. Another student is going to university one day and have the simmering hate erupt the other day and plunge a knife in someone’s neck. What is this??!!
This is why Israel has a hard time coping with these terror attacks: they are perpetrated by children and teenagers. No less lethal, mind you.. By no means less painful and horrific to the victims and the family….But I think the Israeli psyche is not capable of digesting this concept of children being brainwashed to such an extent that a couple of school kids would pack big kitchen knives in their backpacks and hop the bus to Jerusalem in order to kill. Israeli’s just cannot comprehend this. We see this, we knew that this brainwashing was going on, but know we actually get the true extend and results of this repulsive method of PA incitement. And it is just too much against the very core of the Israeli spirit.
In Israel, kibbutzim and Moshavim are being build with the children’s home and schools in the heart of the community. Because that’s what children are: the very heart of every community. And to be protected. To be forced to watch other people’s children turning into terrorists and cause bloodshed and mayhem is just .. well unbelievable…Israel had a real hard time to stomach this.
And that’s why it took longer than normal to bounce back. But bouncing back is exactly was is going to happen. Is what’s happening right now. It’s what is always has been happening. No amount of terror can stop this: it, if anything, it makes it stronger. Because this is Israel. Because the threats have been numerous, the attacks unfortunately uncountable but the State of Israel, the one and only Jewish homeland on this planet, is still here and thriving. And the Israeli people are still who they always were: Strong, kindhearted and warm, unbreakable, slightly crazy, humorous and resilient , religious and secular, mainly Jewish, but also Moslem and Christian and Atheist, independent and inventive, blunt and hot headed, helpful and brave. This is the Israeli nation. And I am so proud to be part of this.