I want you to know what my day was like as a regular “Joe Shmo” college student in Jerusalem. After reading the distorted international media coverage of the situation in Israel, I more than want you to know. I need you to know.
I woke up smiling to a sunny day. I then began to grimace because I remembered that I need to read the news. No, I didn’t WANT to read the news this early in the morning. But, today I read the news so that I know which part of town not to go into because of traffic caused by hordes of security forces trying to neutralize a terrorist. I read the news so that I know the new lengths the terrorists are going to in order to kill us whether it be with knives, guns, cars, or even a screw driver. I read the news because maybe it will give me an idea of how to protect myself, whether with pepper spray or even an umbrella.
I decided that though my eyes were dry, today would be a good day to put in my contacts, you know, the better to see the terrorists with. I opted to use a backpack because just maybe my backpack would stop the knife just enough to not mortally wound me.
I pass the construction site next to my apartment and stare at the workers because the terrorist a few days ago starting stabbing while still wearing his neon construction vest. I DO NOT think all Arabs are terrorists. The majority are just trying to live their lives, as am I. The terrorists are putting me in the position of profiling all Arabic speakers, flinching when they reach into their pockets or get into their cars.
I cross the street to better see the oncoming traffic in case a car drives off the road until I am under its wheels. I arrive at the bus stop and stand at the hardest angle for a car to drive into. I hope the bus is coming soon, or do I? After the most recent bus attack, I don’t know what is safer, outside on the street or in a bus. I board the bus and sit in the back row so that I can see everyone in front of me. Wait, now I realize that if something happens I am trapped in the back. Oh, well. Maybe I can duck under the seats until help arrives.
I go to school orientation and am able to breathe because the campus is heavily guarded. Then I leave to do some grocery shopping. Walking to the grocery store I want to call my mom to tell her about my exciting day. But no, that would distract me too much. I have too many bags to fit in my back pack so I carry some in my hands. On the walk back to my apartment I think, “My hands are full. What do I do if someone lunges at me?” The survival instinct says, “You throw your groceries at them. Duh, you have sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are heavy and hard.”
This narrative of my day must be exhausting to read. Well, I am exhausted, and so is every citizen of Israel. But when I read the international news I discover a different story. I read heart breaking stories of dead Palestinians, many of whom just incidentally happen to be terrorists. I read the gut wrenching news of the take down of two 13 and 15 year Palestinian cousins who had just brutally stabbed a 13 year old Israeli boy.
No perceived injustice of any sort is an excuse to ram a car into a 70 year old pedestrian and then stab him with a knife. But who condemns this brutality? Who cries out for us Joe Shmos as we are shot on buses and stabbed on the streets? Well a tear should be shed for us, too. A tear for those of us innocents who are senselessly murdered and endangered just in leaving our homes. We won’t stop living. But just know that it is a minute by minute struggle. And that should make the news.