Pikuach Nefesh is a Jewish injunction that commands a person to break the law in order to save a life. This week, as an Israeli citizen, I decided to take it upon myself and break the law in the hope that I will save lives. I went into Bethlehem.
I often used to accompany my tour groups into Bethlehem. To be on the safe side I would sneak in as a “British tourist.” I easily passed for that, because I do not look like the brutish, brown-skinned, machine-gun, swash-buckling Israeli oppressor. On the contrary, I am slender, pink-skinned and have only ever used a pocket knife in defence against two Palestinian terrorists who stabbed me thirteen times with machetes and murdered my friend in front of my eyes.
It was a trip down memory lane. Bethlehem streets were bustling with vehicles that testify to the varied economic status of a thriving town. Brand new jeeps purred behind rusty old cars. Shiny, menacing trucks nudged close to brave cyclists.
I kept my eye out for genocide and atrocities but didn’t spot any. I did however see abject poverty, Deheija refugee camp, a slum that over the years has seen many of it’s inhabitants come and go. They do so easily because there is no wall or fence keeping people in or out. I was told by a local that several folk had managed to further themselves over the last decades, find work and move out. As they left others moved in, not refugees from any war, but regular people migrating as a result of economic ups and downs – just like any other large town in the world.
The last time I was in Bethlehem I was the guide for a Lebanese-born American Christian whose parents were Palestinian refugees that had moved to the States after the war in 1948. Rami (not his real name) was an “apostate.” He had converted to Christianity out of personal conviction and then later married a Christian girl. It was not an easy choice for Rami, he paid a heavy price: estrangement from his family.
Rami was a mench, a man who was kind to all. He wanted to take me to visit an orphanage funded and run by Palestinian Christians. The children were Muslims, bereaved not because of war or occupation, but due to radical and primitive Islamist ideology that tosses to the streets retarded and crippled babies. The orphanage was remarkable. Christian Palestinians through acceptance and love, breathed back life into Muslim children, once left for dead.
We finished up at a Muslim kindergarten. Rami had brought toys from American Christians to give to this impoverished Muslim pre-school. Paint was peeling off the dingy walls, broken plastic chairs were strewn around the room and the only items the children had to keep them busy were dried-up colored pens that did not write.
And now, four years later, I was back in Bethlehem on my way to visit my Palestinian Christian friends, a family that I had known for nearly a decade. I wanted to wish them “Happy Christmas.” Although I had not seen them since the attack they faithfully called me every week.
It was an emotional reunion. We hugged, kissed and huddled around their log fire, sipping my favourite Israeli wine, which they had purchased just for me. George (not his real name) had a permit again. His track record is spotless. None of his immediate or extended family have ever been involved in terroristic activities so it’s not as difficult for him to get the permit renewed.
We decided to arrange a day-trip to Tel Aviv. Here in this region everything changes so quickly so we tentatively penciled in a date. George and I could only hope that Israeli security will not get word of Jihadists hiding in the forests waiting to butcher Jewish women, or Islamists sneaking into an Israeli home to murder babies in their beds. If Israel suspected as such then the check points would be closed and that would spoil our plans.
As we chatted George spoke of his outrage at the wall. It was not the usual sort of complaints of injustice that I hear from some Palestinians. He was outraged at the very lack of a wall, that enabled the terrorists to trespass into Israel and try unsuccessfully, to execute his friend. With two glasses of wine – on an empty stomach – emotions were raw. George swore to me that he would have built a wall with his own bare hands if only it would have prevented the savagery. I vowed that I would do all that I could to make known the plight of the Palestinian Christians. George ranted. I cried.
George, like the Christians at St James in London, also wants the wall to come down. The Christians of St James, (most of whom of their own admission have never been here) vociferate that the wall must be dismantled to liberate the Palestinians from their “Israeli oppressors.” George wants the wall down for a different reason. If it stays up it cages him inside a compound ruled by the primitive sort of Islam of the Palestinian Authority. It is a self-inflicted culturally impoverished ghetto that constructs no genuine political passage that leads it’s residents to explore for themselves the “pariah, oppressive, apartheid, Jewish State.”
If that vile sham of a protest in St James London, was a truthful protest, I like many Israelis would have joined in. Together, true British Christians, Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Arabs, would have called upon the Palestinian Authority to make radical reforms and erase their culture of death. Together, we could have stirred up public outrage at the torture, executions, “honour” killings and violations of human rights perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority towards their own people. When we had done that we would then have protested about the radical Islamist “honour” killings and abuse of some Muslim women in the United Kingdom. In doing so we would have joined hands with the many self-respecting, moderate, democratic British Muslims who deplore these things, are alienated by these demonstrations and misrepresented by the “Christ-lamists” on the soap-box propagating their shameful extremism.
I didn’t fly to London because I was scared. My PTSD exacerbates fears and still prevents me from doing much that I would like to do. However, it was not PTSD that stopped me from getting on a plane, it was the knowledge that I would once again be trapped in a climate of hatred and contempt. As an Israeli, I knew that I would be held personally responsible for all the wrongs in the world by this hybrid Christian-Islamist mob, who feigned social outrage at the situation of the Palestinians.
Instead of going to London, I went to a Palestinian hardware store in Bethlehem and purchased a can of Israeli paint to vandalise the wall of the “Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre,” the premises of an NGO. It was easy to find, it’s squalor stood apart from the other fine houses, indigenous Palestinian businesses and flourishing hotels on the very same street. I sprayed in large, letters: “St James, No to Jihad, justice for Christians, Israel and all people.”
It was a prayer that I sprayed on that wall, a plea directed at the Israel-bashers of St James to embrace noble values, spurn hatred and choose life. As I wrote, I savoured every jot and tittle. I despoiled vicariously for George and Palestinian Christians, who unlike the Christians of St James, hold to a purist Christian faith. I desecrated for Palestinian Christians, some of who have been hoodwinked by the Palestinian Authority of spurious promises of equality in a future Palestinian State. I defiled for other Palestinian Christians blinded to their Holy Scriptures that speak of a Jewish Messiah who lived in the Jewish Province of Judea, who declared, “I have come for the lost sheep of Israel.” I wrote in rage, in irony, in emotional despair and in memory of Kristine Luken. Unashamedly, I also sabotaged, wrecked, vandalised and mutilated the sleazy and impoverished wall on behalf of Israel’s thousands of victims of terror.
When my friend, activist and blogger Philippe Assouline saw the photo of my work of art, he tweeted poignantly, “price tag.” Philippe understood that this was a price tag for peace. Ben White, the Al-Jazeera journalist, Jew-basher and hoax peace activist tweeted back, “Pro-Israel activist vandalises Palestinian NGO entrance in Bethlehem, hails blogger Philippe Assouline as her moral mentor.”
I would like to give Ben White the benefit of the doubt. I would like to assume that he did not know about the terror attack on myself. I choose to believe that he tweeted in ignorance, because had he known, he surely could never have been so cruel. Even if he did know, I cannot expect him, or anyone else, to really understand my losses: the theft of innocence that comes with watching someone hacked to death, the loss of a pain-free existence, the loss of the dignity that comes with being able to provide for myself, the loss of the ability to partake in the mundane, the robbery of my humanity and that dreadful, gnawing erosion of hope that I will ever be profoundly understood.
Ben White, like anyone else, has to earn his wings to give him the right to tweet with authority about suffering. His tweet is no more than a tweet. It is not a vibrant voice that speaks passionately or with the conviction born out of personal pain. It is instead a tinny, whinging, bitter, morally feeble tweet that ostensibly alerts his outrage at the violation of the dignity of others, yet promulgates contempt and loathing for human beings who dare to disagree.
Ben White, you are right. I am a pro-Israel activist and I am proud of it. Should you ever get into an unexpected situation where you find yourself about to be beheaded, I can warmly recommend my personal Israeli citizens, Jews, Muslims, and Christians, who have been a remarkable support to me. It is therefore my joy, privilege and moral obligation to be a pro-Israel activist. My Israel, is a Muslim surgeon who saved my life. Your Palestine is Muslims who plunge their cleavers into defenceless women and sleeping babies.
It is likewise an honour to be called a vandal. I embrace my new-job description with the utmost gravity. You have inspired me to continue to do whatever I can to sabotage and desecrate every vulgar, cruel, pompous, destructive, arrogant, ignorant, presumptuous, pithy lie and falsification that you, and people like yourself are bent on disseminating against my country.
I will return to Bethlehem and spray my “price tag of peace” on any wall that I can. I will do it in the name of Pikuach Nefesh the Jewish ethic that cherishes life and calls us to be our brother’s keeper. I will also do it for all Israeli, Palestinian, Christian and Muslim worldwide victims of Global Jihad. But most of all Ben White, I will do it just for you.