Status: On edge

Facebook has replaced my diary, and here are some entries from the last several days during the terror wave in Israel.

October 9, 11: 53 am

The kids and I will have coffee and hot chocolate this afternoon.

We will jump through rain puddles.

We will go grocery shopping for chocolate cake mix and Cabernet.

We will bicker.

We will laugh.

We will watch a movie and have a dance party and welcome Shabbat with soft candle light.

We WILL have our Friday while the world rages — and they won’t know that I’m checking Times of Israel, my heart breaking with each new alert.

Because big picture: we are together, and there’s a lot to celebrate.

And FUCK terror. Today is too good to miss.

‪#‎TerrorFAIL‬

 October 9, 12:30 pm

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“Hatred is not a value.
Racism is not the way.”

This campaign in Israel began when a young woman posted ”hating arabs is not racism – it is a value”

The post is disgusting in and of itself, but to make it worse, as of this afternoon it had 17000 likes including a positive comment from her proud mother.

It is in this environment that 6 arabs were attacked in the last 24 hours (and 10 Jews in the last 48).

No, we can’t change the situation — but we can stand up and say that we do not support racism or violence.

And I hope you’ll take a picture, too.

 

October 10, 10: 40 pm

Many people have asked me why I don’t criticise other countries the way I criticise Israel.

Here’s the answer: I LIVE in Israel. I am raising Israeli children who live in Israel.

Our asses are HERE. This gives me the right — actually, no, it DEMANDS that I look at this place through both compassionate AND critical eyes.

My children are going to be in the army some day. They are going to be dealing with the consequences of our actions and our policies.

And as their mother — as an Israeli, as a JEW — I want to know that we have done everything we can to ensure that everyone here can live a just and quiet life. A real quiet — not the quiet that comes because of curfews or checkpoints.

But the kind of quiet that comes when you have enough and don’t need to struggle for more.

When people say “well, look at Syria” I want to scream. Is THAT our litmus test? Really? We’re better because we’re better than SYRIA?!?

And yes, when the outside world holds us to high standards, it’s frustrating — I get that. But really, shouldn’t we be holding ourselves to those standards?

We are a strong and wonderful country — because we are a strong and wonderful people. I love this place. I’m a patriot. But being a patriot means that I will throw myself into the fighting ring and wrestle WITH Israel while I also defend it.

Do I see problems throughout the world in other countries? Hell yeah. Are there things in America that make me sad?

Absolutely.

Every place has their problems.

But I live HERE. And it is my responsibility as an Israeli by choice and as a mother raising Israeli children to fight for the country I want to live in.

October 12, 10:24 am

I have found that when you go about your business kindly, when you go to work, and buy your groceries and cook dinner for people you love (even if it’s just for you 😍), when you drink coffee and leave a tip, when you hold doors open for people and say “thank you” or “toda” or “shukran” when they do it for you, when you smile at a stranger they smile back. And the world is a little softer a little simpler and a lot less scary.

And bottom line? I would rather you call me “naive” than live in fear and anger all the days of my life.

 

October 12, 4:30 pm

Another stabbing — a thirteen year CHILD was riding his bike down the street when a terrorist jumped him and stabbed him there on the pavement.

He could be our brother. Or our nephew. Or our little cousin. He could be our son.

And the terrorist? Also 13 — maybe 14 — years old.

And oh GOD, I cannot read the news anymore without my breath catching on my heart.

But I have to read while I sit here, while my eyes burn, while I feel sick to my stomach, but I’m listening to this song — a beautiful, joyful, LIFE affirming song:

Why?

Because KIDS love this song.

“I know everything will be OK…. I know everything will be awesome.”

Again: My kids love this song. This beautiful, joyful, life affirming, exquisitely ISRAELI song….

They LOVE this song.

And I’ll focus on that.

Focus with me, please.

 

October 12, 5:43 pm

A while back, I dated a guy who once snarled at me “all you Jews think….”

I didn’t even let him finish the sentence because the minute I hear “all you Jews….” I shut it DOWN.

Because straight up, there is no such thing a “all you Jews think” or “all you Jews feel…” or “you Jews all…”

We are NOT monolithic.

Guess who else isn’t monolithic?

The Arabs.

So PLEASE. Spare me “all Arabs think…” or “all Arabs feel….” or “the Arabs all….”

There is no such thing as “All Jews” or “All Arabs.”

There are Jews.

And there are Arabs.

And the only thing we can categorically say is all Arabs and all Jews are PEOPLE.

“All PEOPLE are made of flesh and bone.”

All PEOPLE have fears and hopes.

There are very bad people all over the world. Yes, there are Arab terrorists. (And yes, there are also Jewish terrorists.)

There are also very good people all over the world. And there are way more good people than there are bad people. There are healers, and teachers, and advocates, and leaders. There are people good people everywhere.

In Pisgat Ze’ev. In Baka. In Arnona. In Rehavia. In Sheikh Jarra. In Har Nof. In Suafat. In Abu Tor. In Silwan. In Talpiot. In Katamon. In Wadi Joz.

There is no such thing as “all Arabs” or “all Jews.”

No people are a monolith.

And the only way to know what A Jew or AN Arab think is to take the time to get to know someone and ask.

 

October 12, 7:42

Hey everyone smile emoticon In the midst of the awfulness here in Israel right now, we get to welcome a new citizen who made Aliyah today! So, say Shalom to Eric/Arik

 

Between October 12 and 13, 2015 — middle of the night

Earlier tonight, someone posted on my wall and accused me of saying we should “pray for the terrorists.”

Let me be clear: stabbing innocent people is wrong.

And while it is gut wrenching to read that a 13 year old attacked and stabbed another 13 year old, I am not praying for the terrorist.

I AM hoping we can — all of us — make some very real changes in our separate and shared societies that will minimize despair and anger.

But I do not “pray for terrorists.”

I DO believe we should arrest terrorists, not shoot them, IF possible. (I am also against the death penalty, too). I “do not rejoice at the downfall of my enemies” as we say in Proverbs.

But I do not “pray for terrorists.”

I DO try to treat people in ways that minimize suffering, that heal not hurt.

But I do not “pray for terrorists”

Or suffer people who make up lies about me.

 

October 13, 2015 – 2:47 PM

Do you see what’s happening here?

Stabbings. Shootings. Car-rammings.

No place feels safe right now.

All these innocent people who just want to go to work or get to school or pick up milk or take their kids to the doctor’s office.

It could be anyone of us right now.

When our phones ring instead of “hey what’s up” we say “where are you?!? Are you safe?!?”

These attacks have no warning.

It could be any minute.

It could be across town.

It could be right across from us —–And how fast the knife moves as it slices through the air.

I trust people — and I haven’t been let down. But I can tell you from a quiet place of sorrow deep, that it is hard right now.

We are heartbroken.

Please say something.

Say it with me: Attacks against innocent people is never justified, and violence only splits our shared world wide open with no place to meet in the middle.

 

October 13, 2015 — 4: 45 pm

In the last weeks of my mother’s life, she, my dad, and I used to sing “Weave me the Sunshine” by Peter, Paul and Mary.

“Weave weave weave me the sunshine, out of the falling rain. Weave me the hopes of a new tomorrow, fill my cup again.”

So I’m listening to it now — because I miss my mom.

And straight up right now, I do not want to be the adult today.

I want her to tell me that it’ll all be okay.

Because from where I am right now, it isn’t looking good for anyone: Today is broken, cleaved, bleeding, and raw.
Today has emptied me.

And all I can do right now is listen to this hopeful song and think of her (and eat ice cream and drink a little bourbon) and then maybe later, I can get up and look for shards of hope that still glisten when we shine the light on them just the right way.

 

October 13, 2015 — 8:22 pm

We have nowhere to go.
This is our home.

The surly shopkeeper from Uzbekistan who made Aliyah 15 years ago said this to me today when we bought ice cream from his dusty shop.
So did the woman who cleans the floors at Superpharm last week.

We have nowhere to go.
This is home.

The rabbi with the long white beard said this while he touched the strings on his talit.
So did the soldier with the Om tattoo on her neck.

We have nowhere to go.
This is our home.

The sheikh on Mount of Olives told me this one dusty afternoon — “Let the grandchildren of Abraham live in peace” he prayed.
So did the monk in Abu Gosh.

We have nowhere to go.
This is our home.

The boy with the silver cross tucked under his shirt.
The girl with the hijab.
The gardener who prays three times a day.
The computer technician. who prays five.
The old woman with a number stamped on her arm weeps when her grandson asks her “Savta, tell me what it was like when you were my age.”
The single mother struggling, the young child crying, the pretty girl preening, the old man napping.

We have nowhere to go.
This is our home.

We were born here, some say.
We choose to live here, say others.

And for my kids and me it is the same.
This is our home.
We have nowhere to go.
Except to the park right now to climb trees and play with other kids. Which is where we went. Because even though it’s hard right now, that’s what you do when you’re at home.

 

Between October 13-14, 2015 — Middle of the night.

“Hurry up,” I say too often when the kids struggle to put on clean shirts, or tie their shoes already.

“Nu, yalla — w’ere late. Halas, leave the book already, put your jacket on, hurry hurry.”

It’s been this way since they were babies, always rushing, waiting for the next phase — when will it get easier, when will they get BIGGER, when will they walk THEMSELVES places so I don’t have to.

But then: Slow days. Fast years.

And I keep thinking about that 13 year old boy who went out on his bike yesterday afternoon in Jerusalem when he was attacked by a terrorist and nearly killed — 13 years old, just a few fast years older than my daughter, big enough to put on a helmet and ride down the street and not think twice that he might not come home.

And I think about all the mothers and fathers out there whose kids breeze out the door each day, maybe blowing a kiss over their shoulder, but probably not. “Yalla bye see you later.”

Like it’s a given.

And usually it is a given. Until it’s taken away.

And then, I think about my dad who can’t know where I am most of the time — who tells me on the phone “think once is it safe, think twice is it safe, and think a third time is it safe.”

And once, twice, three times, I do whatever the hell I want.

But I’m still his baby, too.

For tonight, I know where my kids are. They’re sleeping. They’re in the room next to me, curled in bed, breathing softly, eyes closed. Dreaming, maybe.

And please God, leave them still untouched by the storm outside. For now.

I’ll slow it down, I promise. I’ll turn their T-shirts inside out so it takes longer each morning. I’ll hide their shoes so they can’t find them. And when they do, we’ll walk more slowly down the road together, for as long as we can.

 

October 14, 2015 — noonish 

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October 14, 2015 – 4:15

I’m getting these amazing messages from Hebron, from Nablus, from Bethlehem, from East Jerusalem, from Gaza — and they all pretty much say the same thing:

“I’m so sad this is happening. Stay safe.”

And I can tell you this: Every time I read some variation of this message, I soften, and my sadness fades enough to imagine once again that some day we will figure all this out.

Because really, there is no other choice since we are two branches from the same tree.

 

October 14 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Stabbing terror attack in the Central Bus station.

I’m here at least once a week, in this place that smells like cinnamon rolls and coffee, where I bought the long blue dress I love wearing in the Old City, where I get Orbit gum for 3 shekels, where religious women both Jewish and Muslim run their fingers over the same scarves they’ll buy to cover their hair.

I’m here at least once a week, bumping into people — young soldiers and old men, German tourists and prickly teenagers with eyebrow rings. So many kids and so many parents, shopping, eating, texting, laughing, spending time before they get on their buses to Ramle or Tel Aviv or Beersheba or Haifa.

I’m here at least once a week, and when I climb the steps to the third floor, I’m so damn tired. And so is everyone else.

And all we want to do is just go home.

 

OCTOBER 14, 2015 — 22:10

One day I hope that living in ‪#‎Israel‬ won’t seen as a political statement or an act of bravery or a big old f&ck you to the brutal history we’ve endured.

But that living here will be like any other place – quiet and still, and far removed from the flashbulbs and sound bites.

A place where we can take hope seriously and mean it when we sing it because we have nothing to fear.

Just a place like any other one — where Jews can have a piece of land safe and sound alongside our cousins. Where trees grow deep roots and traffic flows easily through cities and across borders.
A place where we can rest without sirens or red alert updates, without phone calls in the middle of the night – except from our lovers – a place where we can just be without feeling defensive or guilty or angry all the time. A place where we an trust our own strength and our own place in the world.

 

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About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel's New Media editor, lives in Israel with her two kids in a village next to rolling fields. Sarah likes taking pictures, climbing roofs, and talking to strangers. She is the author of the book Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered. Sarah is a work in progress.
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