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Thank you, Bashar Massalha

Monday's murderous stabbing spree proved that danger can be anywhere -- it also freed her from fear

Thank you, Bashar Massalha, for coming to Jaffa — to my neighborhood — to carry out your heinous stabbing of 15 innocent Muslims, Christians, and Jews enjoying an evening stroll on our beloved seaside promenade.

Thank you for teaching me that nowhere is safe from the heinous machinations of those who are so ashamed of victimhood, sexuality, abuse, inappropriate lust, or unrequited love that they would compensate by taking others down with them.

Thank you for teaching me that if nowhere is safe, then everywhere is safe. Thank you for returning my freedom to go where I please, when I please. Because I might as well.

Thank you for betraying your shame, your fear, and your idolatrous worship of rocks and earth with the following FB post: “We shall walk like lions on our pure land and not fear our enemy no matter his strength.”

Thank you for acknowledging my strength. Thank you for reminding me that my love of the Land also hinges on paganism. Thank you for using the f-word. Thank you for prompting me to use another.

Thank you for reminding me that if you intend to walk, I’d better run. Not for my life. But because I do it anyway. Because it keeps me healthy and happy and proud. Because I love the sea and the harbor and the people I pass. Muslims, Christians, and Jews who wish me, “Good morning. Boker tov,” to whom I reply, “Good morning. Sabah al-khair.”

And most of all, thank you to the very pregnant woman who chose this morning — two days after the attack — to walk by the sea, the pony-tailed sylph who swooshed past me, the spandex clad bikers on the “Titanic” overlook, the frustrated surfers waiting to catch a wave on what was this morning the safest place of all, the friendly-faced Southern evangelists sipping lattes at the Loveat Café, the Arab fishermen who summoned an aging member of their ranks from home to pull a hook out of our collie’s paw because, “He is the best.”

Thank you for taking back our sea, our promenade, our Jaffa.

About the Author
Varda Spiegel was Nurse-Director of the Bedouin Mobile Unit of the Negev, later serving as Maternal-Child Health Director for the Ministry of Health Jerusalem District. I am the author of Hershele and the Chicken Skates, was the English Web Content Manager for the Israel Museum and have translated from Hebrew to English for Haaretz and the ANU Museum of the Jewish People. I'm a grandmother, mother, and beachbum.