Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

Who ‘likes’ dead bodies?

A slain terrorist -- yes even a terrorist -- is not a reason to celebrate

I am lucky.

I have been afraid, but I have never really feared for my life.

There are moments of pure terror that I still remember on my skin, in the sweet spot on my spine where my neck dips into my back… but I haven’t ever gotten to that tipping point where the contrast between life and death is crystalized and distilled, as clear and sharp as the next breath I draw that could be my last.

But I have looked into the stone cold caverns of a man’s eyes – deep into depths with no limits and no mercy while I shivered, as he — and the others behind him — took aim and threw stones at me.

Hard. Against my head, my shoulder and then my back as I ran, and yeah, they fucking hurt and yeah they can fucking kill you.

And I know a Molotov cocktail is even worse — that graceful arc of fatal flame, a comet, falling star to burn the life away from the nearest beating heart.

I’ve sat with a killer once — he told me how he plunged a knife into a man’s chest “over and over and over until the dust below ran red.”

He blinked.

“I was wrong.” He said. “Killing will not end the occupation.”

Damn right it won’t.

So, my eyes are tired sometimes, from blinking, from crying, from looking straight into darkness… and the laugh lines in each corner are a big fat DAFKA FUCK YOU to the darkness.

But still, despite everything I’ve seen, and heard, and felt, and feared, I cannot bring myself to understand how anyone can ever celebrate when a human being is killed.

Even when that human being meant to do us harm.

Sure, we can feel relief that it wasn’t us.

And if you ask me to choose my children or anyone else’s I’ll choose mine. Just like you’ll choose yours. Because obviously. Every time.

Yesterday, from all accounts a man who sought to kill our boys was killed by his own actions. And there it was on Facebook, a picture of his legs, crumbled, broken, sticking out from beneath a jeep. And there it was beneath the image, a caption from a man I know:

“Ding dong the witch is dead.”

The comments, oh the comments.

“Karma is a bitch.”

“Oh, I hope the jeep wasn’t damaged. Jeeps cost money.”

And then the “likes,” faster still. When did this become ok?

Yes, I get it. He died trying to hurt one of our soldiers. And yes, I it’s ok to breathe a sigh and murmur a prayer that our sons came home safe today — after all, we know sometimes they don’t.

But to laugh? To virtually high-five one another? To hand out “likes” on a dead man’s picture the way so many of our enemies hand out candies in the street after they’ve killed one of our soldiers?

When did we make this OK?

Even on Passover when we celebrate our deliverance from the Egyptians, when we read the plagues and remember them, we pour wine out in memory of our enemies so that our joy is thus diminished.

And I remember Proverbs 24-17: “do not rejoice at the downfall of your enemy.”

For when we do this, we forget the spark of godliness in every single one of us.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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