Wednesday, July 2, 2014

After the kidnapping: the ‘situation’ and the test

Our three teen heroes are now gone, laid to eternal rest. There is little to say. We do not understand G-d’s ways. We do not understand why bad things happen to good people—or to young people.
We do know this: G-d has a Plan. We are part of that Plan. We just do not know what role we will play in it.
Sometimes we are blessed with good fortune. The role we play in G-d’s Plan is a happy one. Sometimes, good fortune eludes us. Sometimes, the role we play in G-d’s Plan is soaked with our own blood.
We mourn. But we are also angry. We want to know what will happen to those who murdered our children. We want to know what will happen to those who incite others to murder our children.
We want to know if the principles of justice apply to entire communities, especially when those communities gleefully celebrate the kidnapping of our children.
You know about that? The Arabs denied the kidnapping ever happened. But then a strange—or, perhaps not so strange—thing happened: the Arabs celebrated the very kidnapping they said didn’t happen.
They started a Facebook page. It gave celebrants the opportunity to take pictures of themselves—and others—holding up three fingers, smiling into the camera. The three fingers represented the three kidnapped Jews. The smiles represented their complete support for that kidnapping.
Is there justice for such celebration? Is there justice for such a community?
There is much anger in Israel.
Yesterday In our city, we saw one consequence of that anger. We saw it in something mundane—our supermarket grocery delivery system.
When you shop in one of our supermarkets, you get free delivery when your total purchase is greater than 500NIS (145USD). The workers who do this delivery are Arab. They drive through our neighbourhoods several times a day. Their vehicles are known.
Yesterday, my wife and I went shopping. As we placed our market items onto the conveyor belt at the supermarket checkout, an Arab who knows me because he delivers to my house sought me out. He came to me to ask if I was intending to have my purchase delivered. I told him, yes. He replied, there’s a problem.
I asked, what’s the problem? He replied, I can’t deliver to you today.
When I asked why he couldn’t deliver, he gave me an explanation which, given my Hebrew-language skills, I didn’t quite understand.  I could have sworn he was telling me that he had been stoned on my street earlier in the day—and he wasn’t going ‘down there’ again. He said, if you want your groceries, talk to the store manager.
I went to the manager. He said, there’s a problem. My street had no delivery right now.
I asked, why?  In a Hebrew that was easier for me to understand, he explained that the Arab who had just spoken to me had been driving his vehicle into my neighbourhood earlier that morning, doing his deliveries. Some kids had stoned his van. He didn’t want to go back there again today because of ‘the situation’.
Ah, the situation.
The ‘situation’ is, three Jewish boys had been kidnapped and murdered. Jews are in an uproar over it. Many here in Israel believe that our Jewish leadership has not been protecting us—and these murders are the result of that neglect.
Arabs stone cars passing on highways. Arabs attack Jews in Jerusalem. Arabs throw stones at police on the Temple Mount.
Arabs attack Jews on the street. Arabs start fires in olive groves, then accuse Jews of starting the fires. Israel’s police come. They arrest Jews for starting the fires--because that’s what the Arabs claim.
Jews aren’t happy. As yesterday’s funeral unfolded,  Arabs in Jerusalem attacked a Jewish demonstration near the Central Bus station.  News stories reported that Leftist politicians were saying we shouldn’t harm Hamas.  
Our ‘situation’ is, some Jews here are really angry. Our children have been murdered, Arabs attack us even as we bury our dead—and politicians want appeasement?
One consequence of this anger is that an Arab worker who works for Jews has been attacked. That’s not justice. But when real justice doesn’t exist, communities will enforce their own justice.  The problem is, that justice is closer to anarchy than law.
Israel’s government has ‘a situation’.   
Does our ‘situation’ frighten you? Don’t worry about it. This is Israel: the groceries came to our house later in the afternoon.
Does our ‘situation’ frighten you nonetheless? Don’t let that bother you, either. This is Israel. Our ‘situation’ is a test.
For some, our ‘situation’ suggests that our leaders abandon their people and forsake their Heritage. The test is, will you remain silent—and thereby support that abandonment? Or, will you speak up?

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