“We Don’t Run Away from the Bomb”

November 13, 2011
By Gabrielle.Mashaal GOLD, Edina, Minnesota
Gabrielle.Mashaal GOLD, Edina, Minnesota
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Jerusalem Mayor Barkat: "It's important to return to our regular routines as quickly as possible. When terror attempts to disrupt our way of life, the best solution is to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Events in Jerusalem will not be cancelled and Jerusalem will not stop running. We'll continue to develop the city and its cultural events and I invite the city's residents and visitors to participate in the Marathon which will take place this Friday."

I stood in shock. Images of fire, spinning red and orange engulfed my mind. I imaged what most Americans would see on the news, screaming, blood- a city shut down and trembling in fear. This is not what I saw, for this is not the way of the Israelis.
Around one or two o’clock in the afternoon on March 23rd a bomb went off near a busy bus station in Jerusalem, Israel. It was the work of a Palestinian terrorist; he left the bomb in a phone booth and walked away with full knowledge of the damage he would cause our people. I was shopping with my family in old Jaffa when our tour guide and good friend got the phone call. It was from his daughter who lived in a town that got bombed just a few hours earlier. She told him the news as he calmly nodded. Waiting for a meltdown I watched him call all his friends to make sure they were safe, and I watched him sit down and tell the store manager the news. She didn’t even shudder, or wince. To my surprise she nodded, moving straight through the stages of grief and accepting it for what it was. I could feel that everybody knew, the people on the street and in the cars. As tears slowly rolled down my cheeks I watched, as everybody kept moving.
Everything around me seemed suddenly trivial and wrong. Here I was, looking at clothes, while people’s lives were being ruined thirty minutes away from me. I didn’t know why I cared, I had been in Israel plenty of times when terrorist attacks happened, I didn’t care then…why now? I continued to cry as we left the store and walked a few blocks to get ice cream. Avi stopped me outside the shop. And in his thick Israeli accent told me:
“Why are you upset?, It happens all the time here. It’s the way of life. There is no reason to be afraid.” I explained to him that I just couldn’t understand why people could do things like this. He sat me down, and told me a story.
“It was very bad between 2000 and 2005. Because of all the bombs, I wasn’t getting any business, tourists were too afraid to come here. I was forced to work as a taxi driver to make a living. I picked up a man from a hotel on his way out to dinner. We started talking and I offered him a free tour of Tel Aviv. He declined saying that his wife made him promise that he wouldn’t leave the hotel and office. I tried to convince him, but he declined. He gave up an opportunity to experience my home, my land because of fear. I was offended, I didn’t see what there was to be afraid of.”
I realized then why the Israelis were so calm about terrorism. It wasn’t that they had no fear, but that they knew that their love of Israel would overcome anyone trying to destroy it.

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