I didn’t join the march. I really wanted to. I’d love to be in the hot Negev desert, in a shabby tent, surrounded by confused and probably hungry people and children i don’t know, with armed policemen around. It would be an adventure, something i would tell my kids proudly one day. Maybe i would learn a chapter of Mishna. Instead i sit in the air-conditioned labs at work, go swimming at the pool, eat pasta and ice-cream at home.
My manager is religious. He’s a workaholic – in a good way, and i’m not writing it because he might read this. So he didn’t go. But he told – and he tried to make it sound as if it is not important, but it did anyway – that his two daughters are down there in Kfar-Maimon among more than 40,000 people, in the terrible heat, with no decent place to sleep, without much food left, surrounded by the police. “Could i tell them ‘No’?”, he said. That’s where i felt the unfairness of it – in 2000-2001, when i would hear about Arab children who were hurt or killed in the riots (anyone remembers Muhammad Al-Dura? I do), i would say cynically – “Oh, their parents could just keep them home; they should’ve known that riots can be dangerous.” Now i feel bad about it – if, God forbid, those girls are hurt there, what am i to tell? That he could keep them home? This is just not fair. War is hell.
To make things worse, my manager also has a son who is a soldier. He’s afraid he might be called to Kfar-Maimon to drive away his own sisters.
Why am i living in this insane country? How long will i keep believing that Israel is the dutch boy with his finger in the dam, keeping Islamic Terror from destroying the planet? Should i keep caring at all? Isn’t it simpler to just ask for shelter in Canada or something?
In the sauna today a man tried to speak to me in Arabic. Seeing my puzzled face, he said in Hebrew, “You don’t talk Arabic?..” and i said that unfortunately i don’t, but would like to learn it. He said that he would like to learn Hebrew – “We all live here, we’re together, we need peace, so i want to learn Hebrew.” His accent was fine. He went on to explain that we were all born from Ibrahim, so we’re brothers, even though their great grandmother was a slave and our great grandmother was a princess. That’s an interesting interpretation. And all the time i kept telling myself – “My orange wristband is not against the Arabs, it’s for Jews.”