Last week, on July 3rd, a Palestinian bulldozer driver went on a deadly rampage in downtown Jerusalem, knocking over a bus, plowing over cars, and damaging buildings. So far, three are dead, over sixty are injured.
When you are confronted by unspeakable horrors that defy the imagination, your first reaction is: How? How could this have happened? How did this man get his hands on a bulldozer?
The brutal but honest answer, one which everyone would prefer to avoid, is that we gave this man the weapon he needed to destroy life. The Jerusalem Light Rail Company hired a Palestinian man with a criminal record, someone with a drug problem who had spent time in jail for criminal activity, and let him loose with a bulldozer. And why? So they could save a few shekel on cheap labor. We gave him the “tools” he needed to kill us, and his sign-off was the words with which we have tragically become all too familiar: “Allah Akhbar – God is Great.”
(As a side note, I know that everyone reacts to, and deals with, horrific incidents like these in their own way. A dose of denial is necessary, and even healthy, in order to get through the day. People process events in their own way, and come up with their own explanations and rationalization to make sense of the inexplicable. That being said, I observe that when something awful happens, people find it a lot easier to say that a tragic accident happened because someone wasn’t keeping Shabbat, for example, than to admit that our own country is cutting off our oxygen and signing our death warrant. Case in point: In our newly-opened Kanyon in Modiin, a man fell yesterday, on Shabbat, three floors from an elevator. And already people are writing in the talkback section on Ynet that it happened because he was violating Shabbat. For some reason, people find it easier to swallow to imagine G-d’s reaction to the violation of Shabbat. Yet, when you tell people that WE, the State of Israel, ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN, because we knowingly, with our eyes wide open, hired a Palestinian convict and let him loose in a bulldozer – people look at you like you’ve fallen from Mars.)
And now? Now what is happening? How are we reacting? The government is questioning the legitimacy of demolishing this man’s HOME in East Jerusalem. As far as they are concerned, It’s one thing to demolish a person’s at least three people’s LIVES, but is it really appropriate to demolish their HOMES?
Just a couple of weeks ago, I heard on the radio that a Palestinian from East Jerusalem was distraught that his olive trees were going to be destroyed, because Israel was erecting a security barrier.
The bottom line is simple: In a country where murder is considered a “natural reaction” from the Arabs, but where it is questionable and even reprehensible to destroy OLIVE TREES and HOMES, is it any wonder that a six-month-old baby is going to grow up without her mother? There is nothing heroic about not defending your own.
The victims of the bulldoze rampage were innocent civilians going about their daily business, and traveling through the city. They are not just victims of senseless hatred and sadism from the Arabs, but they are victims of the State of Israel, who value their pockets and political careers over human life.
A six-month-old baby is robbed of her mother, and a bereft man is robbed of his wife. Two others are dead. Sixty others are injured. And we only have ourselves to blame. I am deeply ashamed.