Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? I certainly do. I can tell you ever moment of that day and the next.
Do you remember where you were on:
January 1, 2001 when car bomb exploded in Netanya? Or on February 8, 2001 when a car bomb exploded in Jerusalem? Or on February 14, 2001 when a bus plowed into soldiers in Tel Aviv? Or on March 1, 2001 when a bomb exploded in a taxi? Or on March 4, 2001 when a bomber exploded himself in Netanya? Or on March 27, 2001 when a car bomb exploded in Talpiot? Or on March 27, 2001 when a bomb exploded in French Hill? Or on March 28, 2001 when a bomber exploded himself at a gas station in Jerusalem? Or on April 22, 2001 when a bomber exploded himself in Kfar Saba? Or on April 23, 2001 when a car bomb exploded near Ben Gurion Airport? Or on April 29, 2001 when a car bomb exploded close to a school bus near Nablus? Or on May 8, 2001 when Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran were stoned to death in Tekoa? Or on May 18, 2001 when a bomber exploded himself in Netanya? Or on May 25, 2001 when a car bomb exploded in Hadera? Or on May 27, 2001 when a car bomb exploded in Jerusalem? Or on May 30, 2001 when a car bomb exploded in Netanya outside of a school? Or on June 1, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up at the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium? Or on July 2, 2001 when two bombs exploded in Tel Aviv? Or on July 16, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up in Binyamina? Or on August 8, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up near B’kaot Moshav? Or on August 9, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up at Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem? Or on August 12, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up in the Wall Street Cafe in Kiryat Motzkin? Or on August 21, 2001 when a bomb exploded in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem? Or on September 4, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up near the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem? Or on September 9, 2001 when a suicide bomber blew himself up near Nahariya? Or on September 9, 2001 when a car bomb exploded near Netanya? Or on October 1, 2001 when a car bomb exploded in Talpiot? Or on October 7, 2001 when a bomber exploded himself near the entrance of Kibbutz Sheluhot in the Beit She’an Valley? Or on November 29, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up on the Egged 823 bus near Tel Aviv? Or on December 1, 2001 when two bombers blew themselves up on BenYehuda Street in Jerusalem? Or on December 2, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up on Egged bus No. 16 in Haifa? Or on December 5, 2001 when a bomber blew himself up on King David Street in Jerusalem? Or on December 9, 2001 when a bomber exploded a bomb in Haifa?
This is only the partial list of terror attacks experienced by Israelis in 2001. No one could possibly remember where they were on the day of each of these incidents – the idea of it is simply absurd.
This is our LIVES.
It is hard, if not impossible, to make people around the world understand what we endure in Israel each day. September 11th was a horrific, bone-chilling, despicable act. It sent America reeling and dramatically changed American foreign policy, immigration standards, airplane regulations and more.
Look at the list above from Israel. This is what Israel experienced during the same year when September 11th occurred. It’s almost unimaginable. Actually, as I sat down to write the list, I had no idea that it would be this long. I started copying events from the year 2001, and after awhile I thought, “Oh come on! It simply can’t keep going and going and going.”
But it does.
And we, unlike anywhere else in the entire world, are expected to live with it. And to figure out civil ways to respond.
One of my friends wrote a blog yesterday about how his daughter can’t sleep and that, while he isn’t being stopped by terror, she is. And that it’s completely unacceptable.
Well, you know what? I’d like to say that I’m not being stopped by terror either and that I’m sleeping well in my home and functioning just fine.
But I’m not.
My kids aren’t scared, although I’m not sure why. And I don’t let them see my fear. But I am scared.
And that fear enrages me.
Why should I be made to be fearful in my homeland? Why should I have to think about anything more mundane on a given day then how to pay for my son’s orthodontist bill?
Before we made Aliyah, there was a sniper who wreaked havoc on our lives in Washington, D.C. for three weeks in the Fall of 2002. It was a completely debilitating and terrifying time.
When we were discussing making Aliyah about a year after the sniper incident, my very wise father pointed out to me that I had been completely terrorized by the sniper. How, he wanted to know, was I going to function in Israel when this type of terror was the norm?
He had a very good point.
My answer then, and my answer now, was that being in Israel and being part of the continuing history of the Jewish people and the building of the State of Israel simply had to override my fears.
So, I live with my fears because my presence here matters. It matters every day and every minute that I continue living here and functioning, despite the best efforts that these terrorists make to paralyze me.
And while I’m afraid when these incidents occur, and furious that I’m made to feel afraid, my life continues.
Right after the bus bombing yesterday, I sat down and wrote a Facebook post that clearly struck a nerve and went viral (to my utter surprise). Before I knew it, I was seeing the post on my friends’ FB pages and then on their friends’ pages as my message of frustration spread across the world. The post said:
“News flash: Family in Potomac, Maryland massacred in their sleep, bomb hits outside D.C. convention center injuring dozens and killing at least one; dozens of bombs continue falling in Fairfax, Virginia. Do I have your attention? Is this completely insane and far fetched? Then why is it commonplace here??????”
Why, indeed. When will it end?
I don’t know.
But, what I do know is that, while I’m fearful, I’m not paralyzed by it. I am, instead, propelled by my anger and outrage. I am amazed by how strong Israelis continue to be in the face of the unimaginable and I am, as always, committed to staying and to building this beautiful and important Land.
Some of us may be scared. But, what we aren’t doing is leaving.