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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dangers All Over, Hebron and Connecticut

No place, no matter how seemingly pastoral is guaranteed to be safe.  Guns are no joke, even fake ones.  It seems like the latest "playing chicken" the Arabs are doing here is pretending to attack with a fake gun.  Traffic on the major roads of Judea and Samaria are always disturbed by Arabs daring Jewish drivers to run them over.

Now the big scandal of sorts is that an IDF solider did exactly as trained and charged.  She saw an Arab take a gun to a border policeman so she shot the Arab.  She should be congratulated on her excellent aim and quick response.  There was a minor problem, that it wasn't a real gun.  I agree with Ruthie Blum who wrote an excellent article about it.
But what makes our Israeli sons and daughters true heroes and heroines is that they continue to enter the battlefield while being given mixed messages by the defense establishment.

Are they supposed to shoot to kill the enemy, or take him to the hospital? Should they put themselves at peril so as not to incur the wrath of the international community? Need they consult with a lawyer about the wisdom of fighting first or fighting back?

That they manage to do this delicate dance on a daily basis, when faced with enemies who know this about them and take advantage of it, is a testament to their greatness. They deserve to be saluted by all, not damned by any, for doing a job that also requires refraining from doing it, depending on the political climate.
There are times you must just respond.  And there are "tricks" that aren't funny.  Every year when the Purim "festivities" begin, generally two weeks early, from Rosh Chodesh (the first of the Jewish Month of) Adar many of us go into panic attacks as kids think it funny to shoot off cap guns.  For some very misguided reason, they think it's a great mitzvah to make that painful frightening noise when Haman's name is said during the readings of Megillat (the Scroll of) Esther.  Why they practice it for days, weeks before is even less comprehensible to me.  I tell kids that they may get shot by security, if they look and sound suspicious.  I'm serious.  Late one night last summer, a young mother (whose husband was away at the time) I know hid in terror with her children, because she was certain the "blasts" she kept hearing were Arab terrorists' weapons.  After a long period of quiet she took all the kids to sleep with her.  She contacted security and later found out that neighbors were making a party and had fireworks.  We're used to seeing and hearing the fireworks in nearby Arab villages, but not a street away.

In Israel, there's more security than in Connecticut.  Even if there isn't an armed guard, in most schools there are teachers who carry licensed weapons and know how and when to use them.

I used to visit not far from Newtown, Conn. when I was growing up.  I had relatives there and actually still do, as a new generation is growing up in that general area.  When I turned on the computer after Shabbat and learned of the deadly massacre I went into a panic, since my cousin's granddaughter goes to a school like that.

Here in Israel, we know there are dangers, and we do our best to defend ourselves.  Our dangers are usually easier to pick out, because they are the results of an ideology, Arab terrorism, that wants us dead.  That's why our security uses profiling pretty successfully.  In the United States, every few months we hear of a "surprise shooter" who terrorizes and kills for whatever disturbed reason that triggered him.  These terrorists  are harder to predict.

Comfort to the mourners and refuah shleimah, complete recovery to the injured.

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