Because I don’t have a lot of media access or newspapers in my house, I either just don’t hear the news, or I hear it first-hand. On Rosh Hashana, for example, I knew the arabs were starting up again in the Old City because I got caught in an ‘incident’ in the shuk on the way to daven the first day, and then on the second day we closed the windows in the lady’s section of the synagogue to drown-out the loud chanting of ‘Allah Akbar’ coming from outside.
But if I don’t hear it first-hand, I usually don’t know anything about what’s going on, and I’ve found that’s actually a good thing. When the violence erupted in Jerusalem last year, every attempted stabbing, tram attack or murderous hit-and-run was happening 5 minutes from my house. I couldn’t stay abreast of the situation and stay sane, so I trusted that God would let me know if there was anything really important I needed to know, and otherwise kept my head down.
'Increased Arab Terror'
Last week, I happened to read something on a Jerusalem Post front page that was talking about increased ‘arab terror’ on the Temple Mount. Curious, I came home and asked my kid who goes to school in the Old City if she’d heard anything. She shrugged her shoulders and said: ‘Nothing much, except the arabs tried to stab my friend’s neighbor.’
I laughed nervously and changed the subject. Is it good that my kids are apparently so unfazed by the craziness blossoming all around them, or not? That’s another question I’m adding to the ‘unanswerable’ pile.
In the meantime, Succot happened, and with it came a renewed round of terrorism here in Israel. One man got stoned while driving his car in the Arnona neighbourhood of Jerusalem, lost control of his car and then died in the resulting crash. I did what I’ve learned to do in these situations, and shrugged it off. Worrying about ‘what will be’ is never helpful, and can be permanently exhausting and paralyzing, to boot.
Does that mean I’m getting too inured to what’s going on? Maybe. Another question for the ‘unanswerable’ pile.
Shlomo Katz, Yonatan Raizel, and the bomb at Kever Rachel
On Thursday, my husband and I went to hear a roof-top concert in the old city with Shlomo Katz, that had the most amazing view of Har Habayit. As the helicopters chuttered overhead (which is pretty unusual in Jerusalem, and only happens when there’s arab unrest going on), Shlomo recounted what had happened before the concert he’d played just yesterday, with the Raizel brothers in Kever Rochel.
“Yonatan Raizel was grabbing some sleep in his car before the concert started, when he suddenly heard this huge explosion right next to him. The arabs had tried to throw a bomb at him. There was some crazy energy at Kever Rachel after that,” he said, while strumming a gorgeous Carlebach niggun on his electric guitar.
Like I said, God always gives me my news first-hand.
The open miracle
Then today, an open miracle: my 14 year old woke up before midday, and was upset she hadn’t got up earlier. Whaaat? What were my ears hearing? She explained that there had been a double murder the day before on the road to Itamar in the Shomron, and parents of six kids had been shot dead by arab terrorists while their kids watched from the back seat. My daughter was off to join in the national day of prayer, and protests against arab terror.
I was half pleased, and half petrified. ‘Maybe, I should keep her at home until it all calms down a bit?’ I wondered to myself. Another question for the ‘unanswerable’ pile, as who knows if it’s ever going to calm down? And who knows if praying for Jewish victims and protesting against arab murderers isn’t exactly the best response?
Objectively, things appear to be getting pretty crazy out there. But internally, I feel like this is bizarrely going to be a good year for Am Yisrael. How these two things go together is another question for the ‘unanswerable’ pile. But I’m hopeful that this year may start to bring us some amazing answers and revelations, and soon.