Friday, August 12, 2005

Thoughts before 9 B'Av

Everyone has their own first-year-in-Israel memories. Here are some of mine.....
coming back from Ranana Saturday night, I get dropped off near town. I decide to walk through town and then go to my friends apartment. As I get near King George I hear a massive noise, at once I cant identify it, but I know what it is. A moment later, another equally loud noise. All around me people panic, all running towards town. Not knowing what to do, I run with them. The first thing I see is a grown man, screaming in pain, holding his head, while blood flows down his arms. I keep walking, barely able to breath, my legs moving on their own. I remember the noise of the screaming, of people running around. I looked down as I walked, the ground covered in pieces of glass and blood. i remember the feeling of revulsion going through me as I had to walk on it. To my right, was a leg. Covered in pants and a shoe, the leg lay there on its own. I dont remember how, but at some point it became clear that it was the leg of the bomber. I remember hearing sirens, not from ambulances, since they hadnt arrived yet, but from the stores lining the street. I walked through the whole street, kept walking, not stopping til I got to my friends apartment. On the way, I was passed by humdreds of Charaidim, all throwing on their Hatzala vests as they ran to the scene. I got to my friends, they were inside watching a movie, didnt even know what happened ten minutes away from them. I just sat there and didnt move, the shock turning into shame that I hadnt been able to stop and help. I dont know what I couldve done, but I know I did nothing. 11 people were killed, and 188 were wounded that night....
Fast forward a month and a half. I had forced myself to go back to town, saying that I will not allow terrorists to dictate where I go. I still felt fluttering in my heart every time I came near, but I still went. There was a meeting for supporters of Cherut, an extreme right wing political party, at Cafe Rimon. So in the middle of the afternoon, I went to town, to attend the meeting. It started to rain, so I quickly walked down Yaffa street and turned towards the cafe. I saw a friend of mine who had also come for the meeting, and we stood under an awning talking. Suddenly we heard another noise I had never heard before, outside of movies. I looked up, trying to place it, when my friend grabbed my arm. Theyre shooting at us, he yelled at me, and we ran into the closest building. We went up two flight of stairs and saw an office door open, with a window that faced the street. Their was a man leaning out the window, trying to signal to the police where the terrorist was shooting from. I looked outside, and saw people laying in the street, the police were slowly coming forward but they didnt know where the shooter was, so they were proceeding very cautiously. The terrorist was still shooting, and I feared he would look up, and shoot the man in front of me. I sat down, not able to watch, the sound of sirens etching into my brain The police finally killed him. He had been shooting from an alley behind a bus stop. A few hours later, I walked down Yaffa, after it had been cleared up. There were a group of people holding up signs, "Peace Now", "The occupation is illegal", and other such stuff. I was shocked at their callousness. On the other side of the road were people holding "Kahana was right" signs. I was sickened by both sides, each trying to advance their cause on the bodies of the people I had seen fall. I walked to where the shooter had been standing, and saw bullet holes in the shoe store that was next to him. Someone pointed out to me that the shoe store was one of the very few stores in that area with a sign in Arabic-that they were, in effect, welcoming in the very people that shot up their store. One of the strongest emotions I felt at that time was despair at my inability to do anything. Why did I have to keep running? 2 people were killed that day, and 40 wounded....
Fast forward a few months. I'm sitting with a friend, having a shwarma at a place on King George, discussing the bombing we had both been at. We hear an ambulance and we both stop talking. Then another, and another, and another. We both know what it is. My friend gets up and says he has to see what happened. I tell him I've seen enough. I stay in the schwarma place, and a few minutes later a news bulletin comes on that a bomb went off in Cafe Moment on Azza Street. 11 killed, 54 injured.....
These are obviously only a few of my memories from that year. I toured the entire country, vacationed in Eilat, spent Fridays in Tel Aviv, spent two days going up north giving presents to children with cancer. both on chanuka and purim, seeing a menora in front of every city, danced with Chabad and Breslov in town, learned how to tremp, how to bargain, how to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut (by running through town spraying everyone with foam), and everything else there is to learn in a year here. But the sound of screaming, of sirens, will never be far from the front of my mind.

2 Comments:

Blogger iSrAeLiWannab said...

powerful

6:41 AM  
Blogger Veev said...

Dav,

It was hard to read, but I'm glad I know.

6:57 AM  

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