‘Quiet’ in Israel is a relative term.
If the only people being stabbed and shot at are soldiers / border police, then for most people in the country that’s considered to be pretty quiet. That’s how the human brain works to try to distance the self from the surrounding danger and the rising feelings of panic that can accompany it.
“It’s only border police / soldiers that the Arabs are targeting, so I don’t have to worry too much…”
When I was writing The Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife (which you can get on Amazon HERE and on the Book Depository HERE), it definitely wasn’t ‘quiet’, even according to this crazy definition of ‘quiet’.
At that point two years’ ago, everyone felt like they were a potential target, and that a crazy Arab could try and stab them – with a variety of sharp weapons – or try and run them over anywhere and everywhere.
That was such a stressful time.
Both my children were in school in the Old City, and were frequently walking past all these places where just yesterday someone else had got stabbed to death, God forbid.
So, compared to how it was two years’ ago, even with all the ongoing attacks on the border police that have been happening five minutes away from where I live, it’s still felt relatively ‘quiet’, relatively safe.
But now, I’m starting to feel that the ‘quiet’ is vanishing again.
There’s a lot of sirens going on, there’s a lot of police. My kids are starting to tell me scary stories again, like for example:
One of my kid’s 14 year old friends lives in Ir David, just outside the Old City walls on the slope down to Silwan village. A couple of days’ ago, this friend was surrounded by a gang of Arab teenagers, just a few metres away from her home, and one of them pulled out a gun.
The girl screamed, made a mad dash for home and somehow broke through the circle. The police were called, and the Arab was arrested.
Baruch Hashem, the only thing that happened is that my kid’s friend has probably now got a severe case of PTSD that’s going to need some urgent attention….
The same kid told me how the Old City is now full of ‘yassamnikim’. When I asked her what that actually was, she told me:
“It’s a type of police that only have men, and they can kill you with one punch.”
Or something like that. I.e. the toughest guys the police have.
Usually, the Jews in the Old City are policed by magavnikim, who still carry guns, but have a much more peaceful, quiet reputation locally.
As these stories start to pile up again, my inner sense of peace and quiet starts to dissolve.
In September, neither of my kids will be learning in the Old City anymore. They are both at the stage of going to Ulpana. But my husband is now there every day – learning in the Shuvu Banim yeshiva in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, just behind the Kotel.
And it’s not like Jerusalem is the only place starting to feel the heat again. One of my kid’s best friends is going to Ulpana in Neve Tzuf (aka Halamish). Yes, that Halamish where three Jews were just brutally stabbed to death during their Shabbat meal on Friday night…
It could be this is just another temporary flare up, connected to the very inauspicious time of the year we’re currently in. I hope so.
But it seems to me that things have been building up to a head for three years’ now, and that despite all the Government’s loud announcements that ‘they aren’t changing the status quo on the Temple Mount’, God actually may have other plans.
In fact, it’s almost a cast-iron rule that whatever the Israeli Government loudly and confidently announces about matters of security, the truth is usually the exact opposite. So, it seems to me the ‘status quo’ in Jerusalem is changing, despite the Government.
Things are heating up again.
The relative quiet is fast disappearing.
This morning, I was talking to God about the new, low-level panic I’m feeling again (amongst other classic PTSD symptoms…) and I was explaining to Him:
“God, I know this stuff is all leading to a good place. But You know what? I have zero energy, zero tolerance for anymore craziness in my life, or in Jerusalem. I’ve been dealing with stabbings, shootings, running-overs for three whole years, and I feel like I have no reserves left to deal with any more stuff like that.
“Please God, if You are changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, let it come the sweet way, without more Jews being murdered, and without me spending any more time half-panicked that my family is out on the streets when another cacophony of sirens explode…”
Things have been teetering on the edge of utter madness in Jerusalem for years, already, When God is ready to shove it over the cliff, we’ll have the geula. But I hope these last pangs before the birth of Moshiach aren’t going to be too difficult to bear.