Monday, July 03, 2006

The path of most resistance

In Sydney, I used to be jealous of all my friends that caught the ferry to work. They got on at Rose Bay, enjoyed the harbour views on the way to work arrived without the stress of morning traffic and there was always something to talk about. ‘Did you see so and so on the ferry?’, ‘I can’t believe ‘x’ ignored me on the ferry today!’, ‘Oh, I know him from the ferry…’. I wanted to work in the city, so I could be a part of the ferry crew….

Modes of transport to work, has been occupying my head space for a while now. Here in Israel, I either catch the 14 if I am on time or the 18 bus if I am late. I start either route towards the end of Emek Refaim and then if I am on the 14 it goes up Keren Hayesod, which in turn becomes King George at the Junction between Azza/Ramban/Agron. The path of the 18 is down King David St and then along Yaffo past Ben Yehuda.

The view that catches my eye along both routes that does not escape my thoughts and I really wonder if other people notice it as well, is that both these routes traverse the path of major sites of terrorist attacks over the past few years. I notice the Jerusalem stone memorial plaques and now my trained eye almost even searches for them unconsciously.

I remember noticing one that I hadn’t seen before, co-incidentally at the same moment that I heard on the radio that there had been an attack this year Pesach near the central Bus Station in Tel Aviv.

I am not trying to be morbid, this is merely an observation and a comparison to something that we probably don’t usually pay attention to because we may be used to looking for harbour views.

I think that this road trip that I take everyday, in me and maybe in larger society creates an undertone. For me seeing these plaques all the time is a reminder, others may not even notice it, perhaps it adds another wrinkle to another person’s brow, but I can’t ignore them, to me they are like Wally’s striped shirt.

The undertone rumbles ever now and again, and in light of the latest events, I cannot extricate the one from the other. For me, Operation Summer Rains is not some ‘tit for tat’ response like it appears in the news: - ‘You kidnapped our soldier so we are going to retaliate and blow up your Prime Minisiter’s office’. It runs so much deeper into the heart of the streets I travel to work every day.

For me Israel is saying ‘Stop making graveyards of our main thoroughfares’. Israel does not need to bury another soldier because of the militant arm of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, they have buried enough. Israel disengaged from Gaza last year in an effort to make Peace, to give the Palestinian People a chance to govern themselves, even if that meant that we would still be supplying water, electricity and medical services when necessary . Since then Qassam rockets from Northern Gaza have been fired constantly into the nearby town of Sderot, there has been no move by the Palestinian People to reign in the people responsible for these attacks, making statements is not enough and frankly if you want to be independent then part is this is being responsible for the violence that your people are perpetrating.

Israel is more than capable of living side by side with other religions. Christians are more than welcome to Israel, they freely visit their sacred sites, celebrate their festivals and walk freely amongst Israeli’s. Arab’s who reside within Israel’s borders can and do the same, they are invited to participate in our parliament and are even members of the Knesset. They receive the same health care, they can walk the streets of Israel, shop in the same supermarket as me, and catch the same bus. This is not a sign of a country that oppresses, this is a sign of a democratic state.

To me a sign of a people that oppress is those who do not educate their children that they live on the border with a country which has a right to exist, and recognise its freedom. The freedom and democratic right, to catch a bus to work. Instead it breeds extremism and sends terrorists in to blow up innocent people.

At some point Israel has to put its foot down and say enough. We won’t tolerate any more. What choice do they have?

This is what I think about on the way to work when I see these plaques below, and I imagine the harbour views of Sydney on occasion. I wonder how many of you are imagining the streets of Jerusalem…so below are pictures to ponder.

(The first pic is meant to come last, but hey it's nearly 3am and I just figured out how to use flickr so cut me some slack, after the pics I have listed the dates of the attacks)

Cafe Hillel 9/9/03, Caffit: attempted attack 7/03/02, Bus 14 22/2/04, Shlomzion Hamalka 3/3/96, Ben Yehuda 2/12/01, Ben Yehuda 4/9/97.


Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

Superb post! Great to have you back.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Shmulik said...

What an excellent post. I just found your blog not that long ago. I completely agree with what you've said, particularly, "At some point Israel has to put its foot down and say enough. We won’t tolerate any more. What choice do they have?" This is the point that most critics of Israel out here in the diaspora simply don't understand.

6:48 AM  
Blogger ifyouwillit said...

My commute to work gives me an hour and a half of thinking time a day, and more often than not, all of us in the car get to talking politics, but one thing I am greatful for, is the chance to spend that time driving through the hills of the country on a daily basis, rather than being stuck on a tube under the streets of London.

The plaque marking the 22/2/04 bomb on the #14 stirs me when I pass it every day. That was the first time I was in Jerusalem, possibly the country, at the same time as a pigua.

No ferries here, but plenty to think about.

6:31 AM  

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