ISRAEL, May 3, 2013 — My dad once sent me into a busy store to drop off a check we owed them while he waited double-parked in the car. He figured all I needed to do was push through the throngs of people and hand over the check and get out of there. I stood in the back of the store, waiting my turn for nearly 45 minutes. My dad, in frustration, eventually left the car in the middle of the street, grabbed the check, handed it to the store owner within 20 seconds and walked out. The moral of the story being I, Doni Kandel, am a wuss.
I have been living in the rough-and-tumble culture of Israel for over seven years now and one would think (and my father has told me on many occasion that he prays daily) that it will toughen me up. I’m better than before but I can’t really say I’m a true success story.
Thus, as I drove down highway 443 last week (a highway shared by both Israeli and ‘Palestinian citizens’) and hit an unexpected amount of traffic I immediately became worried.
Then I saw this…
A giant black pillar of smoke (no pun intended) is NEVER a good sign in Israel and I panicked. I called a bunch of people asking them to please check the internet to see if there was a suicide bomb attack reported. I stayed in my car, locked the doors and stayed very still (seemingly my only emergency training harkens back to my days growing up in Los Angeles where staying still in a sheltered place is good for earthquakes…bombs probably not as much).
And then I noticed something peculiar. All of the other Israelis, with their cars stuck in traffic, started to get out and walk around.
At first I thought they were going to see what the holdup was and initially they were. However, after they saw the source, they remained out of their cars striking up conversation with one another and smoking cigarettes. One couple even started walking their dog…ON THE HIGHWAY!
I rolled my window down and asked a passing Israeli why we were at a standstill and with the most casual tone I have ever heard, he responded “bus caught on fire” and walked away.
I was stunned. This is a country that has suffered far too many bus bombings over the past few decades and one would think a bus on fire would trigger some terrible post-traumatic stress. Instead everyone was taking the opportunity to enjoy the nice weather and take a stroll on the highway gravel with their pets in tow.
I, Doni Kandel may be a wuss, but damn if Israelis, and thus Israel, isn’t the strongest nation in the world!
I then saw the bus…
It looked like the scene I have seen far too many times on the news after a suicide attack. It shook me to my core, but not one Israeli seemed to notice. It was stunning and inspiring all at once.
A final note on that stunning day on the highway: I noticed the car stuck in traffic next to me…
Life is ironic isn’t it? I was wondering if the good Humanitarian Workers of the Red Cross were as frightened as I was. I was wondering if they feared that another Palestinian or Arab-Israeli had carried out another heinous act of slaughter…but I doubted it.
Instead all I see in the news are calls from the UN, the EU, just about every other international organization for Israel and even the delirious Israeli left to stop protecting ourselves, stop being stubborn and come back to the negotiating table.
To negotiate with who? The ‘moderate’ (lol) Fatah group who’s Facebook page just praised the murderer of a father of five in the Gush Etzion block?! Their leader, and ‘apparent last hope for peace’, Mahmoud Abbas, who admitted to sending terrorists into Israel?! The father of the stabber who declared his pride for his son’s actions?! The PA Mufti who calls to kill Jews in the name of Islam?!
Yes Mr. Obama, yes Mr. Kerry and yes Mrs. Ashton please tell me if these are people we should sit down at a table and negotiate with. I would imagine most people would be more likely to lunge across the table and attack these miscreants if this were any other country in any other circumstance.
Which brings me back to my point. Terrorism will not scare us back to any table and it will not diminish our resolve. World-renowned Counter-Terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman, in a segment of his definition of “terrorism” includes that the act must “involve violence or the threat of violence. Terrorism is specifically designed to have far-reaching psychological effects beyond the immediate victim(s) or object of the terrorist attack. It is meant to instill fear within, and thereby intimidate, a wider `target audience’ that might include a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country.”
What I witnessed on the 443 was a nation that had no fear. It was a nation so strong that while a wimpy American cowers in his car, they rushed towards the smoke to see if there were any injured people who may need assistance.
So let me make this very clear to the terrorists, quasi-terrorists, and all the left-wing marble-mouths who think Israel can be intimidated into surrender.
Israel is very strong and resilient. We are not going anywhere so perhaps it is time to wake up and try something new, maybe even open up your minds and see reality for once.
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