Chaim called a few minutes ago. I updated him on the chocolate war; he updated me on how he's feeling. He sounds good...and then I heard gunfire.
"Was that gunfire?" I stupidly asked. It's almost 11:00 p.m. here in Israel.
"Yes," Chaim answered.
"Where are you?" I asked him a bit sharply.
"In Jenin," he said. I honestly felt my heart trip for a second. I should confess - I was up early, early this morning, drove four hours to and from a client; worked onsite 9 hours, drove home to deal with stuff here and had yet another teleconference meeting when that was done.
Why would he be in Jenin? Why would he be on the phone with me in the middle of a gun battle? I don't want him to be in the middle of Jenin in the middle of the gun battle. He's in the advanced training stage of his service. They would only take him into such an area after he is fully trained. Jenin is now one of the quietest of the Arab cities, though there was a time it was among the most vicious.
Jenin is where, once again, the world believed the lies...to the point of absurdity. There's the old joke about the stupid (insert whatever ethnic, religious group you want) who was so stupid, that when the single-passenger plane crashed into the cemetery, the townspeople dug up over 100 bodies. This is the story of Jenin. Something like 52 people were killed during a military operation meant to clean out terrorist cells in the city. Soldiers went door to door, street to street. Any other army would simply have flattened the entire terrorist base, despite it being the the middle of a city. Israel sent in troops and the final casualty toll on our forces was catastrophic...and 52 Arabs died. Most were armed combatants.
The news was flooded with reports - a massacre, a tragedy, a horrific operation, even a holocaust. Dozens, no hundreds, over one thousand screamed the media, over 5,000 dead yelled the Palestinians. In the end, the UN confirmed 52 deaths. Jenin is a city that brings back the memories that the world is stupid enough to believe anything. And though Jenin has been quiet for many years, it doesn't take much to bring back the memory of when it wasn't quiet.
I'm tired and clearly not thinking quickly. Still, it didn't take THAT long for reality to filter in.
"You are not," I said after the absurdity got through to me.
And he laughed - and made it all worthwhile. Yes, one point for Chaim - he got me for a second, but I'm not upset because, as I posted earlier, I redeemed the chocolate hostages, so life is good.
Just one thing - Chaim warns me that there might be a response and I should be prepared. It just might be, Chaim thinks, that the Hershey battle is not yet done.
As for Chaim, he's safe on base - shooting practice. He's safe. He's with his unit. It's very pleasant outside. Shmulik is home for the weekend. My older daughter and son-in-law are coming for Shabbat. Life is good. Thank you, God, for all the blessings You have given to me. Shabbat shalom.