Saturday, February 22, 2014

Am I supposed to read that?

I love that most of my kids don't actually read this blog - it gives me a freedom I wouldn't have, if I thought they were actually listening. I have to deal with the fact that Amira does, Lauren mostly, but the boys...not at all.

I shared a post on Facebook as Aliza was sitting next to me. "Am I supposed to read that?" she asked.

No, I told her, you don't have to. "Oh, good," was her response.

She's in the kitchen making herself something to eat now. She's singing quietly to herself. There is something infinitely comforting to have your child singing that way.

I can't make out the words - it doesn't really matter. She's making herself her favorite noodles - with cheese.

In the meantime, it's a good quiet, mostly anyway. David called from Poland a few minutes ago. He's on a bus heading towards Lodz and in a few hours, he will be going to Treblinka.

Treblinka was one of the hardest places to visit simply because almost nothing is there. It is up to you to imagine what once was. There are 17,000 stones, representing the Jewish communities of Poland before the war. Compared to Israel, Poland is huge and so to travel from place to place, geographical realities force you to make a huge circle.

You fly into and out of Warsaw - from there, you draw a circle. Some trips start from Treblinka and end with Maidanek; others, like mine and now Davidi's, start with Maidanek and end with Treblinka. I think that is smarter. It's all there, in Maidanek - the gas chambers, the crematoria, the ashes, the collections of possessions.

If you see Maidanek, you can imagine Treblinka. A trip to Poland forever changes you. There is nothing like the reality of being in a gas chamber...knowing you stand where thousands died. Israeli groups visit the concentration camps in large groups and carrying Israeli flags. We need to make this statement. Our people were here once; we have returned, but we come with the power and the reality that we, Israel, will never allow you, whoever you are, to do again what you once did.

And so, with our Israeli flags, dressed as we are, we are stared at in these places. More, there is a recognition among other visitors. When we entered the gas chambers, other groups quickly left. While we were inside, other groups entered and either walked quickly passed us or went back outside to wait until we were finished.

Perhaps it was wrong of us, but we didn't wait. We went in and claimed our place - this is where OUR grandparents and great grandparents died. You come as visitors, we come as mourners. I can't really explain it.

Davidi sounded good on the phone - he is looking forward to coming home. I will see him again in about 36 hours. They will land at the airport before dawn on Monday morning and will go straight to the Western Wall. They will come back as stronger Jews, stronger Israelis.

It is a trip that changes your life, focuses you more on why it is so very important that there be an Israel.

I asked Davidi if he was writing down what he was experiencing. He said he didn't know how. I thought of that when Aliza asked if she was supposed to read my articles.

Part of being a parent is accepting that your way may not be theirs. So, no, she doesn't have to read and he doesn't have to write. It is enough that she sings in the kitchen; that he shares this experience with his friends and teachers.

A new week has begun in Israel - it will be a long one but most important of all, it brings Davidi home where he belongs.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

When Sons Love You

I am blessed with three sons and two daughters. My daughters regularly tell me they love me and I regularly tell them the same. It is the way of daughters and the woman one has become and one will become. I naturally tell Lauren that I love her as well. It is harder with Shmulik's wife because our communication is done in Hebrew and for all that I have lived here for 20 years and speak it relatively well, it remains a language that requires more energy, more thinking. Now that I think about it, I feel bad that I've never told Naama that I love her too...something I'll fix next time I see her!

By contrast, it has almost always been harder to get my sons to tell me that they love me, though I probably tell them that I love them as much as I tell my daughters. It is the way of boys and to often, the men that they become.

Instead, what they cannot put into words, they put into action...if you are blessed.

This morning, Elie got into my car and said, "tell me you love me and I'll give you a surprise." I thought he was talking to Lauren - they have a wonderful relationship and I often hear them tell each other that they love each other. Then, he pulled out a speaker device for my phone. Our car's hands-free device has been funky lately and doesn't work. With the speaker, I can talk on the phone as I drive.

And later today, Shmulik sent me the most amazing picture. This too is a message of love. It's a beautiful picture he took with his new phone and the panorama feature. I have to ask him where he was...but I love that he thought to send it to me.

As for my youngest, Davidi is in Poland - I write to him and he writes back. It's not as cold as he expected it to be; it's hard visiting the places he is seeing. I tell him I love him...and hope he holds that close. The next time I see him, it will be at the Western Wall - this is where they take them immediately after they land.

For today, I hold onto their love and hope they know how very much I love them (all of them) so very much.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Ashes of a People

Davidi arrived safely in Poland. Today, he will visit the yeshiva in Lublin...and then on to Maidanek. I wrote this next part shortly after visiting there in 2003. It fills my mind today as I think of Davidi walking there, seeing the things I saw. haunts me still.


(taken from

Maidanek is one of the easiest death camps to understand because there is little need to imagine. When the Russian troops swept into Maidanek in July, 1944, the Germans didn’t have time to destroy the evidence, as they did in Auschwitz, Treblinka, and elsewhere. Here the gas chambers remain, with the stained residue of Zyklon-B gas on the ceiling and walls. Here the crematoria remain, still filled with the ashes of the last victims. Here the ashes remain.

Because it is so intact, Maidanek is also possibly one of the hardest camps to visit. It is a place of death, and death lingers in the air, in the ashes, and on the ground on which you walk. You stare at the houses that are but a few hundred meters from the camp perimeter and you wonder what kind of person can make a life so close to such death. Homes and gardens surround the camp. They open their windows in the morning, and see the crematoria. They entertain friends and play music, in the shadow of the mountain of ashes.

Once, they could have smelled the stench of burning bodies. The smell may be gone, but the air remains poisoned by the hatred. "What kind of person lives here?" I asked myself again and again.

Our guide took us to the door of the gas chamber...the first of several we would enter. "I'm going to take you in there," he said, and through my tears and the pounding in my ears, I heard him add, "and I'm going to take you out of there." Somehow he knew that we needed that encouragement, that promise.

As you walk into the crematoria, you see the table on which the Germans searched the corpses for hidden gold. Even in death, there was no dignity, no respect. You walk into the room with the ovens and through the tears, the horror becomes more real because you understand that it isn’t dust piling inside the ovens, but ashes that remain, even 60 years later, to hint of their anguish.

Worse, there is a mountain of ashes...yes, that's what they call it in Hebrew. A mountain...God alone knows how many bodies need to be burned to create such a huge amount of ashes. I stared at those ashes and finally understood that if Israel were to take all the remains - the ashes, the remains of those who lie in desecrated cemeteries as I so desperately wanted us to do in those first few days in Poland...there wouldn't be enough room in all of Israel to bury them. Poland is filled with the bones and ashes of 3 million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Just as we entered the crematoria building, the skies opened. Thunder and lightening raged across the land that had been sunny just moments before. It was not difficult to imagine that this was the anger and the tears of a God who still cries for His children, and I wonder if some of those tears aren’t for those who still, even today, are murdered simply because they are Jews.

Our guide showed us a room filled with shoes. He told us there were 800,000 shoes there. A small portion of shoes, perhaps a few hundred, are displayed in Yad Vashem. A few hundred or a few hundred thousand - the numbers are incomprehensible and so our guide once again helped us. He urged us to find a shoe, a single shoe, and let it tell us its story. Imagine who wore it, what dreams they had before the Nazis came and stole it from them.

I found one and took a picture. I thought of that shoe again and again while I was in Poland. Each shell of a synagogue we visited, each desecrated, over-grown cemetery, each building that to this day bears the trace of a mezuzah, the Hebrew lettering, the symbols of a religion and people hunted to the edge of extinction.

Though the Jewish people as a whole rose up from this abyss, Polish Jewry did not survive. Of the 3,325,000 Jews in Poland before the wore, only 325,000 survived. My great grandmother, Raizel didn't survive. Her daughters, Mary and Anna (Freida and Mina) didn't survive.

In the end, the story of that one shoe is the story of Polish Jewry. Destroyed, bereft, and unable to tell its full story.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Heart Distracted

I'm not sure what the right term is. My first thought in describing my heart today was to say it was broken, but that isn't true at all. Broken comes with the thought that I am sad...I'm not; or that something is isn't. So broken is is the phrase - in pieces.

When Elie went into the army, I realized that for many months at a time, no matter what I was doing, a piece of my heart remained focused on him, worrying or wondering where he was. I had a bit of an easier time with Shmulik, mostly because I had (or thought I had) a better sense of where he was.

When Amira was in labor, I was honored to be with her and so my heart wasn't distracted...if anything, it was more focused than ever on her. Aliza and Davidi have never split my heart...until now.

This morning, Davidi flew to Poland and my heart aches. It is really as simple as that. It hurts. Yesterday, I took two of my uncles and my cousin's daughter to Yad Vashem. Aliza joined us. Davidi didn't join us and to some extent, I was glad. He's see enough, I told myself as we walked through Yad Vashem. He's see enough.

Yad Vashem is Israel's Holocaust Memorial and Museum - it houses an unprecedented repository of knowledge, artifacts...pieces of the lives of countless murdered Jews who died simply because Hitler had a plan.

The new and modern complex built in the last few years is sleek. There is a single long hallway with rooms on either side. You are guided through a maze; fed the story of the Holocaust in pieces. Though it sits on level ground, it is like climbing the steepest of mountains. Each step takes you deeper and deeper into the Holocaust.

You begin with a map showing the pre-WWII Jewish populations of Europe. Immediately, I saw what was missing - the number that remained after the war. Yes, there were 3,325,000 Jews in Poland BEFORE World War II, but how many survived?

You walk through, your heart racing...knowing that with each step, you come closer. The beginning is a story in two pieces. First, remnants of the Jewish communities in Europe...and just across the hall but coming close, are the beginnings of Nazism stirring. The red flags with the swastikas bothered me. Shouldn't they have faded after all this time? Why are they so impossibly bright still to this day?

And then, the roundups, life in the ghetto...and survivors speaking on mounted screens...describing what it was like - the communities before, the beginnings, the camps.

By half-way through, you are debating - which ways is less painful - to go back or to go forward. There are no shortcuts. You have to walk and see and imagine.

Yes, those are real train tracks from Europe...oh God, that is the mangled metal left from the intensity of the heat and fires of the crematoria. Shoes - no, not the hundreds of thousands in Maidanek, but hundreds in Israel.

Find one shoe, I told my uncle and cousin and let it tell you a story...I don't know how effective it was...I only know how I felt when I heard those words in Poland.

We continued through, went to the Hall of Remembrance and finally to the Children's Memorial. I can describe with words what this room looked like and still it will never come close to experiencing it. It's very dark. Barely enough light to safely walk around - it was a room of darkness, lit only by some candles, infinitely reflected in what seemed to be mirrors or glass. It would be easy to imagine that the candles reflected so many times represented over 1 million for each Jewish child murdered during the Holocaust.

It was an agonizing trip for us through the halls of Yad will be an agonizing trip for Davidi. We sat before he left and made a list of names and for as many as I could, I described how they died and Davidi wrote it down next to the names.

He fell in the forest, too weak to get up. He told his cousins to go on without him. He remained behind, that smart young man who had so much promise before the Nazis came to Hungary. He died there alone; we don't know exactly when. His name was Shmuel...and today, my Shmuel carries his name.

He was newly married, that Passover holiday when the Germans came to my mother-in-law's childhood home. They took him with his new wife, never to be seen by the rest of the family. He died in Auschwitz. His name was Binyamin and today, Elie carries his name.

His name was Yehoshua. His youngest brother was caught by the Nazis. Yeshoshua climbed into the building and rescued his youngest brother, pushing him out of the building but was caught himself. He died...another was given his name but I hope someday one of my children will remember this name as well.

She was only 12 years old. A beautiful young girl when the Nazis came and took her to Auschwitz. Her name was Gavriella...and today, Elie's baby daughter carries her name.

All this, I told Davidi. All this he took on the plane with him. My heart is so torn, so distracted. My son is walking in places where his people were murdered, treated like animals. Dehumanized, gassed, beaten, starved, turned into ashes - ashes which he will see. It's killing me a bit inside to think of this.

I wanted him to go. I want him to see, to always remember. It's killing me a bit inside to think of him there.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Boycotting Israel Could Be Fatal

Wonder what Israel is doing? Here's an incredible sample...

So, if you think Israel is evil and you want to boycott her...don't forget to put this on the growing list of things you should really do without.

Boycotting Israel may kill you...seriously.


Moving Towards the Army

Davidi continues to move slowly towards the army while working to complete his final year in high school. It isn't easy - so many decisions that he has to make. He's balancing tests while preparing for the trip to Poland that will take place in just a few weeks.

He got his passport; has begun to think about the warm clothes that he needs and the suitcase he will carry. They are told that they must keep their passports with them at all times and had a security expert come to their school to speak to them. Poland is not considered the friendliest of places to visit when you are a pack of 70+ obviously Jewish young men on a quest to remember the crimes that were committed there during World War II.

And, in the midst of this, the school is sending the boys to various places so they can decide their paths. Some will go directly into the army, though this is probably the minority. It could happen as soon as August, but for others will be put off to the November gius (draft).

Some will choose to go to mechinot - pre-army preparation academies. For these boys, they will combine various interests as they are eased into an understanding of what the army will expect for them. Elie went to a fantastic mechina in Nokdim. There, he learned part of the time (Jewish religious studies) combined with hours physically getting stronger. He liked it so much, he opted for another year there, or part of it, before entering the army in March, 2007.

Another option - the one that Shmulik chose - was to attend a Hesder program. This is a combined program of study and army and lasts for 5 years. In Elie's case, he learned for almost two years and then entered the army on his own for three years. To say he was "on his own" isn't exactly true - he had the power and the support of the mechina and went back there when he could. After he finished the army, he maintained his connection to the  mechina and it was the mechina's amazing Rav Itamar, who performed Elie's wedding.

Shmulik's Hesder also brought him into contact with an amazing rabbi - though I think the connection has lessened since he left there. He learned at the hesder for the first 1.5 years, than did another 1.5 years in the army. In his case, as with most Hesders, he went in as a group and stayed with the group for much of the first 7 months in the army. After he finished 1.5 years in the army, he went back to the Hesder until he finished the program this past summer.

Davidi is weighing his options. He was thinking about going into the paramedic program, if they army accepted him. He looked into a Hesder program that is linked to this program and was accepted. Last week, he went to another Hesder, a new program that is just starting next year and he liked what he saw. He likes the idea of joining in, shaping a program that is developing. This Hesder seems to be different that it is shorter - only 4 years instead of 5, and also involves being in the army longer - 2 full years, instead of 1.5.

All these are ideas floating around in the head of a just-18 year old. Poland, the army...I can't help but compare what must be going through the heads of most 18-year-olds outside Israel.

What all this means for Davidi is that he has to make some decisions in the coming weeks and months. Big decisions. Life-shaping decisions.

What it means for me - watching from the sidelines. Learning to let him go, hopefully to fly. I don't love the idea of this new Hesder; I'd prefer him to go into a more established program, though the Rabbi founding the new one is quite impressive and does have an excellent background.

I want him to go to Poland...but mostly, I want him to have went to Poland and already be home safe. We bought him a new camera to take to Poland - very small, compact and perfect for the trip. We bought him a new watch...something that will likely go with him into the army.

And deep inside, there is this part of me that thinks of Davidi, the little boy. Eighteen years goes by in a fast. He's not little anymore. He's so special...

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lull Before Shabbat

I love Fridays - it is a release from the pressure of the week and all the things I needed to do and didn't. I should have; I didn't - push that to Sunday. Today is an isolated island connected to a day of such intense happiness and rest.

I did well this week. I started on Thursday - though I often can't. This week, I did the shopping early enough so that last night I was already able to cook the fish, the chicken, the soup, a hearty beans/chicken/meat/potatoes/barley/wheat mixture called cholent, and prepare the dough for the challah to rise overnight.

I have a bit more to cook, more to clean. I have laundry I need to hang in the wonderful Israeli sunshine that dries things even faster than the electric dryer I have upstairs. I don't love doing dishes, but hanging laundry is a pleasure because it is done standing on my balcony, overlooking the hills of Judea.

I woke this morning feeling that all is in control. How long that will last is anyone's guess. For now, I have Shabbat to prepare; cakes to make, a floor to wash.

Lauren isn't feeling well but still has to drag herself to a special Friday work-related meeting. Elie has a test. Amira stepped forward and offered to take little Michal overnight and now she is with me until Elie comes back from his test. They will join us for dinner later this evening.

Shmulik is coming for lunch tomorrow, along with Amira and Haim and their son. Yesterday, I went to the gan (nursery school) with Amira to pick Yosef David up...and as soon as he saw me, he ran past Amira, called out "Savta" and came to me. Rotten thing for a mother; amazing thing for a grandmother. And since the daughter loves her mother, she smiled and took it so gracefully.

Davidi and Aliza are home. So, it is a Shabbat that I am blessed to share with all my children and my two grandchildren. Rarely do you feel that life can't really get better than it is at this moment...

When it happens, I think the most important thing is to cherish the moment, thank God for it, and hope it lasts as long as possible.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tzeva Adom - Again

Moments after posting my last blog entry - again, my phone rang. Again Color Red alert - second time today - incoming missile.

It was aimed at Ashkelon - shot down by our Iron Dome Missile Defense system.

I'm sitting here - not exactly afraid to go back to the kitchen and continue cooking...but hesitant. Yes, hesitant - that's a good word. The sound of the phone calling out "Color Red...Color Red...Color Red..." over and over again is more than I can describe in words.

Bringing Terror to Your Phone

I just got a new's a Smartphone, cheap and powerful enough to be fun. The first thing I did was go the App store and download a bunch of really fun (and free) applications. I downloaded one that I had heard about and briefly tried out a few months ago.

This time, it worked. It terrified me, froze me in place. What it does is broadcast live the "Color Red" announcements alerting an area to an incoming missile. I was sitting quietly at my desk when I heard a muffled, strange sound. I realized it was coming from my phone.

I picked up the phone and held it as I listened, "Tzeva Adom. Tzeva Adom. Tzeva Adom." It took me a couple of seconds to realize it was the alert for an incoming missile. And sure enough, seconds later, it came through that a rocket had landed in an open field near Hof Ashkelon.

Why do you have that? My daughter asked me. It's one of those strange things - the need to know in as close to real time what is happening to people in this country. If they are awakened in the middle of the night; startled in the middle of the day, what right do I have to live in quiet and calm?

No, my terror didn't help anyone - and it wasn't really "terror" because even as my mind grasped and translated the words, not for a moment did I think the missile was coming here.

It's a strange feeling to known that a missile is flying towards your country and there is nothing you can do about it. You feel like there is something you should be doing but, of course, there is nothing.

The seconds pass; the missile lands; no injuries are confirmed...and left holding my phone. In southern Israel, tens of thousands of Israelis didn't have the luxury of freezing, as I did. Their "Tzeva Adom. Tzeva Adom. Tzeva Adom. Tzeva Adom...." announcement meant they had to run to shelter with mere seconds making the difference between shelter and tragedy.

It's a horrible application (and totally brilliant)...and I know that so long as there is an Israeli within rocket fire range, I won't uninstall it because it is one of the most important apps in the Android world. There are frivolous ones, silly ones, helpful ones - this one is none of those.

It is an application that broadcasts those agonizing seconds, brings terror to your phone in a way few other things can.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Greater Men Have Tried

Open Letter to John Kerry

Dear Secretary of State John Kerry:

Because of my respect for the United States, I will attempt to afford you the honor you think you so richly deserve. It’s hard to speak to you with anything but anger, hard to feel the need, again, to start from the beginning because you clearly choose to ignore history in your quest for glory. It is a quest destined to fail but its outcome, even, or more accurately especially, in failure, will hurt Israel.

Greater men than you have tried to make, to force, peace on the Middle East. I promise you, you will fail too. You will fail because you are not addressing the root cause of the problem. You, like so many before you, take the easy way out. Blame Israel. It is so easy to do, and so stupid.

I could speak to you of history – a history longer and greater than you can imagine.

I could speak to you of injustices – yes, our land is filled with the graves of those murdered for the unjust reason that they lived here, or traveled abroad, or ate in the wrong restaurant, or took the wrong bus.

I could speak to you of justice – of a population exchange similar to those that have taken place throughout history as nations settle between war and peace. They left their lands to go there, most voluntarily so that their invading brothers would have a clear path as they pushed the Jews into the sea. And our people, who left their homes and possessions in Arab lands, most forced, not voluntarily, and came here.

We fed our brothers, clothed them, gave them homes. And most importantly, we loved them and gave them the most precious of gifts – a future, a present, as integral parts of the land and people of this country. My neighbor, the family across the street – they live in the same houses that I do, drive the same cars, attend the same schools. He is an engineer (Yemen); he is a judge in the courts (Iraq). She is a nurse (France); she is a lawyer (Morocco). All my neighbors, though their grandparents came here with nothing.

And at the same time, across many borders, the Arabs put their “brothers” in refugee camps, all but starved them. They raised them to be embittered – not at those who kept them in squalor, but those they had hoped to defeat. They blame us and you are naive enough to blame us as well?

They chose war, John Kerry, while we chose compromise. And you would blame us for this horrible chain of the decades? They invaded – five Arab nations, in 1948. They attacked. WE chose peace; THEY chose war, and they have been, ever since.

In 1948, out of sheer desperation and determination, despite all odds, we won enough of our land to give us a measure of security…it lasted only 7 years, until they attacked again. But oh what we did in those 7 years, John, Kerry, oh what we did in our land in those years and the decades since!

We welcomed our refugees from Europe, from Arab lands. We built them tent cities and turned them into real cities. We conquered swamp land and made it habitable and we raised our children to dream that someday there would be peace. We created universities and schools and parks.

But the Arabs would have none of it. In 1948, in 1956, again in 1967 and again in 1973 and again and again, almost daily, we fight off their attempts to do in 2014 what they failed to do in 1948. They have not learned and amazingly enough, John Kerry, neither have you.

We have built and evacuated whole communities for the dream of peace; we have withdrawn from land in exchange for nothing but the hope that we could appease the “unappeasable.” We have agreed to ceasefire after ceasefire, knowing they would break it. And they never fail, do they? And Israel - while they amass an underground world of tunnels used to smuggle weapons (and drugs and women for prostitution), we have flown around the world to help others – from earthquakes, tsunamis, devastating storms, famine and more.

We have allowed the Arabs – yes, allowed them, to fire tens of thousands of missiles at our cities and we know they have more than 170,000 more rockets and missiles ready to try again. At any time and with no notice whatsoever, we have the power to flatten Gaza into the world’s largest, flattest parking lot. And each time they attack, we think of it and know we can’t do it, won’t do it. And you would blame us for the failure to make peace?

When we attempt to stop them, to push back their military capabilities, just a bit, we aim for the rocket launchers, the arsenals, the training camps while they aim for our cities – Beersheva, Shderot, Ashkelon, Netivot, Ashdod. And you would threaten us for the ongoing state of war?They have bombed Jerusalem, John Kerry. Jerusalem! They have fired at Tel Aviv - there is NO difference between Tel Aviv and London, Paris, New York. Would you do NOTHING if someone fired a dozen missiles at the heart of one of your major cities?

There cannot be peace until you recognize your enemy. There cannot be successful negotiations if you fail to understand those you would bring to the table. You fail on both counts.

After hearing that you threatened Israel unless the peace talks succeed, I can only conclude that your ignorance is even greater than I thought. I knew, years ago, that you had no clue what the Arab world is thinking, feeling, dreaming of. Now I know the same is true about Israel – you don’t understand us any better than you understand the Arabs and that amazes me.

Unlike the Arab world, Israel is an open society – read our newspapers, speak to the people on the street. No one will stop you and we won’t escort you with secret police to control your experience. Pick any town, city, village, settlement and you will hear the same thing. Pick any street, any person and ask them what they dream of, what they want for their children. We do not dream of glorious death and martyrdom for our sons. We dream that they will never have to even serve in the army.

I have friends who agonized over their sons going into the army. I could understand my agony, as I grew up in the United States where all my friends promised they would run away from the US before they would ever be drafted. I knew nothing of army and war and guns. But my friends here in Israel? They had served in the army; why did they suffer so when their sons were drafted?

I finally asked them and do you know what they said? “We served so that they wouldn’t have to.” I’ve been told this over and over again. They never believed, 20+ years later that their sons and daughters would have to sacrifice three years of their lives, that we’d still be at war.

You won’t hear that in the Arab world. Oh, they’ll tell you that they dream of peace because they know that is what you want to hear, but in Arabic, they will talk of a time when there will be no Jews in the entire Middle East, never mind no Jews in the Palestine they envision. Their religious leaders will whip them up to the glory of Allah and jihad. But still you would expect us to make peace with them?

Theirs is a culture built on a dream – a dream that they will own the world…my corner, John Kerry, and even yours. Theirs is a society that believes in a heaven earned by causing the deaths of others and so when their sons blow themselves up and kill those Jews, they celebrate. And yes, they celebrated on 9/11 when they killed your people just as they celebrated when we released their terrorists and killers in yet another attempt to appease them…and you.

If you don’t understand their ability to celebrate, I will confess that neither do I. I have seen the mothers hugging their sons in a video, made the night before they killed themselves…and the innocent men, women, and children, of their enemies who happened to be on that bus, in that mall, or asleep in their homes. It doesn’t matter to them if they kill a soldier, a man with a gun, a pregnant woman, or a helpless child. The more, the better, in their twisted interpretation of what their God wants. You don’t understand this and I can see where it is hard, given your western mentality. But not understanding it doesn’t give you the right to ignore it.

You won’t fail in your goal of ramming peace down our throats because of this, however. You will fail because, amazingly enough, you don’t even understand Israel. We are the easiest to get, the easiest, honestly. All you have to do is listen and see – but even that is beyond you.

Listen to our national anthem – it does not speak of war. It is called, “The Hope” and speaks of a dream of 2,000 years to be a free people. We value that – the ability to protect ourselves, to be free in the land of our forefathers. Even the most right wing among us would be willing to compromise for a real peace, a peace where our children and grandchildren could live without the fears we deal with daily. We do not interfere in how they raise their children; we are stupid enough to even fund some of their text books – all in our own misguided belief that we can make peace with those who do not yet want it.

You threaten us with economic sanctions, with international isolation. This is your latest blunder, and it is a big one. Israel is laughing at you this morning. Economic sanctions?

They gassed us, beat us, bombed us, burned us. They haunted us, hunted us, hated us through the centuries across many lands and through this land in the last several decades. They burned the synagogue where my grandmother was hiding; they gassed my great grandmother to death.

International isolation? They put us in ghettos, they exploded our buses and shot our babies in the head. They lynched my neighbor, attacked the buses on which my friends travel. They shot my daughter’s teacher (and his infant son) and ambushed and killed a colleague of mine.

We are fighting for our lives, John Kerry – no less today than we were in 1948. The ONLY difference is that through the greed and stupidity of the Arab nations, we are stronger than we ever were, not weaker. You will fail, John Kerry, because you are fool enough to think you can come here, wave your American flag, look at your watch and tell us you’d like to finish these peace negotiations by 5:00 p.m. because you have a date at the opera or a baseball game to go to.

For a long time now, the Arabs have fooled you. They’ll speak to you of peace over the coffee they serve you and then when you leave the room, they slap each other on the backs and laugh – another successful day at making the US look stupid.

Now, this time, we will have that in common with the Arabs; we are laughing at you too. Naftali Bennet has tried to explain it to you, “There has not yet been a nation that has given up its land due to economic threats, and nor will we. Only security will bring economic stability, not a terrorist state near Ben-Gurion Airport.”

Greater men have failed, John Kerry – and I promise you, until you know Israel and until you understand the Arabs, you don’t have a prayer of succeeding. Go watch the Superbowl, at least then, maybe you’ll have done something worthwhile.

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