We Are Under Attack in Israel, But We Are Not Caving In to Fear
My wife Miriam and I were sitting on the patio of Roladin coffee shop on Ahuza Street in Ra’anana at 9 AM on Tuesday, October 13, when the sudden sirens of police cars racing by broke our relaxed conversation. People sitting near us shared the news from their smartphones: a terrorist attack was in progress three blocks up on Ahuza Street.
The news reported that a 22-year-old terrorist from eastern Jerusalem pulled out a knife and stabbed a 32-year-old man who was waiting at the bus stop in front of the Mizrachi-Tefachot Bank — our bank. Brave unarmed men standing at the bus stop disarmed the terrorist, and the bleeding victim and beaten terrorist were taken to a hospital by ambulance.
Miriam and I had been at the scene of the terrorist attack exactly one day earlier, taking cash out of the ATM machine on the street next to the bus stop. We would have returned to the bank the morning of the attack – but we were late for our Tai Chi class.
We later learned that a second terror attack had also occurred on Tuesday in our city. The sirens of police vehicles and ambulances pierced the closed windows of our apartment.
Our grandson Yishai phoned immediately to find out if we were OK. He had been a medic in an IDF combat unit, and is a medical student at Ben-Gurion University. In the evening, he wrote a comment on my Facebook wall that made us so proud of him:
“While volunteering with Magen David Adom this morning, I heard about the terrorist attack right outside your house, and I immediately called Oma to make sure you guys are ok. A few minutes after we hung up, we were called to a guy with a head injury. Before we got there we understood the guy is the terrorist from Ra’anana. With lots of mixed feelings we gave him the best medical treatment we could, and just the same one as we would give any other person, no matter if it’s a Jew, Christian or Muslim. … It’s absurd the way we treat a terrorist who wants to kill us … But I guess that’s why we are different than them.”
Ahuza Street was deserted in the afternoon. By evening, however, students waving Israeli flags began dancing along the street running through downtown Ra’anana. They were joined by people of all ages, and they all began singing songs of hope. Ahuza Street looked more like Times Square on New Year’s Eve than the site of two murderous attempts to terrorize us.
The next day, when we went out onto the street, the dancing was continuing from the night before. Students passed out slips of paper with a biblical quotation (Genesis 49:9), stating that the enemies of Judah should not mistake his descendants as crouching down in fear and despair. “He crouches down like a lion, like an awesome lion, who dares to rouse him?”
Mel Alexenberg is author of Photograph God: Creating a Spiritual Blog of Your Life, and former professor at Columbia University and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. In Israel, he was professor at Bar-Ilan University and Ariel University.