I do not mourn the Gazans killed during their Great Return March about six weeks ago. If that makes me cold-hearted and a bad person so be it. With every Facebook post or opinion piece that expressed regret over the lives of Gazans snuffed out as Hamas found yet another original and creative way to try to get rid of us Jews, I looked within myself to see if I harbour any sadness along with these good people. Each time, I found none.
I tried to feel sad. It felt like I almost had to feel sad for this loss of life in order to merit continuing to consider myself a member of the caring people of the world.
I am not referring to the writings of those who were blaming Israel for the deaths — No! I am referring to the writing of people who, like me, clearly blame Hamas and point out how Israel has been defending itself against a weaponized existential threat and not a nonviolent demonstration against some “occupation” or “blockade”. Yet, somewhere in their writing, they saw fit to mention that they felt sad for the deaths of the Gazans killed at the border by the IDF. A life is a life, some wrote.
The great majority of the dead were Hamas terrorists hoping to penetrate the border fence and carry out attacks against Israelis, abducting us if they could, and murdering us if they could not. And the rest were paid rioters, paid more if they were injured more, most if killed. So I see no reason to count their dead. I am not mourning their deaths. One or fifty, the numbers would not affect how I feel. And I do feel deep sadness, but not for their deaths.
I feel almost unbearable sadness for us. Selfish? Perhaps.
I am sad that we have among us Jews who say Kaddish for dead terrorists. These oh-so-good-Jews likely have not or will not say Kaddish for their own parents, siblings or children. But they say Kaddish for dead terrorists and rioters. Let us set aside the fact that their reciting the Kaddish in this way merely exposes their ignorance of Judaism; the point is that they make a public spectacle of caring more for the dead terrorists than for the still-alive-Jews the thank-God-they’re-dead-terrorists wanted to murder. Maybe good-hearted people should start a new global policy of having almost-victims say blessings at the grave sites of the would-be-murderers that they managed to kill in self defense in order not to be killed. Same thing, no?
I am sad that we seem to always need to defend our very right to exist as a people. That our supporters have to openly declare that Israel has the right to defend its borders is clearly an indication that it is not the natural given that is afforded to every other country on Earth. We Jews are something else, not quite human. Otherwise, how to comprehend the fact that human rights are not really extended to the Jewish people or the Jewish nation — we are seen as those who either uphold or deny the rights of others, not automatically meriting having rights ourselves unless granted them by the magnanimity of non-Jews. And so many of us seem to concur. So I am sad.
I am saddened by the fact that many Jews seem to feel they must apologize for being Jewish and that they must declare that Israel does not “speak in their name” in order to be considered worthy individuals. Some have said that they are ashamed of the Jews who are ashamed of Israel or of being Jewish; I am not ashamed. I am sad. Heartbroken, in fact. For in their Jew-shame, it feels almost as if they are ripping themselves from the flesh of the Jewish body. That is their choice, as adults. But for some strange reason, it pains me.
I am sad that we do not seem to know how to act with self-respect: That we scraped and bowed before Turkey and paid compensation after having killed Turks who had boarded a boat that entered Israeli waters with the intention of vilifying Israel is unfathomable. The opportunity to try to kill Israeli soldiers was an anticipated secondary goal, it seems; yet we apologized (again) for not having agreed to be killed. It is unfathomable that we allow Knesset members to incite against the nation in the legislative body of which they were elected to sit. When you cannot distinguish an Israel-hating MK from an Israel-hating Palestinian Authority leader something is seriously wrong. Read this articleand tell me if Ahmed Tibi sounds any different from Yassar Arafat or Tawfiq Tirawi. That we allow “Nakba” demonstrations calling for the destruction of the Jewish state on university campuses is unfathomable. That some Jews stand with them and hold placards deepens the sadness.
That we do not act with self-respect increases the tendency of others to treat us with disrespect. It hurts so much to see the country I love so much seemingly unable to stand erect before the other nations of the world. (But I think that is slowly changing.)
I am sad that we allow Jews to shout out “Death to Arabs” at street demonstrations without shutting them down. Self-respecting Jews have no need to incite for the death of anyone. The self-respecting Jewish state defines what is acceptable behaviour and what is not and has clear policies for dealing with what is not acceptable. When the population, even those who hate Arabs, sees that the State behaves responsibly and with self-respect, such hateful outbursts will diminish. In any case, it is our responsibility to stop incitement of hate and violence on the part of our own citizens, Arabs and Jews alike.
I do not call for the deaths of my enemies; I just wish they would stop. Likewise, I do not rejoice in their deaths — I rejoice in our success in stopping them from killing us. I do that without being sad that they are dead.