Monday, July 28, 2014

When I was a kid in Israel we lived a 9 min drive from what is now the the Blue Line (Lebanon border) and our city was bombed by Hezbollah multiple times a week for about 10 years. Because Hezbollah rockets of the 90s/Hamas Qassams of today lack precision and are usually fired in a rush, most of the time during a "light" shelling they ended up in open fields or forests. Every once in a while, on somebody's house. Once a rocket flew into my friend's window and onto his bed and didn't explode. As kids we knew what an incoming vs outgoing missile fire sounds like and what to do during a chemical weapon attack. One time my little brother unknowingly dragged an old landmine from a cave he was playing in with his friends and put it under our house and a special unit came with a little robot to disassemble it. Still, somehow in the entire 10 years I've lived in Israel under "constant bombardment" I only knew 3 people who died by missile fire, 1 person who died in the IDF (it was a suicide) and though the situation created crippling panic and fear, even then I was sure it was way worse on the other side as I watched fighter jets flying back and forth.

We received a pretty great “progressive” education in a kibbutz and many of my friends and their parents spoke Arabic and had Arab friends / business partners / close neighbours but in other parts of my life Arab Israelis were always considered second class citizens even (especially) by the many new immigrants who “naturally” fell into shitty nationalism in order to assimilate. Palestinians were THE mysterious enemy, mysterious since the only time we heard about them was when they bombed “our” cities”. There was no mention of them anywhere else and the buildings they had to abandon fifty years prior to that were on the outskirts of towns, near dumpsters and "dead" unused land. We grew up with “mavet le aravim” (death to Arabs) as a default choice for graffiti, seconded maybe by “Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman” (religious graffiti “a sort of rallying cry for returning to traditional Judaism”, pictured above).

I blocked an old friend of mine recently and his last words to me were “go spread your Palestinian propaganda elsewhere, I don't need a friend like you” “your freedom fighters shot a missile into my house and now I am a REFUGEE, I can't go back to my own house for an entire WEEK.” A quick glance at his Facebook page revealed him cuddling a comfy pillow back at his mother's house where he decided to spend his time as a “refugee”, titled “no place like mom's”, followed by photos of him cheersing and laughing over drinks at our old neighbourhood bar. I wanted to tell him about a dear friend of mine whose grandmother walked from Palestine to Jordan barefoot in 1948 to save her family from being bombed by the Palmach, but I kind of couldn't stand looking at his smug little face cuddling the pillow so I just blocked him.

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