It’s been one week since the riots in Gaza began. We’re promised riots every week, till May 14th, the date commemorating the Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948.
As I write this, new riots are massing on the border.
Last Friday was the grand opening of the “March of Return”. Hamas orchestrated the event, billing it like across between Woodstock and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Selma march. Supposedly, this would be an event for the entire family, men, women and children – a peaceful march to the border of Gaza to declare their desire to “return”.
And by doing so, turn Israel into Palestine.
Last Friday was the night of the Passover Seder. Choosing the night of this very important holiday for the date of mass demonstrations was very deliberate.
Preparing for Passover creates its own tension (imagine preparing for Christmas, Thanksgiving or a wedding) – it begins with a type of spring cleaning that can range from cleaning the house to remove chametz (leaving) to make the house kosher for the holiday to painting the house and even full-blown renovations. There is a massive amount of shopping and cooking to be done for the Seder which lasts long into the night and is when everyone hosts family and friends – or is hosted, which means buying presents, getting stuck in traffic and having to drive home in the early hours of the morning.
But that is a fun kind of tension.
The tension of the unknown is much less pleasant. Would the peaceful demonstration remain peaceful? Not likely. How bad would it get? While getting dressed and making the finishing touches for the evening we were receiving more and more updates from Gaza which had quickly become a scene of mass, violent riots in five locations along the 60 kilometer Israeli side of the Gaza border.
Soldiers who were supposed to spend the holiday at home had to remain on duty. That in itself was a success for Hamas, ruining the holiday for many families. Israelis in the communities surrounding Gaza who are licensed to carry were requested to take their guns with them to holiday celebrations, their family meal and even to the synagogue when they went to pray.
It would be necessary for civilians have guns to defend themselves and their families in the nightmare scenario of the border being breached and terrorists invaded Israeli communities.
Or Israeli Arabs choosing to use the distraction to kill Jews.
The night celebrating freedom, smelled like war.
And celebrate we did. Because that’s what we do. And when the Seder was over, we heard that an emergency UN Security Council had been convened to discuss the “indiscriminate killing” of “peaceful demonstrators”.
Here too, the timing was deliberate. How could an Israeli representative be available, in time, to counter the accusations, on the eve of one of the most important Jewish holidays of the year? But, according to the UN, this was an emergency. There had been a massacre!
At 3:00 am we listened to some of the live session from New York. The accusations, twisting of reality was absolutely sickening. But it wasn’t really a surprise. We are used to it.
What struck me was the callous abuse of children. Not Israeli children (we’re used to no one caring about the lives of our children). Listening to the various UN representatives discuss Israeli “atrocities”, I was thinking of the children of Gaza.