In terms of violence, the past week was horrible. So instead of leading with the horrible, let’s celebrate something positive and beautiful that came out of senseless tragedy: a gigantic, wonderful wedding and everyone is invited.
Last Friday, before Paris, two people were killed on the road south of Jerusalem. The bride’s father and her brother were on their way to celebrate with the groom on the Shabbat before the wedding. Instead of a wedding, there was double funeral and the bride’s mother and her siblings were in the hospital. What did the bride and groom choose to do? They chose life. They moved their wedding date to November 26, rented out the international convention center in Jerusalem and invited everyone in Israel to join them in celebrating their wedding. (*Cultural aside for those cynics out there: A wedding is a celebration for the whole community and a guest’s job is to make the bride and groom happy. So it’s not about the big wedding. It’s about giving everyone a reason to rejoice.)
And then there was Paris
There are plenty of people much smarter and more eloquent than me that said many things about Paris. (My favorite was John Oliver’s extensive use of the f-word, because that really is what we are all thinking – even though it might not be considered “eloquent”).
As I read the news in Israel, I noticed one line that probably everyone else thought was superfluous, but I thought was good evidence of choosing life. In the stadium, France was competing against Germany in a friendly football match (soccer game) and even though they heard explosions, they finished the match. France won 2–0.
Then I was really disappointed
A few days after Paris, social media started to pile up with accusations:
- Why only Paris? What about Beirut? Any Lebanese flags on Facebook photos? How about the airplane downed in Sinai? What about all those Russians? Why hasn’t the media reported on anything other than Paris?
- Israel has terrorism and innocent civilians are getting stabbed, shot, and run over every day. Yet Israel is the aggressor? How would you like it if the attacks in Paris were reported as “8 Muslims killed in Paris”?
As to the first, I read two interesting articles that said that said all the other violence was reported, but that readers ignored it. On top of that, coordinated terrorist violence in Paris is not the norm and because Paris is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, people can relate to it more than, let’s say, Beirut, Sinai, or, as of yesterday, Nigeria and Mali.
(Article 1 and Article 2)
As to the second, while having some truth to it, I find it cold, callous, and in short, stomping on the people of Paris. There is a time and place for accusations of media bias, the few days after an attack is not one of them. We don’t have all the facts, human beings are in shock and grieving, so let’s bring up media bias? Way to set an example of showing humanity and choosing life.
Expanding the logic of the two articles in light of Thursday’s attacks in Israel where 5 people died including an 18-year-old American, it would be disheartening to think that the world finds violence in Israel normal and that they cannot relate to Tel Aviv as a city or Israelis as people.
I’m working on my own theory. In two words: underdog and anti-hero. I’ll expand on this in another post.
He was released from prison on Thursday after serving 30 years of a life sentence for espionage (read: spying for Israel). To some people in Israel and the US this is a Very Big Deal. They’ve been campaigning for his release for a long time saying that the sentence was wildly excessive. Now they want him to be allowed to come to Israel – he was granted Israeli citizenship 20 years ago – but his parole requires him to stay in the US for 5 years and wear an ankle monitor. I think the real story and all the various details will never be fully known. We’ll have to see what happens.
Pacman in Jerusalem
In good news of people who come to Israel even during these violent times: Manny Pacquiao, world boxing champion. What’s his favorite city? Jerusalem! (Of course!)
Happy Thanksgiving! Let’s all be grateful for our blessings and give thanks!