Yesterday was a beautiful day.
I went to the festive Jerusalem March with my sister and gave out candy to the Christians who are here to show their support to Israel. I was choked up almost every time I shouted, “Thank you for coming to Israel. Thank you for supporting us.”
And yesterday evening I went with another sister to a refreshing concert by the new Israeli band A-WA – three sisters of Jewish Yemenite decent have revived old traditional melodies in hip-hop style. People were legitimately holding hands in circles while doing the “tza’ad Teimani” dance step at this rock concert.
Yesterday was a beautiful day for Erica Chernofsky and her family until the incident that could have made them front page news. “They could have killed us today,” Erica writes – when Arab school children took the opportunity while walking home from school to throw boulders at her car with Erica, her husband and her children all inside.
And yesterday was most probably a beautiful day for Eitam and Na’ama Henkin but the end was the worst nightmare – them and their family became the front page news as Eitam and Na’ama were murdered in a drive-by shooting in Israel last night, leaving behind four children under the age of ten.
I actually heard about the incident (that two were badly injured – only afterwards did I hear that they’d died) minutes before the A-WA concert began. My feelings inside did not correlate with my surroundings but that is often the case in life, and in particular in Israel, and so I decided to push through it and revel in the talent and innovation of Israeli culture and society as much as I could.
Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Israel. Tomorrow will probably be a beautiful day too. Because so many Israelis of different origins, nationalities and races, work tirelessly to make Israel the special Jewish country we envision with its unparalleled strength, morality and innovation.
The beauty is that the local Arabs have an open invitation to be a part of this. They can get a useful and productive education instead of learning to hate Jews, they can get excellent jobs in Israel, as many do already, and they can be part of building a just society.
Yesterday could have been a beautiful day for the Arab school kids who stoned Erica’s family and the murderers who killed Eitam and Na’ama. Most of the Israeli people I know seem to have a ceaseless desire to partner with our neighbors and help them strive for something more than they’re used to. All they need to do is say the word, stop the violence, and we’re there. But meanwhile, we will continue to do what Jews have always yearned to do – protect ourselves without being at the mercy of anyone and their fickle feelings towards Jews and Israel. Because we have a beautiful vision in mind and we’re well on our way to fulfilling it.