Teaching During Terror

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“There was an attack,” a teacher, Tali, tells me. “Where now? ” I ask. “Near the Jerusalem central bus station,” she answers. I get a sinking feeling in my stomach.

The location of the explosion is about a 10-minute walk from our school, and it took place during the time of day when many students and teachers travel back home. A few minutes later, another fellow teacher receives a text message informing him that his tenth grade student has been injured and hospitalized. There is a small gathering outside the teachers’ room. Several tenth grade students, friends of this injured boy, stand tense and fearful, looking for a teacher’s reassurance. One stocky boy breaks downs into tears.

We find out later that their classmate was lightly injured in the foot by shrapnel from the explosion and thankfully suffered no heavier injuries. Close to 40 Israelis were injured in the attack and one woman was killed.

All this 10 minutes away from a school of 1,200 students.

It is surreal the way in which this Wednesday has ended. As I answer phone calls from frantic friends and my parents back in the U.S., calling to check if I’m OK, I can only reply that I’m fine and not to worry. I can’t stop thinking about my own students, hoping and praying that they were out of harm’s way.

Only a week and half ago, I was at the Fogel family’s funeral, the five family members who were brutally killed in a terrorist attack carried out by Fatah’s Al Aqsa Brigades on Friday night, March 13. The Israeli family, who was killed in their home in Itamar near Nabulus, had over 20,000 people come to pay their respects at their funeral.

The transition from relative quiet to unrest, from life to death, from joy to tears, can engulf cities in different parts of this country within a day.

One thing for sure is clear. Israel will have to respond to this wave of terror. Over 70 missile attacks, 45 people injured, a family murdered and hundreds of civilians in shock, cannot be ignored or silently accepted. When Israel does react, the international community and mainstream media will be quick to condemn the state as cruel and unreasonably aggressive. This is really the only consistent response that we can expect from the world, while we attempt to maintain a normal semblance of life, teaching and educating a future generation in Israel to love and not to fear.

Anav Silverman, originally from Maine, works as an educator at Hebrew University’s Secondary School of Education in Jerusalem and as a free-lance writer.

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  • muchiboy

    "The transition from relative quiet to unrest, from life to death, from joy to tears, … within a day."
    Yes,Israel,like a gem,small and precious,where death and terror can meet you at the bus stop.Where soldier and student,battlefield and school become one.Such a shame.

    "One thing for sure is clear. Israel will have to respond to this wave of terror."
    Of course.But not just in kind,with bombs and terror.And not in multiples of hundreds.And to know as you are planning the retaliation,as you are ordering the attacks,as you are dropping the bombs,as you are treating the injured or burying your dead,there are unaddressed,righteous and root causes to the insanity.

    " When Israel does react, the international community and mainstream media will be quick to condemn the state as cruel and unreasonably aggressive."
    Perhaps.But there have been times when the bombing,the killing and the aggression went beyond the reasonable.Sometimes it takes another,less involved but still a friend to distinguish the necessary from the cruel.

    " This is really the only consistent response that we can expect from the world, while we attempt to maintain a normal semblance of life,"
    Untrue.The world is not your enemy.If indeed the entire world,the West included,were against Israel,then the problem would most likely lie with and within Israel,not the entire world.This is paranoia,plain and simple.

    " teaching and educating a future generation in Israel to love and not to fear."
    Laudable goals,not only for Israeli and Palestinian students,but students everywhere.

    "Anav Silverman, originally from Maine, works in Jerusalem and as a free-lance writer. "
    Part and parcel of the problem,a Jew from Maine,now living in Jerusalem.And what could be more natural?Well,nothing really.But given that certain areas of this city are being contested by Palestinian and Israeli,and given that citizenship and residency are denied to Palestinian war refugees (including refugees who fled Jerusalem),and given that the Palestinian people are being denied statehood for even the nonviable remnants of their occupied homeland, this needs to be confronted and addressed.muchiboy

    • ziontruth

      "Part and parcel of the problem,a Jew from Maine,now living in Jerusalem.And what could be more natural?Well,nothing really."

      The real problem is the racism of the anti-Zionists, who fail to acknowledge the fact that Jewishness is not based on race, and that a Jew is an indigenous Palestine no matter where he or she was born.

      "…and given that the Palestinian people are being denied statehood…"

      The Arab settlers in Palestine are not a nation in its own right but imperialist land-thieves coveting the one and only piece of land belonging to the one and only true Palestinian nation, the Jewish nation. The indigenous Palestinians, the Jews, have full rights to resist such imperialist aggression and to repulse all the Arab colonial invaders from their land. A just and viable peace will not arise until the injustice of Arab settlers stealing indigenous Palestinian, meaning Jewish, lands is addressed. All Arab settlements in Palestine, the indigenous land of the Jews, must be dismantled for the sake of justice, without which there is no peace!

    • ziontruth

      "a Jew is an indigenous Palestine" -> "a Jew is an indigenous Palestinian"

  • muchiboy

    ""a Jew is an indigenous Palestine" -> "a Jew is an indigenous Palestinian"

    Someone call the FBI,PETA or the SPCA! And Mr.Horowitz! Ziontruth's FPM account has been hijacked by an African Grey.muchiboy

    • ziontruth

      Stop acting like you've seen this argument of mine for the same time, dolt.

      • ziontruth

        Darn it! "Same time" should be "first time." I'm having a lot of typos today.

  • muchiboy

    "Are you agreeing that this is a religious war against the jews; a war that has been going on for hundreds of years and is now, in the rest of the middle east (where there are no jews) being carried out against christians ?"
    No,ajnn.And I am not prepared to debate that issue.Not now,anyway.Not because it is against my religion(my maternal grandfather was Palestinian,borne in Bethlehem) or world view,but because I am ignorant of the subject/history.I do know that Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arab Christians have a continuing presence in Palestine since God knows when,and that they have lived alongside Palestinian Arab Muslims for much of that time.Something has changed for sure,and we can't dismiss Zionism or Arab nationalism or Islamism as an important factor here.Likely it is multifaceted,and little is to be gained from blaming only one people or factor.muchiboy

    • ziontruth

      "…but because I am ignorant of the subject/history."

      Admission, the first step toward a cure. Let me enlighten you a bit, then:

      "I do know that Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arab Christians have a continuing presence in Palestine since God knows when,and that they have lived alongside Palestinian Arab Muslims for much of that time."

      Since the 7th century, Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Christians had been under Islamic rule, which means, they lived as second-class citizens in an apartheid system wherein the Muslims are first-class and could do with them as they pleased. This is the system of dhimmitude, which makes every Muslim-majority country a de-facto apartheid state. And it means people should lay off Israel, the only state in its region that isn't an apartheid state. Once again: Anti-Zionism is a cause of injustice.

      "Something has changed for sure,…"

      Yep. The returning Jews in 1882, from both Yemen and Russia (so much for the "White European Settler-Colonist" narrative of Zionism) were not content to live as second-class dhimmis. They took advantage of the decline of the Ottoman Empire, as many others did, to bypass the dhimmitude system. Arab nationalism, let alone the fake "Palestinian nation," had not been invented yet–it was the traditional Islamic doctrine that non-Muslims must live as dhimmis that caused the local Muslims to be anti-Zionists. The idea of Jews living as first-class citizens was like a red blanket in front of a bull's face to them.

      This is how Arab/Islamic anti-Zionism came to be, circa 1890: It arose naturally from Islamic doctrine. Reworking it into an ethnic dispute came later–only after the First World War, and in reaction to Western colonial rule. But it is still at heart an issue of Islamic imperialism and Islam's inability to tolerate first-class status for non-Muslims.

  • seels4truth

    The truth is what is driving your hatred lessiboy. Your grandfather left Israel under the urging of the Arab countries committed to making Israel stillborn. Too bad: as with most Arabs he bought into the propaganda and lost his house. Muslims living in Israel have freedom of religion; Jews living in Arab countries do not. For the majority of Arab countries Jews are non-existent and in those that have a token number of Jews there is "the" synagogue and that's it. In Israel there are hundreds of mosques where Muslims are free to worship as they please. There is no reason for Israel to allow any Arab into the country, let alone grant that Arab citizenship. Arabs have proven, for the most part, to hate Jews. And Israel has every right to grant citizenship to Jews, no matter where they come from. Like the Arabs in Gaza and Ramallah you want what Israel has without working for it. STOP teaching your kids to hate Jews. STOP teaching your kids that Jews are "pigs and monkeys". STOP killing and start living. Then there could be peace but not until the Arabs make the first move. Until then every missile attack should be met with 100 Israeli air strikes. Every terrorist bomb should be met with 100 bombing forays into Gaza. You say that is excessive? Even one rocket attack from behind the women and children of Gaza is excessive. Lessiboy, there is no "fair" in war. When the Arabs preach hate, scream for the elimination of Israel ("free, free Palestine, from the river to the sea" what exactly are they calling for?) and then fire rockets to back up their hateful words Israel has every right to respond appropriately. And if I were the PM instead of Netanyahu, I would give each Gazan Arab a choice: step forward and renounce terrorism or stand alongside Hamas and accept what is coming to you. In three days Gaza would be Nada and peace will be that much closer.

    • aspacia

      Yep, couldn't agree more. I am sick of Muslim violence and their friggin excuses.