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Lechayim!, or, suicide by Caterpillar

Lechayim! is an Israeli toast meaning, To Life!! ... there are multiple spellings.

Today in Jerusalem a Palestinian extremist drove his Caterpillar frontloader into the side of a civilian bus and then smacked it into three cars. One of the car drivers jumped out and opened up on him with his pistol. Then a security guard shot the Cat driver too. No civilian has died [yet] but one of the car occupants was evacuated with his leg partly cut off.

This is the third time in a few weeks that Israelis have been attacked by Palestinians in this manner.

Kiota told me about riding on her bulletproof bus through a tunnel to get from her house to downtown every day. I was amazed and then she was amused. A fact of life over there.

I dunno how Lois, Nomi, and Neta stand it. Well, at least Neta is in the army and packs serious heat [for another month, anyway.]

Here in America we have the saying 'suicide by cop' where a perp appears to commit a crime and when the cops come screaming up he makes moves like he's going to draw a weapon on them, when he's not carrying, so they shoot him. Self-defense in the line of duty. Works every time.

Maybe this is suicide by Caterpillar. Wonder why the Palestinian wasn't wearing plastic explosive too.

Most all of these Caterpillars are built in America, of course. Like the Cat Armoured D9 which the IDF used to kill Rachel Corrie, a student at Ki's school who went over there to do an International Research Project for college credit. She was doing a lot of other things too, but that's not my point.

When I get to Israel I'm still convinced I should stay in Jerusalem. But maybe I'll look Neta up and borrow an Uzi from her. Just in case a Cat wearing a Palestinian flag decides to crawl in bed with me.

Anyway: to life.

Fiddler On The Roof is the internationally famous musical about Tevye and his daughters, the title is from a Jewish fable about a fiddle-player who clambers up onto his roof to do that. I designed lighting for it once, a small production in a church basement. "L'Chaim" is one of its most famous songs. "Sunrise, Sunset" is another: the family is gathered all around a table for seder and they sing of loving each other and of support.

The idea is simple: that you can find light and life in the darkest of times. If anyone can consistently do that, it is the Jewish people. They know more about darkest of times than anybody.

In fact, that's what Kiota's family is working on doing right now.

Haven't yet figured out how sayings like "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" and "I come not to bring peace but a sword" fit into all this. The first quote is from the American Civil War and the second is from Jesus of Nazareth.

But I guess I should work on adopting more faith, like Lois and John and Nomi and Neta have.

If the Palestinians only thought that peace and love and this kind of faith were more powerful than frontloaders...


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 22nd, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
1. Yeah, I remember the bus to Efrata, with the bulletproof windows. Not a very pleasant ride in these things, I have to say. But alas, a necessity.

2. I was in Jerusalem today and heard of the terror act on the news while riding a bus from the central bus station to where I was meeting John [he got there earlier; we were going to a brit ceremony&celebration]. That was distressing. I actually have a knack for either being nearby such events [but not close enough to witness, thank goodness] or have them happen literally ten minutes after I left that place [boy, did my parents have a heart attack that morning or what]. But that's really a part of being Israeli.

3. John and faith don't go together in the same sentence - he's an atheist, and a hardcore one.
Jul. 22nd, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
2. Hoping you will continue that knack for a long time!

3. I don't reduce my faith in the Eternal to a personalized, humanized deity at all ... but I see and feel loving patterns and forces in the universe and I believe I am part of them and they of me. Maybe one day John and I can explore this in person over tea!!
Jul. 22nd, 2008 08:23 pm (UTC)
3. I agree with your view - I, personally, am a firm believer in karma - but John's too much of a scientist for this. He needs the force to be created in a lab, or be mathematically proven, in order for him to believe it. Oh well. I'd love to have the tea, though, if you ever visit Israel =)
Jul. 22nd, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
'Tis a date! It's not 'if', it's 'when' and 'behind what types of armor' lol

I'm a great believer in karma also.
Jul. 22nd, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
Well, Beer Sheva, where I live, is relatively safe. We've only had a few suicide bombings - I only recall three since 2000.
It's much more dangerous in bigger, more central cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We lived in Jerusalem when we just moved to Israel, we lived there for 3 years, and at a certain point my mom forbade me to ride the bus I rode to band rehearsals, because its course took it by a certain spot at which buses exploded regularly.
Jul. 22nd, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
Eeeeep that is reassuring. Not even to band rehearsals? "REGULARLY" ???? ...much more dangerous, omg.

So once you have gone through all that, I think *you* are relatively safe!! Maybe I should stay in your town instead.

Actually the USA State Department gets wiggly about visas for East Jerusalem and warns Americans not to go there after dark. So, no telling how they'll feel when they get to me ...

Schools in the West Bank aren't even safe, per what happened in that one last month ...

I will have to add something strong to my tea, probably ;)
Jul. 22nd, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
Remind me to comment here sometime tomorrow, okay? I've got some things to say.

Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
kk so here's an early reminder, it's something like 0730 your time.

Love to hear from you. Mostly cuz you and Ki and her family and Lois and Nomi grew up with / live with / this every day and I dont, and doing that inside a 60-year war zone both scares me and intrigues me no end.
Jul. 22nd, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
Sorry. No more Uzis in the IDF. We mostly use M16. :) + I don't have access to rifles anymore. Not that I'd know what to do with it. . . .

No faith here, too. :)

Jul. 22nd, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
American M-16s. Imagine.
What? Secret arms deals with the IDF??

Where's my congressman? Hiding from the Full Disclosure Act?

O yes, he owns part of the Pentagon and the Colt Repeating Arms Manufacturing Company x.x

He's probably at the King David right now. Along with Obama and Olmert and some construction Cat drivers ...

Poot. I was looking forward to meeting an Uzi. Don't you have a spare one lying around?

Double poot. I'm sure you at least have faith that you're getting out of the army, right? Verrrrrrry soon, right?

Actually I'd rather be in the tub.

Edited at 2008-07-22 09:04 pm (UTC)
Jul. 26th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Haven't yet figured out how sayings like "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" and "I come not to bring peace but a sword" fit into all this. The first quote is from the American Civil War and the second is from Jesus of Nazareth.

It's what you're at war with that matters. It needs not be people, but an attitude or a belief.
Jul. 26th, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
Agreed, Lin, but usually those attitudes or beliefs are espoused by people, some of whom are radical believers to the extent of blocking out anything else, and who often think raising their voice to deafening levels = convincing unbelievers.

American Christian Fundamentalists are a good example. They drove Anna nuts also.

If your meaning revolves around not personally attacking a person but engaging in discusson of the ideas with them, then ... sign me up!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
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