March 30, 2012
I wake up, open my eyes, its one week to Passover, so many things to do, so little time to do them. Passover is the busiest time of the year in Israel. People go crazy with preparations for this holiday: Cleaning houses; dusting; vacuuming; painting the walls with fresh paint; changing daily housewares with Kosher-for-Passover ones; throwing away old stuff; making room for new stuff; shopping, shopping, shopping. Where do I start?
I turn on the radio. The announcer says: “Today, 2 Million Arabs plan to break Israel’s borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Gaza and march on Jerusalem – Israel’s capital.” They call it “The Global March to Jerusalem” (GMTJ), and they do it to commemorate “Land Day.”
I typically dress up on a day like this, it’s Friday and one week before Passover. I better make it as early as possible to the supermarket. Later on it will be too crowded with people shopping for the holiday and for the coming Sabbath (Jewish Sabbath starts Friday evening). I want to be there before the crowds. In and out. I take a quick look into the fridge and write down our shopping list. What did my wife tell me to buy last night? Can’t remember. I can’t wake her up. The baby didn’t give her much sleep last night. Better not to wake her up, or else…
On my way to the supermarket, I listen to the news. The announcer says the riots are expected to start immediately after the Muslim noon prayer is finished, but some Arab residents of Jerusalem are already gathering on the streets, throwing rocks at passing cars and police forces. Some damage is reported, but the police are demonstrating restraint and trying not to confront the rioters as they chant “death to Israel.”
What did my wife tell me to buy last night? My memory fails.
Since the birth of Israel, Arabs repeatedly declared their desire to push Jews into the sea. My mind goes on overdrive. Will it happen today? The announcer doesn’t seem to know. Why do these people want to push me to the sea? I don’t know them and they sure don’t know me. Did I or my babies do anything to them? Not as far as I can remember. With all the problems in their own countries (i.e. “Arab Spring followed by summer, winter, and nearly spring again”), do they really have time for Israel?
Two Million people! What did she tell me to buy?
Finished shopping, and already home again. “I bought these ‘Rishon Matzos’ you told me to,” I inform my wife triumphantly, and show her a huge box of Matzos I hold in my hands. She gives me that look, and I immediately understand I did something terribly wrong. “I told you to buy the small 1/2 Kilo pack. What did you buy 2.5 Kg. of Matzos for?”
I distract myself and take a quick glimpse at the internet news. Rioters start gathering not far from the Israeli borders. Not too many so far.
I begin to paint the walls. My wife tells me, “Don’t make the big mess you always do when you paint.”
“O.K.” I promise, as I start peeling rickety plaster from the wall.
“And don’t peel off the plaster!” she adds, “It fills the house with dust.”
“But…,” I say before she continues.
“Just finish the paint and then wash the windows,”she adds.
“O.K.” I reply gloomily. My plans to re-paint the entire house are officially thwarted.
My wife moves like a torpedo from room to room, dusting, cleaning, washing, scrubbing, and collecting cloths we don’t use anymore to give to the needy. So much work to do and so little time left.
“What do you think will happen today?” she asks me as I apply some fresh plaster on a nail hole in the wall.
“I don’t know,” I reply. “How can you stop 2 million people who march on your border? Shoot them?”
“What are you talking about?!” she says, “I meant do you think you can finish with the paint and wash the windows today?”
“Ahha, Ahum… Of course,” I reply.
I break for lunch, and listen to the radio again.
It turns out the organizers of the GMTJ met a colossal failure, in light of their promise for two million. No more than a few hundred rioters gathered on the borders. They call for the destruction of Israel, but stayed a safe distance away. They don’t even try to come near the borders. We’ll not drown today!
Were they warned by the Arab governments not to break the borders? Nobody knows. In Jerusalem, the riots are calmly contained by police. On the border with Gaza, Hamas shot one rioter to death as he was approaching the border. Evidently, Hamas talks often about destroying Israel, but cares more about its rule over Gaza.
With just few wounded police officers, shattered car windows and streets blocked with stones the newscaster concludes, “It’s a big success for the security forces. The next challenge for them will be ‘Prisoner’s Day’ and ‘Flytilla’.” The organizers of GMTJ promise to fly rioters into Israel in what is now termed Flytillas to jam Israel’s Ben Gurion airport soon.
Oh my god, I think to myself. I hope they don’t do it during our upcoming mini-vacation abroad. This will really anger my wife.