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Truly Unique. UNIQUE?????

I knew today would be a grim news day. It was bound to be all about the prisoner release A/K/A the release of axe murderers and such by our democratically elected government into the general Israeli population. So I pushed off surfing the news as long as I could, playing numerous games of Candy Crush Saga instead.

You see, I get really upset when I read about this stuff. I can’t concentrate on my work. I get angry, which usually translates to bruised and bloodied fists (I’m a wall-puncher).

Fake Fakestinian Flag

I managed to quickly scroll past photos of jubilant Arabs dressed in the colors of their fake Fakestinian flag and read the text instead. The photos were just too much to stomach.

I read about the release of Kassem Hazem Shabir  who murdered a 67 year-old Holocaust survivor, Yitzchak Rotenberg, (may Hashem avenge his blood). This Polish immigrant to Israel had survived the Sobibor concentration camp, eventually escaping the camp to join the Partisans.

Rotenberg was a brave man who later fought in Israel’s War of Independence, but he was no match at age 67 for axe blows to the back of his head by not one but two Arabs. This time it was Shabir who was released. His accomplice was released in the last batch of murderers released by Israel as a sop to the Obama administration and the EU.

So both of them, these Arabs who murdered an elderly Holocaust survivor, are now released into the general population, free to go find another old Jew and axe him from behind, God forbid. Not to mention the incentive this gives to other like-minded Arabs who like to murder Jews while the world lauds and decorates them as “freedom fighters.”

It was what I expected, the media coverage of the release. The Guardian didn’t bother to talk about the victims. Just played up the sad, sad tale of those poor benighted terrorists, locked away for SO MANY YEARS, the poor dears. Because let’s face it: the Guardian hates the Jews, so anyone who kills one is elevated to hero status.

Okay. So about what I expected. And quite bad enough. But then I came to an Israel National News interview of Prof. Avi Diskin, a political science expert from Hebrew University who said that Israel is one of the few countries in the world that releases incarcerated murderers, if not the only country to do so. “We are truly unique,” said Diskin.

“UNIQUE??”

“Unique?” I cried. “UNIQUE?? How about truly INSANE? Truly HOG-TIED. Truly BLOODY STOOPID???”

That was it. The straw that broke the camel’s (if you’ll excuse the Middle Eastern ref) back. I was seeing RED.

I got up from my computer. I punched a wall. I paced. “Truly mentally ill. Truly DELUSIONAL. Truly IMPOTENT,” which was kind of how I was feeling.

Because you see, when it comes right down to it, that’s all we are, us Israelis: WE ARE IMPOTENT. Powerless. We have no say in the events that affect us with such incredible personal pain. We vote or refrain from voting and it makes no difference.

The Same People

We get the same people every time: the people who release convicted axe murderers and baby killers, though the recidivism rate is unspeakably high. The people who cut off bits and pieces of our land, feeding them to a gleeful enemy who responds by spilling yet more Jewish blood, throwing rocks at Israelis on the road, though most of the time you never read about these incidents in your newspapers.

As a woman and a mother, I understood for a moment what it must be like to be a husband and a father who fails to protect his wife and children against an intruder. I wanted to strike out, but at what, at whom? There was nobody. No address for my anger.

Aftermath of the Sbarro Restaurant Massacre in Jerusalem.
Aftermath of the Sbarro Restaurant Massacre in Jerusalem.

So I squared my shoulders and moved past it as all Israelis do. As they must. I took a deep breath and came back to myself. I did what I could instead of confronting what I could not. I put on my iPod, turned the volume up as high as it would go and lost myself in music as I washed some dishes, sorted the laundry, and cooked a meal.

It almost worked.

About the author

Picture of Varda Epstein

Varda Epstein

A third-generation-born Pittsburgher on her mother’s mother’s side, Varda moved to Israel 36 years ago and is a crazy political animal who spams people with right wing political articles on Facebook in between raising her 12 children and writing about education as the communications writer at Kars for Kids a Guidestar gold medal charity.
Picture of Varda Epstein

Varda Epstein

A third-generation-born Pittsburgher on her mother’s mother’s side, Varda moved to Israel 36 years ago and is a crazy political animal who spams people with right wing political articles on Facebook in between raising her 12 children and writing about education as the communications writer at Kars for Kids a Guidestar gold medal charity.
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