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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776
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If You Talk to Them, What Would You Say?

What would I say to this news agency? This is my home - we have made the desert bloom, as we were promised.
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Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

No, don’t ask us why we build parks and schools, I could say…ask the Arabs why they don’t. Ask them why they need to come to OUR health centers for real emergencies and why their ambulances have to be stopped and searched and don’t accept any answer other than the truth – when you put weapons on an ambulance – you force Israel to search them.

Ask them why my sons who regularly volunteer for the local ambulance squad have to wait for an army escort to go into the Arab villages to help injured or sick Arabs who need medical treatment. Ask them why they oppose our building on barren hills. If their claim to having lived here for generations were true – why didn’t they build?

And if they oppose our building – what gives them the right to build? Ask them how it is possible that Isawiya has almost doubled in size in the last few years and ask them why we had to build the bypass road because they were stoning cars – and the bypass to the bypass road because the attacks had escalated and they were shooting, attacking with rocks and even throwing washing machines and couches down on the cars below.

Ask them why they opened fire and killed a monk from near Jericho on his way to Jerusalem…and ask them why they sent a suicide bomber up the road. We were lucky that time – a brave police officer paid the ultimate price when he suspected the car and driver and pulled it over. The driver blew himself up, killing the Bedouin policeman on the side of the road – I heard the explosion and just knew it was a bomb. I heard the sirens – and it was Israel that built a memorial site near where he was murdered.

What would I say to this news agency? This is my home – we have made the desert bloom, as we were promised. From a barren hill, we have created such beauty. Don’t ask me why the Palestinians don’t have playgrounds like we do – ask them. And if they claim poverty – look at the cars they are driving…the BMWs, the Volvos, the large cars and buildings and more.

And if you come into my city, take a moment to look in the mall – see how many Arabs DO come into the city every day, to work, to shop. And ask the Arabs why it isn’t safe for me to go into their neighborhoods as they come into mine. Ask them about my neighbor who was lynched and his body partially burned.

Ask them why they never have to worry about being lynched in Maale Adumim.

Ask them why in the last few months, Arabs have come and stabbed a security guard at the gates of our city and another came up and said he was going to attack. Ask them why they don’t feel they have to build a security fence around their neighborhoods and hire full-time guards at the gates to protect them.

And ask them why, if we are the aggressors, why it is OUR homes that have bomb shelters and not theirs.

So many questions, so many thoughts – but maybe I’m not the right person for this. I can only show what we have built, the gardens and flowers. I can show them the lake in the desert that we built – silly and charming at the same time but I can never answer why the Arabs haven’t channeled their resources into similar things for them and I can never answer why our enjoying the fruits of our hard work is wrong.

If I talk to them…what would I say? This is my home, my land. By God, by right, by history, perhaps by might, but most of all, by love, this is my home.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.
Paula R. Stern

About the Author: Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write. Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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