My cell phone rang and it was my daughter telling me the seminary leaders would not allow her to walk over to our house.
Those sirens? There was a stabbing attack just outside of Allon Shvut. Just behind and down the road from her seminary. Allon Shvut, the place where we had dropped off one of her friends the other night after returning from an event in Jerusalem. It is right next to the gas station at which we had stopped after dropping him off.
We told my daughter we would drive over and get her as soon as we got back to the house and could get in the car. I also wanted to check the news to see what exactly was happening.
Three people had been stabbed by an Arab terrorist at the bus stop just outside of Allon Shvut. One of them, a young woman, died almost immediately. Initial reports said she was 14, but she was actually in her mid-twenties. Still far too young to die. And just because she was a Jew.
When I explained to my mother what had happened, she digested it and – I’m sure thinking it would comfort me – told me that really, it could happen anywhere in the U.S. That it happens all the time in the U.S. People are stabbed and die just because they are standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I showed her the first headline I saw reporting the attack. “Settlers stabbed, one dead.”
My mother’s large green eyes opened wide.
“Settler? What do they mean ‘settlers?'”
“That’s right. Why do you think they used that word?”
I think my mother is beginning to get it. When the media refers to the Jews out here, just a few miles south of Jerusalem, as “settlers,” it turns them into something less deserving of sympathy. It is a constant form of delegitimization not only of the Jewish state, but also of Jews.
The drive from my house to pick up my daughter at seminary usually takes about six minutes. Last night it took much longer. Why? The gate was locked. The community security decided to prevent anyone from leaving. They wanted to make sure no more assailants were in the area, looking for more Jews to kill.
For the first time since I’ve been in Efrat the entrance gate was locking us in, not just keeping others out. It was a strange sensation.
But, this being Israel, things were cleared fairly quickly, and everyone moved on. The traffic once again flowed freely, the blood from the stabbings was washed away, and life returned to the way it was before. Mostly.