Sunday, October 10

From Mt. Sinai to 'Paradise Lost'

Early Sunday morning here in Jerusalem (Yes. Guilty as charged: 'another one of them "Pajamahadin," chief; where should I lock him up?').

Wondering how to cover the Taba terror attacks at work today, dig up a new interviewee, consider an angle hasn't yet been picked over and through since Thursday... hmm. Maybe the part of where the grim-faced Israeli newscasters Saturday night broke the government-requested "embargo" on the despicable behavior of the Egyptians before and throughout the search for bodies - or survivors. Not to mention those who took part in the ghoulish stripping of valuables off the bodies before they were collected by rescue teams. And please don't tell me about relative poverty or different cultural mores. This was way beyond contempt.

Also wondering about last night's conversation with daughter Inbal's close girlfriend Ayelet (age 16) who lives just down the street from us and decided to return from Ras a-Satan about an hour before the attacks took place...She, her dad and I spoke briefly Friday night at synagogue about what prompted her to up and leave - possibly keeping her off a hospital admission list - or worse. Trying to think through the inchoate despair and anger at how close she was to disaster.

For those who are aghast at Israelis who travel to Sinai and visit Egypt - try to understand that all of us here are still working through the grief, both for those lost and wounded and for what might have been with relations with Israel's Egyptian neighbor, cold as they might be presently. We are such suckers for words like, "peace, good relations, cheap weekender tours"...

Sinai was our own pristine back yard, site of Mt. Sinai where we believe the Torah was given to Israel, and a place to breathe deeply and listen to the wild, rugged desert silence, without cares about terror, taxes, politicians or living in the pressure cooker that is Israel.

Speaking of the Torah - and considering that we just concluded celebrating "Simchat Torah - Rejoicing in the Giving of the Torah,"(images of that here in Jerusalem on the way soon...) I had a brief, interesting conversation with the co-owner of the Yemenite felafel shop near the house here in Givat Shaul on Friday morning as I picked up a few "la'huch" patties (soft, large pancake-looking bread, very similar to Ethiopian "injara") for Shabbat: He reminded me of the hometical "tale" that God at Mt. Sinai held the mountain over the heads of the newly-freed Israelites "as a 'gigit - like an inverted bowl,' to "convince" them to accept the Torah. The co-owner pointed out the very debatable similarities with the crush of the hotel on the Israelis at Taba.

I do not justify going to Sinai despite the terror warnings, but most Israelis have at some level decided on a personal threat level based, sometimes, on intangibles that wouldn't make sense to North Americans.

Personally speaking? It's suddenly as though another threat level has been added to the mix with ongoing Palestinians terror, as well as the implications for future relations with Egypt at many levels, due to their behavior before and, especially after, the attacks.Just coming to terms with the results of the devastation at a few different levels will take time. And consideration of a new "threat matrix."

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