Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Troubled Postings

Though it makes "great" blog material, I'm always hesitant to report on our personal stories here in Israel that may be challenging from a personal security perspective.

I want people to see Hevron, see the Shomron, and tour Israel...without fear. I don't want the Holy Hyrax telling me he'd never visit somewhere in Israel after reading something scary on my blog.

And then, after posting about our trip to Hevron, this appears...
Our greatest fear

This post by "Jameel" on the Muqata is really scary. I often read his blog and have exchanged emails with him so I feel like I know him even though I don't know his real name. Thank God everyone in his family is fine but I just can't imagine going through that experience. We have not been to Chevron, Kiryat Arba, Gush, Kever Rachel etc. on any of our trips to Israel because Shira has always been too scared. I really hope that we will have the opportunity to go to Maarat Hamachpela at some point during the year and hopefully this story won't scare her too much. (from the Even Yaruka Blog)
Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d no one was hurt in the shooting attack in Hevron, when we happened to be there. This wasn't even the first time we were "shot at" as a family, and a freakishly similar incident took place when we visited Hevron 6 years ago, also on Chol HaMoed Sukkot. (We were also ok then, and while a woman was seriously hurt, she made a full recovery).

It's important keeping other statistics in mind; while many say that Hevron is a "trouble spot", not one Jew was injured in Hevron this past week, or even the week before, or even the week before that.

Yet on the same day the "incident" took place in Hevron when we were visiting, something even worse happened.
Four U.S. immigrants killed in Arava car accident

Four people were killed and three wounded in a car accident on the Arava Highway yesterday. Three of the dead were members of one family - Chaim (Charles) Bernstein, 54, his wife Roberta, 49, and their daughter, Batsheva, 18, all of Jerusalem. The Bernsteins' son Moshe, 11, was moderately to seriously injured.

The fourth fatality was Sharon Sabag, 49, of Beit Lehem Haglilit in the north. Her son Netanel, 12, was moderately to seriously injured, and her husband Yossi, 45, was lightly injured. All four of those killed were American immigrants.

The accident occurred at about 9 A.M. when the Bernsteins' car swerved out of its lane for reasons unknown, and crashed head-on into the Sabags' car near Kibbutz Ketura, 50 kilometers north of Eilat. Both cars went spinning, and one hit a road sign and overturned onto the road's shoulder.

A police officer noted yesterday that the Arava Highway "is not built for human error." Thirteen people have been killed on the road since the start of this year, and road safety experts have warned for years that it needs a crash barrier. However, Israeli policy is to build crash barriers only on four-lane highways, and the Arava Highway has only two lanes, one in each direction. (Haaretz)
While all of Israel heard the tragic news of this (and many other car accidents over chol hamoed), I only saw this story on Friday. Imagine my shock when I saw the photo of Chuck Bernstein, only to realize that I knew him and had done professional consulting for him a decade ago.

Far, far ahead of terror attacks, a much deadlier and killer in Israel is traffic accidents.

This site posts picture on a daily basis of traffic accidents around the country (I've even contributed pictures to them personally, as a Hatzala/MDA EMT)...and yet, people continue to drive, continue to take their children everywhere by car, and the accidents still pile up.

Bottom Line: Would you rather we post the full story of what goes on here, or limit it to purely uneventful stories?



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


mo said...

Jameel, keep posting the emes. R' Yitzchak Ginsburgh sais that if someone has fear he should say, G-d, I'm in your hands, you do with me as you like... (it doesn't mean of course that anyone should do something irresponsible). Another segula against fear is to remember what the Baal Shem Tov's father told the Baal Shem Tov before he passed away "fear no one except Hashem..."

Safranit said...

Tell the truth...that is the most important...but personally I think the truth is not to visit Hevron during the is a zoo and you can't possibly enjoy it--or learn anything.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

mo & safranit: Obviously I tell the truth -- and try to keep postings here as accurate as possible.

Yet by posting "scary" stories, it may have negative effects and therefore, accomplish the opposite of encouraging people to visit...and loving the land.

Rafi G said...

scary should be included as well, but balanced with non-scary.

after all, everyone knows it is a war zone of sorts. and scary stuff happens in america too. there are random shootings and murders and whatever else over there. Every country has scary incidents. A story like what happened in chevron should not scare anybody who is sane away.

Safranit said...

Thats not need to share your life--as it exists.

My father made a statement about how we should get a car because it is safer. I said that it is more likely that I'll be killed in a car accident (G-d forbid) than in a explosion on a bus. I don't think he believed me.

There are (very personal) things that have happened in my life that I share willingly with other people, because I think they need to know how to deal with specific situations. Keep sharing!

Lipman said...

Rega - going to Chevron once in a while protects you from ever being run over by a car? :-)

This is the common argument, often openly in joke, by hardcore chain smokers, and of course you have to add the danger of going to Chevron to all the other dangers.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Lipman: But we used the transporter beam to get to Hevron, so our visit was not the "sum of all dangers."


Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

This is really a tough call. There's the issue of Dibat Ha'aretz, too. But I think you have to some stories. Also, I think you and I are on the same political wavelength, and that if our leadership thought like us, the shooting in Hevron (or anywhere else, inside or outside the green line) would not have happened. So by exposing the truth of the "peace" that our leaders (sic) are trying to sell us, maybe we can change the direction the country is stumbling in.

I have already said that Hevron during Chol Hamoed is not my favorite place to be. :)

Akiva said...

I don't think this is that tough. Share information, but make sure to provide context.

Example, during the 2nd intifada, there was an 18,000% GREATER chance of being injured or killed in New York City than in Israel. (Nowadays that number is lower, maybe only 12x greater chance in New York City.)

Try this one, "we went to Hebron and got shot at, but on return realized we left the doors and windows unlocked and OPEN, and had no concern about being robbed."

As you stated, the highest cause of death in Israel is traffic accident, and it's about 20x greater than terrorism.

Oh, and btw, with war and terrorism, life expectancy in Israel is about 5 years longer than the US and most of Western Europe.

In New York City Jewish communities (Brooklyn), there's currently a surge in violent crimes against Jews (muggings and other attacks). Any such concerns by you?

It's always that perspective thing. I can't send my kids to the park without being in a group and with adult supervision, how about you?

PsychoToddler said...

The truth is that I have decided not to forward your posts to my wife or kids, because I think it would freak them out in light of our recent visit with you to Hebron.

You (probably) know that it took a lot of convincing for me to get them to go in the first place.

There is this real perception amongst American Jews that Judea and Shomron are too dangerous for Jews and this type of post only reinforces that. This despite almost daily reports of shootings that occur only a mile or less from where we live here in the Midwest.

I guess the difference is that here we don't get the impression that people are aiming at us because we are Jews. If there were repeated sniper attacks at our shul we'd probably stay away from there too.

You need to keep posting this stuff, because it's important, and we Jews need to keep going there despite the risk, because places like the Maarah are important to us, to who we are and where we come from, to our national identity, and we shouldn't surrender them to these animals.

I will be posting pictures and video from our recent trip there soon.

You're right, statistically we were more at risk when we were driving up and down those mountain paths in our rickety van. But it's hard to weigh random chance versus the threat of people actually trying to kill you.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Full story, full story! Definitely. Look, if some people are likely to be scared of that type of thing, it's better for them to know the full picture than to make uneducated decisions. As for the rest of us, your stories are always well-written and interesting to read, whether they are of entertaining variety or "scary" one.

Holy Hyrax said...

Driving is a privelage, not a right. And for Israelis, it should be taken away. Its ridiculous what goes on there. Noone gives a shit for one another on the road.

Rafi G said...

hh - your language!! there are children nearby!

rockofgalilee said...

Before or just after I made aliyah, I was following the NBN yahoo discussion group and someone commented not to post scary stories because it would scare people away from making aliyah.

I wrote back that if people come here unprepared for the reality then they would most likely move back when reality hit.

tafka PP said...
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