Adina’s Israel Story – Guest Musing

Adina is the daughter of one of my best friends and one of my daughter’s best friends.  My aunt and uncle and many of my cousins and friends live within a short distance of Adina and her family. This is her story.

We overslept this morning. Instead of our usual 6am wake up, my husband woke with a start at 6:50. I was nursing the baby while he got up to brush his teeth. Within minutes he returned, handing me his phone silently. “Terrorist apprehended in Zayit neighborhood of Efrat, one wounded, all residents told to stay indoors.” I handed his phone back to him and said, “oh.”


Sometimes there is no response to the unthinkable. Sometimes there is no response to what is almost inevitable and yet we hope and pray so desperately to avoid.

If you exit my home you’ll find a set of stairs. Go up the stairs, turn left onto the next street and walk twenty five paces up the hill. You’ll see a small park with three colorful slides and a see-saw. My kids call it “the crinkly slide park”. Cross the street and look behind the first house. You’ll see a dirt access road. The road is lined with olive and fig trees. Sometimes my kids and I like to go pick figs on that road. The last time I went there I tripped on a large rock and scraped my knee. Right there, behind the quiet houses and the fruit-bearing trees and the wooden swing and the swirling orange dust of the dirt road, a terrorist hid last night. He crouched in a bush for five hours while two knives in his pocket whispered murder into his heart.

I don’t know which village he came from, I don’t know how long he was planning this for. I don’t know if he was a desperate pawn or a brainwashed ideologue or a frightened, manipulated teenager. I don’t know if he’d tried to kill people in the past and been thwarted. I don’t know if this was his first time in Efrat or his fiftieth. But I know that this morning the cold clutching terror yet again clawed up from its spot of refuge to grasp me with its icy tentacles.

My heart is shattered, but in familiar places. It breaks each time we are reminded of our fragile lives here in Israel and repairs itself as time heals the worry and the wounds. But those breaks are fault-lines and they run in predictable patterns, breaking and healing repeatedly as we navigate our staid lives interspersed with heart-stopping, heart-breaking terror. A soldier was wounded doing his job this morning, but we all know what could have happened instead. As we scrupulously lock our doors, day and night, we remember the could-have-beens and the what-has-beens of Israel’s reality. We smile and nod, shop and laugh, gather at parks and restaurants and shows, relying not only on our soldiers and our God who leads and protects them, but also on our desperate need for normalcy.

We hadn’t told the kids yet what had happened and my three year old saw soldiers combing the street below at 7am. Excited, he ran out onto the balcony to see better, but I called him inside and shut the glass sliding door. Why? My boys asked. Why can’t we go outside? To children, soldiers are exciting — brave and strong and impressively geared. To me, soldiers are a frightening acknowledgement of our tenuous hold on this country that has been the longing passion of our nation-soul for eons of persistent dreaming, yet ours for only sixty eight fragile years.

“A bad man came into Efrat last night, but the chayalim (soldiers) caught him,” we tell the kids, “they’re here to make sure there are no more bad men.” They accept this simple explanation with the purity of their belief in the endurable power of goodness to vanquish the dark.

The lock-down is lifted and by 7:30 parents are leaving for work and children are waiting for school busses on the street corners. It’s as if life is back to usual, except what seems like the entire IDF has gathered onto our small hill. Friendly soldiers are giving children candy and concerned mothers are bringing the soldiers cold water and fresh chocolate chip cookies. Our community will have a barbeque tonight for the chayalim at the exact spot where the terrorist was caught. The joy and deliverance bubble over from within our deep gratitude and appreciation for being saved from unthinkable horror this morning, yet they cannot fully hide the anxious tinge of concern that floats underneath the surface of our brave posturing. When will it happen again? Where? And next time — at what cost?

10 thoughts on “Adina’s Israel Story – Guest Musing”

  1. And another attack this weekend with the death of a 60 year old woman and a soldier. I can only admire the tenacity of the Israeli people. Praying for Israel. The apple of God’s eye, said Corrie ten Boom. I will remember your family and pray specifically for their protection, Susan. A group from our church is going to Israel next month. Wish I was going with them. Maybe next year.

    1. I do hope you can go to Israel. Despite the continual assaults, most parts of the country feel safer than many places in the States.

  2. HIS ways are not our ways.

    He is never wrong or never late

    Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?..Romans 8:35

    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Roams 8:28

    Life is hard – it is harder when there is no trust in HIM

  3. I feel so sad that we live in such dangerous times, yet glad for the brave Israeli soldiers willing to put their life on the line to protect the community. You are right to identify this person as a terrorist. It doesn’t matter why this person has become a terrorist, only the act or the desire to commit murder is important. May God keep you safe always.

  4. There is scant comfort for any inhabitant of the Holy Land who is shadowed day and night by random terror. Yet I from afar find truth in the thoughts of Benyamin Netanyahu, as revealed to former presidential candidate and current talk show host Herman Cain. Mr. Cain had an interview with Mr. Netanyahu and asked him point blank: “Why do these terrorists hate us so?”

    Mr. Netanyahu replied: “They hate us because our side won. Their Prophet promised them victory, yet we are prosperous while they remain impoverished and backward. Thus they are obsessed with envy and vengeance” (or words to that effect…I cannot quote exact wording third-hand from a bygone radio broadcast). But the fact remains: SOME of them seem a nest of vipers: ACTING as if they are exhorted or commanded to return evil for evil, to exact retribution for wrongs actual, perceived or imagined. The Prophet in their book seems to have exacted similar vengeance on his detractors. Yet the adherents to the Judaeo-Christian tradition are exhorted to exhibit kindness and let the Lord work it out in the end. Is it not so? Our Book begins by declaring Man a creation who received the breath of God. Their book does not: men are either Believers or unbelievers and unbelievers are scum. But I hold with Eleanor Roosevelt, quoted as saying: “Blowing out the candles of another does not make your candle burn any brighter.”

    From the calculated designs of our Crypto-Mullah-in-Chief to seed our American populace with Middle-easterners and South Asians of unknown origin and intent, we in the USA will soon enjoy more random acts of Islamist terror, just like Efrat, I fear, however without the astute Israeli military presence to identify the vermin and clean them out. Our militia will be neutralized, shackled and fettered in ‘political correctness’ by diabolical design. Germany is already rediscovering the vital, ardent imperative of Europe’s historical wars against Islamic infiltration. Perhaps the Viking descendants in Sweden will one day follow suit.

      1. Indeed. In my posting I focus on the holy book as interpreted by Fundamentalists. I hasten to add that I have Muslim friends of long-standing to whom I would entrust my life and that of my family. Still I do not, nor will I ever trust Islam, from the draconian tenets established by the founder on a scriptural basis. Neither my Muslim friends nor I accept the sweeping condemnations against unbelievers.

        1. You are posing a real conundrum, James. In Israel, there are entire Moslem communities that have been on friendly terms with Jewish neighborhoods since before 1948. Yet, there are others that shelter and encourage terrorists. How to distinguish between individuals when the price of letting down vigilance is so serious, is a major issue.

          1. Yes, I know it. The impossible paradox boggles the mind. The problem is that that the holy book in question, if one takes the trouble to read it, seems to exhort the Believers to exact capital revenge on unbelievers. Once I undertook to read it, but gave up when I read those verses that exhorted the True Believer to kill the People of the Book. Still (like you) I cannot reconcile the message of their book to my sincere and loyal Muslim friends. Enough said, perhaps.

          2. That is a problem that Moslems who want to live in civilized society are the only ones who can grapple with. It cannot be made to go away by deliberately blind people calling Islam a religion of peace.

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