The victims of Islamikaze bombers in Israel get so little respect from most of the world that their stories are hardly ever told. It takes the murder of a few Arabs to get attention for the victims. Too much of the world just doesn't care that Jews are murdered simply for being Jews. After all, the world seems to say, How can the Jews be victims?
Maybe it's beginning to change, though I'm not betting on it. Suicide bombings killing Arabs is becoming more common and the Arabs are actually condemning the act... at least when non-Jews are killed.
There's little change in Israel. Maybe a few news outlets will tell a story like this, but because it doesn't fit the story they want to tell, since it doesn’t fit the truth as they’ve been reporting it for decades, it's not likely to get much play. Arguably the only reason it's getting any play at all is because Arabs were killed and there is an Arab hero. So, call me cynical.
Of Israel's 6 million citizens, approximately a million are Arab. Although Israeli society is far from integrated, it is far from apartheid. In Haifa, Arabs and Jews live together in the same neighborhoods. On Jerusalem's streets the two peoples rub shoulders daily, their children play in the same parks and some attend the YMCA's binational kindergarten. In a northern town like Afula, or a southern one like Beersheba, Arabs and Jews ride beside each other on the escalators of the shopping mall.
When ambulances raced most of the 71 wounded in the blast Monday to Afula Hospital, they were received by Dr. Aziz Daroushe, the Arab physician in charge of its emergency room. About 20 percent of the hospital staff and 40 percent of its patients are Arab. Hitam Hamoud, 26, a Galilee Arab also injured in the blast, lies in its intensive care unit. He has regained consciousness and his condition has improved enough to exchange notes with his parents by his bedside; doctors are waiting until he is stable enough to be operated on.
Over the last two and a half years of the intifada, many Arabs have numbered among the casualties of attacks perpetrated by Palestinians.
Shahada Dadis, 30, a pharmaceutical representative, was shot to death in January 2002 while on the way to Jenin with medical supplies. A 1-year-old Arab girl suffered third-degree burns to her face and body in a bombing in Hedera in the autumn of 2000. Maysoun Amin Hassan, 19, who was scheduled to study psychology at Haifa University, was one of nine people killed in a bus suicide bombing in August 2002.
Ahmed Salah Kara, 20, a truck driver, was shot dead when a Palestinian gunman opened fire at an industrial depot in April. Nizal Awassat, a father of 11, was killed in August 2002 when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire as he sat in a coffee house beside Jerusalem's Old City.
Suad Jaber, on her way to hand in the final semester paper for her degree in mathematics and statistics, was among 14 killed in a bus bombing in October 2002. Kamar Abu Hamed, 12, was killed with 17 others on her way home from school in March.
The stories of Jewish victims are neither more tragic, nor less. When people set out with murder in their hearts, there is no telling whose lives will be shattered. How can any be justified, how can any be glorified, how can any lead anywhere but sorrow?
It's a good story, but it saddens me to read. Arab lies have become de facto truths for many otherwise intelligent people across the world. This will only help to reinforce the lies. But just maybe someone will see the futility and cruelty of a system that encourages its youth to hate and kill. Maybe someone will see the faults in the society that deals with adversity in such destructive ways. Maybe someone will see the self-destructive acts for what they are. I can only wish.