INSOUCIANCE UNDER FIRE
Copyrights © Avi Kossover, 2004, 2011 & Reuven Kossover, 2006, 2011.
Twice, I have been faced with the insouciance with which our younger child deals with terror in this country. The first time was a year and a half ago in November. My younger son wrote this account of the story he told around the dinner table.
"Almost doesn't count, except in horseshoes and car accidents." This is one of my dad's favorite sayings.
I was riding the eight bus to school at about 7:45 on Wednesday morning (10 Nov.). The bus was passing the Sephardi synagogue below my old elementary school at Ramat Moriah. On the right side of the road are the synagogue and the buildings. On the left side of the road is a nearly empty hill leading to a wadi about 60 meters down.
There was a suspicious vehicle (rékhev hashúd) next to the pizza shop across from the Sephardic synagogue. There were three police cars surrounding the vehicle at about twenty meters radius and there were two police men on each side of the road signaling to every one else not to pass. About fifty meters away on either side of the crosswalk were a lot of other kids going to a Hiloni (secular) school near the Sephardi synagogue and to my old elementary school.
I don't know why I noticed this but the car was a white Mitsubishi model. The hood of the car had blasted off and the front half of the car was totally on fire. There were two police men with fire extinguishers trying to put out the fire but were not getting very far.
After about ten minutes of everyone on the bus - including the driver - staring at the car, one of the officers signaled with one hand to pass and the other to go quickly meaning that "it was safe to pass", but to make it quick. The driver pulled out to the left of the burning car and started going forward. He didn't pick up speed fast enough. Just as I was looking directly at the flaming car to my right, there was another explosion. Smoke blasted the bus and the impact of this second but smaller explosion rocked the bus wildly and almost pushed it down the hill to the left. Most of the people on the bus screamed. I was silent, but very scared. But events of the day were such that I forgot to tell my parents until today (11 Nov.). I guess, after living here for three years, it's just another thing that happens on the way to school.
I had a math test yesterday. I think I got 80%.
That was a year and a half ago. This evening, while discussing all the explosives that the kids had set off in school (in preparation for Purim) he mentioned rather casually that an Arab kid had shot at the computer room in his school in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem, across the valley from Beit Jallah, an Arab village. The computer room had three inch thick bulletproof glass. The bullet penetrated about an inch and was stopped.
I said that this was news. Shooting from Beit Jallah doesn’t get reported in the news and it should be, I said. I was all ready to launch into a diatribe against the pathetic government radio always covering up for the Arabs when he shrugged it all off, saying that it happened at least two weeks ago. Avi said it may be news to an American, emphasizing the word as if Americans couldn’t stand anything but the soft routines of peaceful living, but it wasn’t news to an Israeli.
It was just an Arab kid firing at them, he said. While most rules get broken at his school, one that never gets broken is the prohibition against going on the roof. Everyone understands that being on the roof is an invitation to an Arab to shoot to kill.
Avi got up from the table and went to the cupboard where we kept the Oreos I had bought for a treat, got them out, and we had cookies for dessert. Then he went to bed.