Our 7-year-old daughter today asked a question that she never would have asked before we moved to Israel: "Abba, why did they shoot the mishloach manot?"
Mishloach manot, "sending gifts," are baskets of goodies that Jews send each other during the Purim holiday that we recently celebrated. Our daughter was out with her class, and the street was blocked off, there were "ten police cars and twenty policemen" and they made everyone stand far away, and one of the policemen shot at the mishloach manot. Our daughter wanted to know why.
How do you explain terrorists, bombs, etc., to a seven-year-old? Well, living in Israel, they absorb the notion that there are bad people around who want to hurt other people, so all it took was explaining that shooting them is how to make them blow up without hurting anyone in case it was a bomb. It also provided an opportunity to remind her not to leave her backpack unattended, lest it be used for target practice!
Fortunately, she has absorbed our values and understands that not all Palestinians, not even everyone in Gaza is a terrorist, even if she sometimes gets a little confused on the vocabulary; the other day she said "not everyone in Gaza is a bad person, just the tourists who want to blow up buses." (!)
Speaking of the bad people in Gaza, today marks the 1000th day in captivity for Gilad Shalit. We continue to pray for his release; as someone concerned with human rights, I note that Hamas continues with another one of their many human rights violations by refusing to allow the Red Cross to visit Shalit and verify his condition. Unfortunately, I doubt sending Hamas a petition would be very effective, unless the petition were delivered tied to the nose of a 1,000 pound bomb…not that I'm encouraing more bombs, chas' v'chalila (God forbid).
Unfortunately, peace, and the day when parents will no longer need to explain to their children why mishloach manot are occasionally blown up by the police feels more distant than ever.
I find myself feeling very disappointed — angry I suppose is a better term — with Tzipi Livni. Once upon a time I was a supporter of hers, thought she might be a good thing. New face, "Ms. Clean," all that sort of thing. However, her refusal to enter the government has convinced me she is more interested in her own personal political career than she is in the welfare of the country. These are very difficult and dangerous times in Israel — Hamas is still in power in Gaza, rockets continue to fall on communities in the south, Iran is contually edging closer to having a nuclear weapon, and the global economy is in melt-down. This is a certainly a time when we need a strong, broad government, capable of negotiating effectively with the Palestinians, with Syria, and capable of doing the lobbying and making the tough decisions that will need to be made relative to Iran. If Tzipi were in the government, she could be a major moderating influence on Netanyahu and Likud; instead she is leaving the country in the hands of a narrow right wing coaltion (maybe a little less narrow if Labor joins) in the hopes that it will be unstable and collapse in short order. If she's wrong, we're going to have a very scary government for the next few years. Somehow I don't think Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister is going to help our standing in the free world. Her ongoing refusael to join the government and insisting on keeping Kadima in the opposition is dangerous for Israel — it's downright irresponsible.