I’ve been pondering for days what to write about last week’s events in Jerusalem. Reporting a lot of detail is a waste of time. There are ample news sources doing a good job (and watchful groups calling out those doing a TERRIBLE job. CNN & MSNBC, I’m looking at you).
Instead, I want to share some of the ripples I’ve seen and felt every time a stone is thrown in the water.
- Prayer is suddenly mandatory. One doesn’t leave the house without putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). One doesn’t enter home at night without thanking God for His protection. (What about when there is seemingly no protection? Read about this Christian injured (also here in Dutch) and then listen to Hated for His Namesake).
- One doesn’t cross the street the same. There were a rash of car ramming attacks last year. Just today Hamas called for young jihadists to drop their knives and get into cars for higher causality counts.
- Buses and the tram require extra prayer. It was a bus stop where a driver plowed through the people waiting for a bus then got out of the vehicle to hack at a man with clever. It was a bus in which two men started shooting and stabbing. They killed 2 and wounded 15. It was a bus station where two men began shooting and stabbing just tonight, killing 1 and wounding 11.
As many analysts and columnists and long-time residents will tell you, this is nothing like the Second Intifada, in which the popular weapon was a vest full of explosives. Yet it’s having its psychological effect on both Arab and Jew.
- Jews sometimes react in fright if I walk past them too briskly.
- Jerusalem-native Arabs make sure to keep their hands out of pockets and to smile and be extra friendly and courteous so as to not be held up by Israel police forces.
- This international is shopping closer to home. I suspect local Jews and Arabs are doing the same.
- A friend in Tel Aviv is hesitant to come by bus to Jerusalem. Then she tells me she’s stressed about even going out in her city as there have been attacks there, too.
- Some nights, gangs of right-wing Jewish youth roam looking for Arabs to hurt.
- An Arab shop owner is beat by police after he runs to catch a tourist who forgot her purchase. The situation was diffused only when another police officer recognized him.
- An Arab hair stylist used by many people I know has a Jew run up to him and start yelling “Terrorist!” Thankfully, the police officer nearby knew the Arab.
- A friend of mine was on pins and needles for hours after receiving word that an Arab teen she befriended is dead. Thankfully, it was a false alarm.
- Some Arab neighborhoods are being walled off to better monitor who comes out and check for weapons.
I feel like I could keep going. There are so many knock-on effects.
By and large, Jews want to just make peace, but there are those who want the Arabs out at any cost. Many Arabs just want to live in peace, but their young men radicalize when they immerse themselves with Islamist messages online and then their leaders egg them on.
What can we do? We followers of Yeshua in the Land have to be peacemakers. Sometimes that means praying. Sometimes that means conversing, mediating. Sometimes it means removing racist graffiti from the bus stop.