Beit Lid junction is nearly a countryside location on the road between Netanya and Hadera. It has a small kiosk where soldiers commonly swarm inside and out at the early hours of the day, waiting for transportation to their military bases. This location is unfortunately very close to Palestinian cities, known as anthills of terrorist activity.
On January 22, 1995, on a leisurely Sunday morning, when soldiers gathered around the bus station and the kiosk, a Palestinian terrorist, disguised as an Israeli soldier, loaded with at least a ten kilogram belt bomb, coldly positioned himself as close as possible to a large group of soldiers and activated the bomb button. Then the second terrorist also disguised as an Israeli soldier, calmly waited until rescuers rushed to help the first casualties before activating his bomb. “The carnage was indescribable,” wrote Mr. Lipkin Shahak, former chief of Staff in Israel, who gave his account of this event on the cover of the book.
FP: Can you tell us a bit about what the families shared with you?
Zrihen-Dvir: Besides the pain and tears, I was confronted by a strange phenomenon: A significant fraction of the parents of the victims harbored a very unusual sense of guilt. To me, it seemed that unbeknownst to them, they were flagellating their own moral fiber – I even heard a few sentences such as: we snatched their land… we occupy their territories… what can anyone expect in these circumstances? That presumption and the countervailing standpoints of others is a clarification of the amplifying fissure existing amongst Israelis: There are those who believe in their rights to their ancestral land, and others, from the extreme political left stream, who openly believe in the so-called “occupation” and are ready to compromise to the extent of being completely swallowed up by Palestinians.
I didn’t want to trigger an argument nor elaborate on any stance, as my book isn’t meant to cover the territorial/political aspect of the conflict. It was written merely to recognize the humanitarian side of things.
Some parents described their intimate feelings for their departed children and their relationships with them. They also touched on the impact that this tragedy has had on their lives – a few didn’t even survive it. However, there were parents who, for one reason or another, reluctantly refused to be interviewed and I clearly understood their taking this stance.
Generally, a remarkable strength and determination emanated from them, regardless of the circumstances they suffered.
FP: You state that there are some “wrong conceptions” that “remain as true.” Explain what you mean and why, in your view, justice been buried.
Zrihen-Dvir: There was an underlying territorial conflict, intentionally triggered by the Arab world and their supporters, the British. But that had long since been surpassed by a useless hatred engendered by wrong conceptions and religious boundaries. Young, gullible minds were brainwashed by those who never truly cared for the welfare of their own people (Palestinians). These young Palestinian people had been blatantly used by cynical leaders whose main aims were power, money and greed. Justice has long been buried by misleading information and false evidences, tremendously supported by conniving media channels.
FP: What is the overall message you want to come through this book?
Zrihen-Dvir: This book isn’t meant to sift through the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but to display the tremendous gap existing between two mindsets: We have for instance, a Palestinian/Muslim mother who would urge her child to kill as many kufars (infidels) as possible and be killed, with the incredible promise of Heaven and 72 virgins awaiting him as a reward. On the opposite side of the coin, there is a Jewish mother who would be ready to give her life and anything else she owns in order to protect her children’s lives. Muslim religious conceptions teach and praise the love of death, while Jews spread the love of life. Freedom and Progress are differently assessed by Muslims, while Jews are openly standing for them.
From the text, involving confrontations and exchanges between Jews and Palestinians, we reach a conclusion that takes cognizance of today’s defying threats against the free world.
To me it is anyway, my modest contribution to this very odd and cherished country called Israel and to its restless fighters.
FP: Therese Zrihen-Dvir, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
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