March 25, 2004

Shop Till You Drop takes on a Whole New Meaning in Israel

We get the news that Sheikh Yassin was assassinated along with seven other people. Take away the two possible by-standers, (sympathizers) and the rest were terrorists. In the Arab world, there is the usual denial that Yassin was anything but a "spiritual" leader. In reality, he was the political leader, as well. His personal word was the death sentence for a group of children at a pizza restaurant. It was the death of joyous dancing at a club in Jaffa, silenced by a suicide bomber, who waited until a high Jewish holiday to ruin the party. It was the deaths of mothers, blown away while trying to find the freshest onions at the market. And perhaps most poignantly, it was the death of a teenage Israeli girl, hired as part-time security for a store. Killed by a teenage Palestinian girl who, if the Israeli girl hadn't have stopped her, would have wandered inside and killed dozens more. Yes, shopping in Israel is only for the hearty.

Of course some drop while trying to go shopping. Taking a bus in Israel is the most extreme adventure of them all. It's a hard stressful commute, when you eye some 12 year old Palestinian with a bookbag, and say, "Is he carrying a bomb? I remember some 11 year old kid with a bag of explosives and nails, who was caught at the border." I suspect some passengers get off blocks before their planned stops downtown. For most Israelis the shopping binge begins with one fearful trip -- as they load up on as much food and necessities as possible at once. At least they can endure this war-zone state better when they think of Sheik Yassin's retribution.

© Bud

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