While IM-ing with Yishay this morning, I mentioned the news I heard on NPR about the latest suicide bombing in Haifa. Yishay had not heard of it until then. He went silent for a while before returning to our conversation, apparently after having made a phone call to see if any of his family members there had been injured.
I was struck again by the immediacy of the crisis we are all in. For us in the US, even us the liberals who are vehimently against this war, the news of yet another suicide bombing was a sad but surreal news. The more it happens the more we are numb to it. The conversation with Yishay today brought it back into focus for me. We are all Israelis. We are all Palestinians.
Talking about Yishay, he was a speaker at a recent Amnesty conference in Ireland. Here's a transcript of his talk there. He was absolutely eloquent in the recounting of his decision to join the Rufuseniks, those who with courage to refuse their services in the Israeli army. My favorite part was how he described his first day in military prison, after having been sentenced there by a military tribunal. Here's how he told it:
"....After three days I called my commanders and told them that my decision is firm. We agreed on the screenplay from there on: I would report with my battalion as usual, do the short training with everyone, and when the busses load for Gaza, I will stand trial.
On 20 March, 2002 my battalion commander court-martialled me for inappropriate conduct. He found me guilty, and sentenced me to 28 days in prison. On the 21st I woke up in military prison 6, and I knew I was a free man - free as I have never been before."