Wednesday, May 05, 2004

It's been 3 days since Tali Hatuel was shot at close range, along with her children. The emails still circulate about her, the sadness still rings in people's hearts. But there is no riot, no rally, no one who is taking to the streets to demand that this happen never again. No one standing outside government buildings in support of action, any action -- even action that a week ago I may have been ambivalent about -- that would tell the world that we Jews will not tolerate murder. We will not tolerate the murder of our children.

And so a Palestinian state will have to wait. If it takes a thousand years, we will wait for our Arab neighbors to stop seeking our blood. But until then, there will be no Palestinian state, no chance for them to let their murderers roam free to kill innocent children who did nothing more than build a house where they shouldn't have. We have waited 3,500 years for the Messiah. We will wait for the Palestinians to learn. And until then, anyone who messes with us will learn the meaning of wrath.

But no one is saying this. No one is yelling. No one is screaming for Tali Hatuel and her children, and the husband and father who has lost everything. Only the people shaking their heads and saying "that poor man. That poor man," and insisting that we go on with our normal routines.

I am not a fan of anger. I am not a fan of rage that leaves no room for forgiveness. It is one of the reasons I have steered clear of siding with right-wingers here. But the last three days I have changed. I feel rage. Rage with a little space for the intellectual knowledge that perhaps someday the Palestinians will change. But this week they have not.

This week, they have not.

And so I've been thinking about the 25th chapter of one of my favorite books by John Steinbeck:

"There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success . . . and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."

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