Israeli Insider columnist Doron Kescher wrote, “the silent majority of Palestinians who just want to live in peace simply does not exist.” I think I found one. His name is Yousef Jaara.
BBC Online reports Yousef says “we must talk.” Yes. We must. Yousef Jaara’s 24-year-old son murdered my brother, Jan. 29, in a Jerusalem bus bombing, a little over 30 days ago.
While mourning, I flew to the Netherlands, an American-Canadian face showing solidarity for the No. 19 bus which Chezi was murdered in. Christians for Israel funded flying the bus from Tel Aviv to shame Hague’s International Criminal Court. I stated to world media gathered in front of my brother’s final ride, “I want to meet the murderer of my brother.”
I just might get my chance.
Seven years ago, a cabinet member from the PNA was assigned to my Thanksgiving holiday dinner table. I was a citizen diplomat. I told media at the Hague, my guest told me no mother wants to bury her child before herself. I said I want a mother who conceives a child, carries a child, births and raises a child for 24 years to look me in my eyes and tell me she suffered this joy to have him murder himself along with a 10 commuters in Israel.
Let me tell you what the press told me in the Netherlands: Ali’s mother is devastated. And Ali’s father is talking out. Talk to me Yousef. Help me figure out how we are losing our young to manipulative, emotional terrorists eager to sacrifice young men and women in crisis. I want to know what trigger-pushing causes dysfunctional young adults to murder without conscience.
One day after eight Palestinians were killed in clashes on the Gaza Strip, Yousef Jaraa’s son climbed on Chezi’s No. 19 one-way ticket commuter bus. BBC quotes Yousef saying, “Killing on either side is not good.” BBC Online says Yousef would have stopped his son if he knew Ali’s intentions. How often do we know what are children are really doing, where they are going, who they are meeting?
I discovered my son was dating a girl 2:30 one morning. A fire marshall called to let me know he was a near-fatal casualty in a car accident four hours from his college. Yousef found out Ali’s political involvements shortly before the Israeli Defense Force arrived to destroy his house. His son was a murderer. Now Yousef lives in a tent.
Ali is part of the growing demographics bomb murderers are commonly found in – the tough 20s, the age teens grow into challenged, but sometimes not surviving. High school ends. Some youths move to college and careers. Others become disillusioned. So death becomes them. Ali is consistent with their profile. Quiet. Non-political.
Ali supported seven sisters, an ailing father. Yousef tells how hard his son’s murder is on his heart. Israeli checkpoints complicate his travelling for medication to hospitals.
Chezi’s murder is hard on his family’s hearts. Their financially challenged life was spiritually fulfilling. Between working as a radio host and columnist, Chezi pioneered in Israel a field of psychology focused on children of emigrant families to the Holy Land who fell between the cracks after their move from the Western Hemisphere.
You name it, Chezi pulled skeletons of prostitution, alcoholism, drug abuse, incest, sexual abuse, clerical sexual abuse out of Israeli closets. The Knesset called upon him to testify to a subcommittee when a Western 15-year-old girl died of an overdose.
He had yeshiva school bills and a mortgage. Just before dying, Chezi found out about improprieties in his pension, which was dissipated. Seven children, debt mounting from living shekel to shekel, Israeli dollar to Israeli dollar, Chezi – unable to afford a car – commuted to his death.
If someone is keeping score, please tell me when we are even?
Ali Jaraa, a Palestinian Authority police officer, made a political statement he didn’t count on when Chezi’s elite quorum of 10 civilian men and women were called to service, one block from Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s residence in the Muslim Jihad, Holy War, against America. Israel’s self-victimization just makes it a convenient scapegoat.
Readers now admit openly, without Chezi, they fear living. He broke reader’s hearts, admitting unashamedly he feared dying. A complacent world that lost its tears, is answering his question: “If you don’t cry who will?” I’m crying. Yousef is crying. We’re all crying.
We didn’t realize what we had until we lost it. Maybe Yousef and I can start building a gesher ktzar me’od– a narrow bridge – back to the Holy Land, building over a cuppa. My place or yours, Yousef? Earl Gray, English breakfast, chamomile or mint?