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Why Not Use The ‘W’ Word?

By DVORA WAYSMAN Jewish Press August 22, 2003

All over the world, people are afraid to say the word “cancer.” They are afraid that if they actually articulate it, somehow it will hasten their mortality, so they invent all kinds of euphemisms, including “the big C.”

Here in Israel, we have a different problem. We are being killed by our enemy every day, but no one, not even our prime minister or our minister of defense, will admit that we are at war. Instead we talk about “hamotzav” — the situation.

We also use our enemy’s vocabulary; we talk about the “intifada” (the uprising) and about the “hudna” (the cease-fire) idiotically, as our people are dying in terrorist attacks all over the country.

When 840 Jews have been murdered in these attacks in the last three years, why can’t we admit that we are at war? The popular phrase, even among our political leaders, is that they want “the peace process” to continue.

What peace process is that? It’s not “the peace process” being murdered. It’s our people. Eight hundred and forty-two Jews. That’s more than just a cold statistic. It’s 840 families that have been destroyed. Multiply that by 100 — for the victims’ friends, sweethearts, everyone whose lives they touched.

Once we were not so afraid of words. When murderous voices called out “Kill the Jews” in Europe, we gave it its proper name: pogrom. Today we are afraid of derailing the “road map.”

There is no road map. Our enemies have only one item on their agenda — our destruction. The hudna is a hiccup. A so-called cease-fire to enable them to re-group and re-arm so that they can murder us more successfully. The only ones who have ceased firing are the Israelis.

Last week, two Jews were murdered by two suicide bombers from the same refugee camp of Askar. We pretend they were two isolated incidents because one happened in Rosh Ha’ayin and the other one at Ariel. Two different Arab terrorist groups took responsibility, so Israel didn’t retaliate.

“Only” two were killed, but to the families and friends of 42-year-old Yehezkel Yekutiel and 18-year-old Erez Hershkowitz, life will never be the same again.

During the Holocaust, Jews had no country and no power. Today we have Israel and one of the strongest, and certainly the most moral, army in the world. We should be ashamed that we feel the necessity to ask President Bush for permission to protect ourselves or retaliate when we
are attacked.

We do not have a peace partner, only an enemy that wants us to disappear off the face of the earth. Let us stop deluding ourselves. We in Israel do not have a “situation,” an “uprising” or a “cease-fire.” What do we have? However hard it is to say it, the word is war.

Dvora Waysman, a well-known teacher of creative writing, is the author of nine books. Australian-born, she has lived in Israel for 32 years.

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