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No Dead, Thirty Injured: Suicide Bombings and the Violence In Israel

By: Tzivy Ross  

How many times over the past year have we heard about a suicide bombing or incident of violence in Israel with no dead, several injured reported? What is the first thought that comes to most of our minds? 

Firstly, we our grateful for the nisim [miracles] that G-d has granted. We recognize that b’derech hateva [in the natural course of events] it is likely that the casualties would have been far greater. G-d grants a special hashgacha pratismidas hadin [trait of absolute judgement], He still maintains His midas harachamim [trait of compassion]. [divine supervision] over Eretz Yisroel.

We are further grateful for the gift of life that has been bestowed. Despite the extent of the injuries of the survivors, they are still alive. Life is of such preciousness and inherent value. While one is yet alive, there is goodness, there is potential and there is hope for the future. 

Yet beyond these thoughts, most of us tend to believe, if there were no fatalities, it wasn’t that serious. No dead reported means the damage was minimal. It means the effects were negligible. It means we can move on after hearing of the news because while upsetting, it just wasn’t significant enough to warrant our full attention. 

“No Dead Reported, Thirty Injured”. Let us examine again what that means. 

It means the 30 year old woman whose children will never again feel their mother’s arms around them warmly giving them a hug because one has been amputated due to the force of the blast. 

It means a six year old little girl who will never play hopscotch or jump rope with her friends because she has forever been confined to a wheelchair. 

It means the adolescent male who suffers from terrible burns on the exposed skin of his face and hands, who must wear bandages and whose face is covered with thick white cream for weeks. He faces a painful recovery, debilitating disfigurement and years of plastic surgery. 

No Dead Reported, Thirty Injured……generally includes bodies riddled with nails and bullets which the terrorist implants into the bomb to maximize damage, amputated limbs, shrapnel wounds on the victims arms and hands, hearing damage from the boom and painful burns to the skin and scalp. It means months or years of rehabilitation, painful physical therapy, multiple surgeries and devastating psychological trauma for the victims and their families. 

It means a woman overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness and depression, who has lost her identity as a wife and a mother because she can no longer care for her family. It means the formerly lively and happy little girl, now withdrawn and anxious, clinging to her mother with fear. It means a teenager plagued by nightmares and flashbacks of the violence he has witnessed, who can no longer distinguish between the continuous wail of the sirens replaying in his mind and the normal sounds of everyday life that he hears outside his window. 

It means children whose feeling of safety and trust has forever been eliminated, adults who have lost their feeling of security, and hundreds of victims experiencing post-traumatic stress related symptoms such as anxiety, depression, hypervigilance and somatization. 

No Dead Reported, Thirty Injured means incomprehensible suffering and mesiras nefesh [sacrifice] on the part of the victims and their families who are hurting only for their crime of being a Jew. 

So what can we do? 
First of all, we must feel the pain of the victims and their families. We must understand the scope of the devastation of the violent incidents in Israel, even when there are no fatalities. 

Secondly, we must lend the victims our support. I recently visited Israel and heard clearly from many Israelis that more hurtful even than the terrorists’ striking at them was the pain of feeling alone and isolated in their terrible distress. Support can come in many forms, including financial support, visiting Israel and writing to the terror victims and their families. Many Israelis feel passionately about the idea that support must include the encouragement of and practical assistance toward yishuv eretz yisroel [settling in the Land of Israel] for those who are able to do so. 

Thirdly, let us educate ourselves. It is crucial that we are all aware of exactly what is going on in Israel, and armed with knowledge on how to respond to others on this crucial topic. Speak out, sign petitions, write letters to the editor if you feel that they have been unfair in their depiction of events in Israel. It does make a difference, and empowers those who have been feeling helpless over the terrible events in Israel. 

Finally, above all, pray for the terror victims and their families. Take on additional chasadim [acts of kindness] specifically in the merit of their recovery. When one part of k’lal yisroel [the Jewish people]suffers so deeply, we must all feel the pain and take responsibility. That is one of the strengths of the Jewish people, and it is this unity that will ultimately cause our suffering being turned to joy and redemption, speedily in our days.  

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