Market Terror!

2016-06-09 15:09

Let me tell you about the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv.

Let me tell you what I saw last week when I visited the area for the first time.

I saw a store that sold a vast and stunning selection of green and black olives, ripe and bursting with colour and taste, and oils in cans and bottles and jugs. I saw a mouthwatering display of fresh and tempting treats. I saw a waffle and ice-cream shop with counter taps, out of which flowed liquid Nutella in brown and white chocolate. I saw them produce kebabs out of steamy, freshly minted waffles, and I saw the faces of the those, like me, who had never seen such wonder.

I saw a store that only sold baklava and another with a selection of local wines so plentiful that it was impossible to comprehend, and another with cheeses to be tasted and sampled and savoured. And we did.

And I saw Jews and Christians and Muslims and those who didn’t believe. And I saw locals and foreigners and Israelis all meandering and shopping and eating. I saw that almost every store flew the flag with the Gay Pride Colours ahead of the march that would take place in the coming days.

And I thought that indeed this is the best example of coexistence that I could imagine.

And then last night the dream was shattered. Two Palestinian terrorists, dressed up as observant Jews sat down at Max Brenner, a restaurant and chocolate manufacturer. They broke their fast, ate their dinner, ordered their dessert and then stood up, calmly took out their weapons and started shooting indiscriminately. And in doing so, they murdered 4 people and they gravely injured another 16. They devastated families and they further destroyed any hope that Palestinians and Israelis could live side by side.

And if that wasn’t bad enough. While people bled and died and paramedics scrambled to save lives and calm the panic, Hebron and Gaza celebrated. The reaction was instantaneous. Joy erupted with candies being handed to the children and fireworks lit the sky. Children who will now forever associate murder and death with sweetness and delight.

They did this during the Muslim month of Ramadan. And Hamas, lovers of death, have promised more attacks. Further damaging the reputation of fellow Muslims around the world. Because if indeed this was about Palestinian Statehood, then why the need to sully a religion in the process?

It’s just over a week since I left the Sarona Market. Max Brenner and the other inhabitants remain fresh in my mind. I pray that the Arab man behind the counter at the Olive Store is safe and well, and that the Jewish server at the Waffle Bar is unharmed. It’s also almost a week since the USA, Britain and Australia issues a terror alert for South Africa, and I wonder just how we would react if God forbid this happened to us?

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