A friend of mine sent me an article from Breitbart (here). I’d like to quote two paragraphs:
[A unit] of [Israeli] soldiers — which had gone into a mosque looking for weapons, explosives, and rockets — encountered a female suicide bomber who was about to detonate the belt she wore, which would have resulted in the deaths of the soldiers. One of the soldiers instinctively recited the opening words of the holiest Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael”. The female suicide bomber hesitated and began trembling, giving the soldiers a chance to grab her and disable the device.
The soldiers then took her prisoner and turned her over to a counter-intelligence unit. Their investigation uncovered that the female suicide bomber’s mother was a Jew who had married a Palestinian in Israel and, after the wedding, was smuggled against her will into Gaza. There she lived a life filled with abuse and humiliation, and was basically a captive. In addition to the female suicide bomber, there were two smaller children as well. An armored force went in and rescued the two small children.
On first reading, I understood it to mean the Israeli soldier spoke the opening words of the prayer “Shema Yisrael” in an effort to appeal to the suicide bomber’s humanity, to weaken her resolve, invoking the universal fear of death, fear of “the final judgement”, a fear so primal that it transcends any one religion. A humbling and insightful way to disarm a human bomb.
Because the phrase “instinctively recited” is ambiguous, my first reading was wrong. I missed the real meaning.
On second reading, I understand it wasn’t a quick-thinking tactical maneuver. It was the Israeli soldier’s “I am about to die” moment. Confronting unavoidable death, speaking for himself and his fellow soldiers, he was kissing his ass goodbye. Not unlike a Christian’s invocation of “The Lord’s Prayer“, in a moment of mortal panic. The soldier wasn’t tying to weaken his attacker. He was preparing to die.
The Israeli soldier’s words had the unexpected effect of weakening the suicide bomber’s resolve. Who, unknown to him, was the daughter of a Jewish mother. And a victim herself. She understood this prayer, and trembled upon hearing it.
Which makes this passage even more chilling. And beautiful.
Is my second reading correct?
I’m interested in what other readers think. Read the rest of this entry »
Over at NRO‘s The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez writes: There is a tendency in certain parts to eye-roll when the word “dialogue” is raised. And I’ve certainly sat through some dialogues now and again that didn’t seem to get anywhere. But today in Washington, D.C., Arthur Brooks, it seems to me, did a very good thing. The president of the American Enterprise Institute hosted the Dalai Lama for a conversation about morality and economics. During the course of private and public interactions with Brooks and the people he gathered at the American Enterprise Institute, the Dalai Lama announced that he had a new respect for capitalists, who, he had previously assumed took people’s money and exploited them.
An affirmative answer to the question posed in the title of this post would be a step too far, but at AEI today, the spiritual leader of Tibetans wasn’t playing economist or politician, but reminding people of our common humanity and responsibilities to one another. And it seemed pretty clear to me that the hedge-fund billionaire on the main panel, Daniel Loeb, talking about how contemplation and meditation enhances decision-making and his work with an inner-city Brooklyn charter school, was not at all the caricature of capitalists the Dalai Lama is used to hearing from his admirers on the Left.
From Mediaite via The Corner, National Review Online: Former secretary of defense Robert Gates spoke on the Today Show Monday morning, saying that while he was “not really surprised” by the reaction to his memoir, he was upset with the politicization of it.
“In a way I was disappointed that the book has been hijacked by people along the political spectrum to serve their own purposes, taking quotes out of context,” Gates said. “It’s part of the political warfare in Washington that I decry in the book.”
from The College Fix:
Former Weather Underground terrorist and Obama associate Bill Ayers is having trouble with his book tour, it seems. Local news sources in Wisconsin report that his latest public appearance has been canceled due to a lack of public interest.
The Madison Public Library, which had organized the hour-long event, said they “didn’t have the kind of interest” they had anticipated.
Ayers has been touring the country in support of his new book, Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident.
via The Corner