Less than a week ago, Shie and I went out for a little brunch treat to Sarona Market in Tel Aviv. It was a beautiful day, my favorite popular brunch spot miraculously had no line for a table, and the food was delicious. It was really a perfect morning.
Last night, two people chose that same spot, sat down to order desert, and then opened fire, blindly shooting innocent civilians.
Sarona is a large, mostly outdoor pedestrian mall, with grassy areas for kids and puppies to run around, and high-end retail stores for tourists to shop in converted German Templar buildings. The indoor Market boasts a fantastic assortment of vendors and mini-restaurants and fancy kitchen shops. The whole complex has a relaxed vibe – in fact, the only security check is at the indoor space of the Market. I hadn’t realized that last part until two people took horrible advantage of that lack of security yesterday.
As of today, 4 innocent people have succumbed to their wounds, murdered by people who didn’t know them – murdered because they went out for dinner that night. Presumably, because they’re Jews. But they might not be – everyone comes to Sarona: Jews, Arabs, tourists from all over the world.
Today, I’m on the train back to Tel Aviv for a typical busy day at work. My life won’t stop and millions of others are going about their daily routines. But for the victims, the families of the victims, the friends of the victims, their employers, their teachers, their neighbors – life will never be the same.
I haven’t posted on this blog in a while, even during the random stabbings of Israelis all over this country. Even when it was scary to go out in public and even when I was constantly checking my surroundings and suspiciously eyeing anyone walking toward me (men, women, and teenagers).
This incident is no different than the others – terrorism is terrorism is terrorism – but I did feel the need to let others in on the innocence of the place where this horrifying incident occurred. The innocence of my favorite brunch spot that is now forever lost. What happens next? They build a fence around Sarona – around all the parks, all the green spaces, all the kids, all the puppies. There will be only a few entrances, all guarded by security professionals who will check your bag before you enter. In a few months or a few years, you’ll take your children to Sarona and maybe they’ll ask you why there’s a fence. This is why.