By Romi Sussman

Our lives here in Gush Etzion, and in many places throughout Israel, are so much more nuanced than people outside of these areas can understand. This morning, while I was working from home, my neighbor knocked on the door. Moshe is a building construction supervisor who works on large apartment buildings and other projects throughout Jerusalem and the Gush.


“Can you help me with something in English?” he asked in Hebrew.

As we sat down, he explained that he’s uncomfortable with the large gun that he carries. He works with teams of Arab workers, and he wants his gun to be concealed. He feels this way for two reasons. First of all, he thinks his gun can be easily stolen from him and used against him. And, he doesn’t want to look like he’s threatening his workers as he works throughout the day.

So he wanted to order a specific gun holster that will be more discrete. He needed help on Amazon, which is entirely in English, to order the product. We chatted about our guns, about the gun holster that I’m currently buying as well, and about our color choices.

I couldn’t help but think what a weird, weird world it is that we live in when two neighbors sit chatting, with rain hitting the window, about their gun choices and their gun holders.

But then, the conversation took an even weirder turn as he relayed an incident that happened yesterday. At about 8:00 in the morning yesterday there was a pigua, an attack, again, in Gush Etzion. An Arab approached a group of soldiers with a knife, and they managed to shoot him as he tried to stab them.

Soon after the incident, Moshe was at home, working in his garden with an Arab worker named Jihad (yes, ‘Jihad’). He and Jihad were trying to open a box in the garden that wouldn’t budge. So Moshe went into his home and found a large knife that he knew would do the job. He handed it to Jihad and said, “Go ahead and open it.”

Jihad paused, knife in hand, and looked at Moshe. “You know there was just another Arab attack at the Tzomet,” Jihad said.

“Yes,” Moshe said. “I know. I was stuck in the traffic getting my daughter to school.”

“I was stuck in it too,” Jihad replied.

Jihad looked at the knife. He looked at Moshe and then…then he sighed, took the knife, opened the container and handed the knife back to Moshe.

Our lives are incredibly complicated. They are intertwined. And they will continue to be intertwined for the good, or the terribly bad, as we figure out this complicated and incredibly convoluted situation here in the rolling hills of Gush Etzion.

Originally appeared on Times of Israel

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