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When will we forget Immanuel?

The Israeli politicians appeared on domestic radio and television programs this morning saying “it’s been 26 days since the last suicide bombing,” as though that was something to be pleased about.

They did not speak of the daily and nightly firing of mortars and rockets in Gaza and across Israel’s northern border, they failed to mention the numerous shootings on the country’s roads, nor did they point out the dozens of attempted terror attacks foiled by Israel’s security services.

Usually I am inundated by calls from foreign radio stations in the US and Europe asking for me to be interviewed about the latest developments in the Middle East. I just checked on my log and realize that I had not been called for several weeks – until yesterday. Since then I have been deluged with requests.

What happened in the interim? Why did the world not take note? The distress, sorrow, fear and psychological damage continued in Israel. The economy’s nosedive did not cease for 26 days. Mothers did not suddenly say to their 18-year-old children “you don’t need to go into the army this week.”

The answer to the question is obvious: the world has a short memory and only covers a story when there is a literal plethora of blood and guts.

That is understandable in the fast moving world of 2002.

However, what is of greater concern is this: will Israelis remember what happened at Immanuel on July 16, 2002 this time next year?

Yes, the name of the town will be synonymous with the terror attacks, but will anyone remember how many children were killed or maimed in the bombing, how many members of a single family were either blown up or seriously wounded?

Precious few. But why?

Two reasons immediately come to mind: there have been so many terror attacks it is no longer possible to remember who was killed where; and tragically Israelis too seem to only really take note when each successive attack is even more horrific than the last.

That is why the politicians were wrong to say there were no terror attacks for 26 days. If they downplay every knifing, gunshot and mortar discharge, then so will the rest of Israel.