May 8, 2020, Israel
Recently protests have erupted against the government in Israel. There are some protests that are aimed at the target, i.e. the one being protested against can actually do something about the issue at hand, they have that power and ability. Many have protested the recent government shutdown of the economy as a response to the Coronavirus, whatever your opinion may be on this matter at least they are protesting a body that can effect change. But other protests have also been erupting, against the on-going violence against women.
This is a tragic and shameful topic, one that we prefer not to discuss. When Dr. Theodore, Binyamin, Herzl, envisioned a Jewish State, or a State of Jews, he wanted us to be as all the nations, something which our Torah warns us against, and sadly this has come true. We are now "blessed" with many problems we had not encountered before, at least not on this level, including drunkenness, domestic violence, and murder. With the enforced lockdown as the government's attempt to reduce the spread of the virus, it was clear to me that this lockdown would have many unhappy side-effects. One of those side-effects would be domestic violence.
Years ago I learned a valuable lesson; life is a menu and everything has a price. In university I understood that every action has a reaction, and that every action involves a certain degree of risk. We can eliminate all car accidents by abolishing cars etc. In the United States there was an attempt to reduce the ill effects of alcoholism and drunkenness', it was called "Prohibition" and lasted thirteen years, 1920 - 1933, it failed. Its only success was in causing organized crime to rise to unprecedent levels and power, which lead to far more deaths. We must be careful, every action has a reaction. We must not be caught by surprise.
Without getting into a discussion about the correct methods of dealing with this current virus, and it is a lot of guesswork with different approaches in different societies, it was clear to me that, A. the lockdown was not sustainable, B. Sooner or later the people would take to the streets, C. When people need to feed their families they will resort to anything, including violence. and D. Domestic violence would surely increase.
Life is a balance between different forces, and balance is difficult to achieve.
Israel has seen much violence lately, violence against women, domestic violence and suicides. Reported calls to shelters has increased more than 20% in just two weeks of lockdown, the news reports a "spike" in domestic violence. This is all tragic but sadly, practicable.
And now people are taking action, and what I want to address in this blog is the action they are taking. Warning, this message is not new. They are protesting, they are taking it to the streets, they are enraged, and who must deal with this? Naturally the government. And this truly makes me wonder.
By the way, before we proceed, many of those turning to the shelters are men! Yes, men can also be victims of domestic violence, a crazed drunken woman with a knife is also very dangerous, especially in your own home when you are off-guard.
Back to the protests. So they naturally expect the government to do something, and the government has. Police do respond quickly to calls of domestic violence, and the violent perpetrators are locked up. But sometimes it is the one at home, usually the woman, who forgives her husband or boyfriend and allows him back home, and then he kills her, the government is somehow to blame.
Now here is a news flash; no government can provide a personal security guard for each citizen. The police force is stretched to the limit and cannot always arrive on time to prevent a murder, despite the best intentions. They cannot be everywhere all the time. And even when they do arrive on time they are often criticized and crucified for shooting a violent offender with a knife, better than should have risked their lives and attempted a disarm, or better yet try to reason with the violent individual. Time for reality check.
What I am leading up to, naturally, as that we must do something for ourselves as well. We all get angry at governments for interfering with our lives and yet we demand that they take care of us when we are in trouble. The absurdity of this situation baffles me again with the current protests. The suggestion that the government is blasé and indifferent to the fate of women is preposterous. Shelters, social workers, police, emergency hotlines, how much can a government do without infringing too much on an individuals' rights?
Now imagine the following scenario: A wall of angry protestors, shouting...Women's' blood is not cheap! We demand action now! and I walk up and down the line and gently offer flyers advertising Krav Maga lessons.
My flyer will say...First lesson free, those who cannot afford it will be accepted as well, the techniques and strategies have been finetuned over a period of 40 years to make them easy to learn, easy to apply and easy to remember, contact me if you are interested.
Now lets' imagine the response; How dare you! Taking advantage of a tragic situation to drum up business? How dare you! Blaming the victim and implying that it was her/his own fault for not fighting back. How dare you! for suggesting that everyone can learn to defend themselves. Most of us are very busy and have no time or interest in this hobby.
This has happened to me, not with handing out flyers but on line. Those exact words.
The time is done, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say.
...I often say it is difficult being right, I read the news today oh boy...the news was rather sad...
well I just saw the nightly news; more and more Israelis have turned to the "grey" market for loans (loan sharks). Now they cannot pay them back, their families have been threatened with violence. Those who took the loans have made it clear; many will turn to crime, to robbery, to pay back the loans, they do not want to see their children hurt. This is the price of the lockdown. They are not concerned with this virus, they are concerned with dying of hunger, of falling into a bottomless pit of debts, of seeing a business built up over many years suddenly destroyed. A man who cannot go to work will not survive long. Studies have stated clearly...Unemployment is linked with suicide. As I said sometime ago...we will pay the price; crime, violence, domestic violence, spousal murder, suicide, and entering the grey world; loan sharks, committing violence, organized crime.
For every action there is a reaction, we must consider our actions carefully.
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