Photo: Shaul Golan
Aviel Ron. Murdered during Passover
Photo: Ronny Sheizter
She sat in front of me at the Jerusalem police station, a terrified monstrous person, only 20 years old, smiling, crying, mostly trying to appeal to me. The conversation with Arin Ahmed was the first in a nerve-racking series of talks I held with female Palestinian suicide bombers.
I came to listen, I refused to understand. Ahmed, an English literature student, had an embarrassing biographical detail. Two years before she was captured, she joined the Peace Now movement and traveled from Tel Aviv to Haifa to cultural clubs in kibbutzim in a bid to befriend Israelis.
She was also the only one among dozens of female detainees who changed her mind at the last moment, on the Rishon Lezion pedestrian-only street, and demanded that her operators take her back home with the explosive rucksack which did not explode. Fortunately for us.
A month later, in Jerusalem again, completely by chance, I ran into Aviel Ron, a classmate from the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa. We got into a long conversation, in which I congratulated him for receiving the Israel Defense Prize for his contribution to the development of the cannon for the Merkava tank.
I also told him about my planned trips between the detention stations and interviews with female terrorists caught one moment before succeeding in carrying out a suicide bombing. Ron gave me a crooked look. "You have chosen a weird hobby," he told me." Nothing good will happen until we get rid of the territories."
Three weeks later, Aviel Ron and his two children, Anat and Ofer, were murdered in a suicide bombing at Haifa's Matza restaurant during the intermediate days between the first and last days of Passover.
My Israeli moment – sad, building, filled with long moments of silence – was born on the balcony of the home of Carmit Ron, the bereaved widow and mother. Opposite the breathtaking landscape from the top of the Carmelia neighborhood, I searched for the right words, as Snoopy the dog rubbed himself against our legs, looking for his owner. What does one say to a woman whose entire world has collapsed at once? How do you advise her to go into the empty rooms and turn on the light? Is life really stronger than anything?
Carmit's cellular phone rattled nonstop. The IDF recruiting center wanted to know why Ofer failed to show up after being summoned. Someone else insisted upon looking for Anat. Tell me, Carmit said in a blood-freezing tone, don’t you go over the newspaper obituaries?
Since then, my Israeli moment skips between Passover's mid-holidays and the eve of Remembrance Day. Colonel Aviel Ron won the Defense Prize on Independence Day and was murdered on Passover's mid-holidays. I chose to visit the three graves in Haifa on Remembrance Day, and forced myself to draw away from the testimonies of the living female Palestinian shahids.