Yair Lapid
Photo: Yoni Hamenachem
In praise of Tel Aviv
Nasty critics seem to forget that Tel Avivians are closely familiar with terror

At times, someone else’s nastiness leaves you speechless. Ever since the start of the Gaza operation, foolish people keep on explaining to us that “if one Qassam rocket would land in Tel Aviv, the next day all those bleeding hearts would be screaming out that Gaza must be occupied.”


Students at the southern Sapir College even created a computer simulation of missiles hitting Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Towers and posted it on YouTube, so that we, who have the nerve not to be hit by missiles, will understand what it really looks like.


One of the clip’s creators, Ron Rochman, explained in an interview: “Anyone who lives in the country and ignores the situation prevalent in the south for eight years now is in fact ignoring himself. Ultimately, this harsh reality will blow up in their face.”


Despite all the admiration I hold for all those studying in the south these days, this does not grant them a license to be nasty. A total of 22 Tel Avivians were killed in one terror attack, on Tel Aviv’s Route 5 bus – more than all those killed by Qassams in the past four years – yet I don’t remember us saying that it makes our blood redder.


A total of 13 people were killed in the terror attack outside Dizengoff Center, while 21 people were killed in the Dolphinarium attack. Only three were killed in the shooting attack at the Sea Food Market restaurant. I apologize for the low number. A total of 23 people were killed in the attack at the old central bus station. Five were killed in the attack at the Neve Shaanan pedestrian mall. Three others were killed at the beachfront promenade. Three were killed at the Carmel Market. Five more were killed at the Stage nightclub…should I go on?


And if what’s missing here are missiles, well, here you go: A total of 39 Scud missiles landed in Israel during the first Gulf War, almost all of them in the Tel Aviv area. Despite all the talk about “deserters,” the overwhelming majority of city residents stayed at home and conducted themselves with admirable restraint. My son was four-years-old at the time. His first childhood memory consists of him lying in a special device meant to protect him from chemical attacks, while his parents wear gas masks and look at him through square plastic eyes.


At the Ezra neighborhood, by the way, there are people who to this day – 18 years later – still live in temporary housing, because the State of Israel betrayed them and did not build alternate housing for them in place of the homes destroyed by the missiles. They try to shout on occasion, yet nobody listens to them, because they are poor. Yes, we have poor people in Tel Aviv too.


Does this list comfort anyone? Have we been killed enough in the view of our critics? Are the fools willing to admit that “reality had already blown up in our face?” Because I can tell you it blew up near my home more than once.


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