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THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – AMERICA AND ISRAEL UNITED

United in grief, to be sure, but in blame too. Let’s start with the grief: On Wednesday morning, July 18, in the town of Burgas, Bulgaria, a bus was detonated and exploded. In the aftermath of this terrorist attack, which ripped the bus apart and blew it in flames, five young Israelis lay dead and lost in the ashes, together with the Bulgarian bus driver and the presumed terrorist. The Israeli dead, and the many more wounded, were mostly young innocent victims, on their way to have some fun in the sun in a Black Sea resort. Their stories, as told later by their grieving relatives, were united in the wish to get away from it all: leave the troubles of life behind back home and enjoy life a bit in a peaceful European resort. Their end was tragic and so very sad,

And so was, still is, the blame game. PM Netanyahu was quick to accuse the Iranians, as he’s so good at doing at every opportunity, and their terrorist arm of Hezbollah. Of course, he promised to punish the culprits. Revenge, an eye for an eye – the old game of the Middle East, of Jews and Arabs – will continue. As if nothing had been learned from those old bible days. Mr. Netanyahu is a very good actor at this blame game. But the one thing that can prevent, ultimately, all this madness-of-death from happening – i.e. peace; solving the Palestinian conflict once and for all – he is so bad at. Or as the NY Times wrote in an editorial Saturday July 22: “a disappointing, risk-averse leader.” And yet, he carries some responsibility for this attack as well. He had helped, with his inflaming rhetoric, bring the tragic end to Yitzhak Rabin’s life and efforts, when he was about to make peace with the Palestinians. And when Ehud Olmert was also getting closer to achieve an agreement with the Palestinians, he and his cronies had probably helped behind the scenes in launching the investigation – which ultimately came to nothing – that toppled Olmert from power. He is so good at doing nothing; he possesses no vision for peace. Until there are leaders strong, determine and willing to take chances on peace, the terror will continue, on both sides. And the dark knight will surely rise again.

As it did in America, just two days later. In Aurora, Colo., in a movie theater screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” twelve innocent people lost their lives in another mass-shooting attack. The evil that caused the death, with many more wounded, fancied himself the “Joker”. His young smiling face indeed reminded me so much of Jack Nicholson playing that part in a “Batman” movie some years ago. “I am the Joker,” he allegedly said before opening fire. He had no difficulty whatsoever in amassing the guns and assault rifles, as well as the insane amount of ammunition, to carry his deadly nightly attack. An hour before he launched his rampage he was a law-abiding citizen, apparently an intelligent one, who bought all his weapons legally. An hour later, he was a law-breaker, a criminal of the worst kind. Now he is in jail, awaiting trial.

Yet he is not alone in blame. This society we live in, to my mind, carry an even heavier burden of guilt. For on the one hand, its culture—in which the Batman films, as other fantastically violent films, play a big part – are so obsessed with the simplistic fight of good and evil. Mostly, though, with the detail execution of violent acts. This is a violent society that teaches its young from an early age how to be one, and how to carry and use guns. These insane gun laws are allowing and encouraging such mass-killings, make no mistake about it. Yet here, as in Israel, the leaders are spineless, and therefore are averse to any effort to fight the N.R.A – The Darkest Knight of theme all.

Yes, I know, there’s the “second amendment.” So What? It was written more than two hundred years ago. Knowledgeable, important scholars dispute the fact that the amendment spells the allowing of every citizen to own a gun. Only a “Militia” it said. Therefore a government should be responsible for holding and distributing guns. Even if this is not the case, as indeed the Supreme Court had ruled, it can be changed. But not here—of course not. In Japan, a nation of some 126 million people, there are strict laws about gun ownerships, and about showing then in films. Eleven people had died there of gun wounds the whole of last year. Less than the twelve who died in this tragic attack in Aurora. (Here in old USA there are 30,000 firearms deaths a year, about half from suicide, or more than 80 people a day.) So is the case of strict gun-laws in most, if not all industrial, western countries. But not here, where the blame should not be squared solely on the derange lunatic who lost his mind and pressed the trigger, but on the leaders and citizens who allow him the access to these weapons, and the culture that develops and encourages such acts. As a result, mark my words, the dark knights will continue to rise and take their heavy toll on us all.

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