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Monday, March 19, 2012

The lessons from two Jerusalem marathons

From Yair Ettinger at Ha'aretz:
There are some things a person just has to see with his own eyes, and some things can be seen only in the Jerusalem Marathon.

Before the start, in the car parks and assembly points, groups of men wrapped in prayer shawls and tefillin were holding the morning prayers in the painful cold. They obviously didn't skip the part about the one who brings wind and rain, but they didn't take into account the hail that awaited us around the tenth kilometer. And how did they explain the winds that hurled us back in the Armon Hanatziv Promenade?

But, wait; try to forget the stereotypes about religious Jerusalem. The prayers in the car parks, as well the large number of female athletes in skirts and coifs, only underlined the fact that the Jerusalem Marathon is the most cosmopolitan event around.

Add them to the various races that included 13,000 cheerful Israelis in colorful clothes, and 1,600 tourists; consider the fact that the event was meticulously produced according to un-Israeli standards; add the setting and beautiful sites, and the result is an extremely unique marathon. Don't forget how beautiful Jerusalem can be. All this city really needs is a decent dose of endorphins, and some quiet and surprising silence when thousands of people run in the streets.

The weather made fools of everybody. Some athletes showed up in shorts and undershirts, while others arrived dressed in long sweat suits and Windbreakers, while others improvised plastic bags that protected them from the rain. Still, eventually everyone was soaked.

The Jerusalemites cheer you on with cries of "Bravo!" and "Well done!" While in Tel Aviv they cheer you on by saying, "Go on, faster!" The difference points out contradicting points of view concerning ambitiousness and competitiveness, but also the simple truth that in Jerusalem, people are truly amazed by the fact that other people take to the streets, to the difficult slopes, to the pouring rain - and run for the mere fun of it.
As I noted last week, Muslims were livid at the marathon - because they said that it somehow was "Judaizing" Jerusalem.

So, in the time honored fashion, the Palestinian Arabs respond with a stunt.

Today, they are running their own "Jerusalem the capital marathon." However, it seems that the marathon is not exactly a marathon - it is supposed to start at Damascus Gate but there will be a ceremony when the runners pass Qalandia and then they are going towards Ramallah to visit Arafat's grave where there will be another news conference. At one point the runners will even go into a bus to get to the next section of the "race."

The psychological projection is obvious. While the Jerusalem marathon was meant to be a fun way to highlight the city and attract tourists, Arabs said it was all a political ploy to say that Jerusalem was Jewish. So in response, they create their own fake marathon that is wholly political and wholly intended to say that Jerusalem is Muslim, where running is a thin excuse to have a series of press conferences slamming Israel.

What Israel bashers cannot understand is that Israelis just want to live their lives in peace and security. They are convinced that everything that every Israeli does is somehow meant to either oppress Arabs or to cover up for their oppression of Arabs. It is a bizarre psychosis that we see daily. It reflects their own worldview of looking at Israel as uniquely evil, and somehow shoehorning every piece of information into that insane belief system.

And there is no evidence that any of them, from accusers of "pinkwashing" to the +972 fringe to the entire Arab and Muslim worlds themselves, even have the ability to think in any other way. Their obsession with demonizing everything Israel does is total and fanatical.

It would be funny if their goal wasn't to destroy the only Jewish nation in the world.