Dial O for Fear

It was a Sunday afternoon when the sun went home only after 20:30 and the humidity stayed the night. Our parents had gone out, so it was just me and my brother at home. It being hot, wet and boring all round – my brother decided to make prank phone calls, always better entertainment than T.V. That particular Sunday my brother made a phone call that would change my life.
In the old days you could dial "O" and get a real live operator. So my brother – for some reason – dialed O and a female voice answered.
My brother said: "Are you the operator?" When she said yes, my brother said: "Well that's tough luck!" and hung up. Bad, dumb move! It was a really insulting thing to say!
Ominously the phone started ringing.
"Don't answer! It's probably the operator and the police. You answer – they'll come arrest us!"
That sounded scary! The next few hours were fear-filled for me. We didn't answer, but the phone kept ringing for two hours. Then my brother says to me: "Look, maybe someone's trying to get through but can't, the line being busy on account of the operator calling. So I'm going to the neighbors' to call from there, and then we'll know if anyone who's calling can get through. When it rings at eight exactly – answer. Synchronize watches. I'm going."
I didn't have a watch, but I didn't know what "synchronize" meant anyway. The phone was ringing every two minutes or so. When it rang at eight according to the big clock on the wall – I answered.
"Who is this?" a female voice asked. Jeepers!! It sure wasn't my brother!
"Ah… it's David"
"Are your mom and dad home?"
"Ah… n-no, it's just me".
She asked a few more questions. I thought: "Jeepers! Don't I get a lawyer?!" I asked her in a voice one octave higher than usual: "Are we in trouble?"
"That depends on what your parents do when you tell them what happened," she said
"Gee willigers!" I thought, "Grownups can be so dumb sometimes! Did she really think I'd tell my parents??"
My brother came home. "I couldn't get through, it was busy" he said.
"I know" I replied, "I answered and it was the operator". I added encouragingly that she hadn't mentioned the police.
"Oh my Gosh! I can't believe you! Of course they didn't say the police were coming, you dumbo. They're gonna come in a pre-dawn raid and haul us off to jail. Mom and dad will have to sell everything to pay for a lawyer." He took me on a tour of the house, saying good-bye to all the better pieces of furniture.
So there I was a first grader living in expectant fear of a knock on the door in the dead of night. A day passed, then a week passed and then a month. Nothing happened. I started to suspect that there was nothing to fear and nothing was going to happen.
I learned a very important lesson: you may mistakenly fear something that will never happen. Caution is a good thing; it motivates you to take creative and positive steps. Fear is negative. It doesn't do you any good.
When I came to live in Israel I heard that "in another ten years the Arabs will be the majority of people between the sea and the Jordan River! Israel will no longer be  a democratic, Jewish state!". The fear-merchants said then – and now – that we must flee the heart of our homeland, Judea and Samaria, to prevent us Jews from becoming a minority in our own state. In the meantime – 40 years have passed and it hasn't happened. Not only that – but the Arab and Jewish birthrates have converged, so it's not going to happen in any foreseeable future – unless we do something foolish.
Terrorism – in addition to a blood lust to kill people – wants to fill people with a paralyzing fear, to force them to make bad, foolish choices because of fear.
We refuse to be infected with fear. We will continue to live in our homeland, including the heartland, and continue to do good and create for the good of the world.
We also refuse to be infected with hate – but that's another story.