How Many Candies is a Jewish Life Worth?

I am just wondering about proportionality and disproportionality regarding the relative numbers of candies tossed about to ecstatic Palestinian Arabs celebrating each newly decorated shaheed (martyr). What I mean is: Are the same number of candies handed out when a stabber or car-rammer manages to kill or maim a mere 2 or 3 Jews in comparison with someone like the latest Jerusalem bomber who managed to hurt 20 of us?

Abu Srour's relatives hand out candies to celebrate his shaheed status.
Abdul Hamid Abu Srour’s relatives hand out candies in celebration of son’s shaheed status. Mabat news screenshot.

I know, you are going to lecture me about how the candies have nothing to do with the Jews. You are going to tell me that the candies are in celebration of the newly won shaheed status proffered upon the lucky stiff (pun intended) who is now on his way to meet his 72 virgins.

Anyway, you probably think me callous in asking such a question regardless of whether or not I know what the candies represent, but I think this is in line with the accounts kept by the rest of the world regarding the number of Jewish versus Arab casualties in any hostilities between us. I know that in order to improve our public relations standing in the world, some of us should neglect running for shelter at the next siren and some soldiers should hold off on neutralizing a terrorist until he or she will have had the opportunity to stick the knife into the hearts of a few more Jews. Just so as to keep them from accusing us of a disproportionate response, you see!

Then, let the “mourners” throw out as many candies as they want . . . the shaheed will have earned the honour at least. And Hamas did proudly proclaim this latest shaheed as “one of our sons”, certainly an affirmation of his merits.

Something else about the Jerusalem bomber thing is also bothering me.

Normal Family Life of the Shaheed

On IBA’s Mabat, the evening news broadcast on our national public TV station, the Jerusalem bomber’s father – I guess it is time to call them by name – Mohammed Abu Srour is the father of the esteemed newest shaheed Abdul Hamid Abu Srour (19 at his death). Anyway, Abu Srour senior was interviewed in the “mourning” tent as saying that he knew nothing of his son’s associations with Hamas and that they were a normal family.

Mohammed Abu Srour, Jerusalem bus bomber's father, whose son is now considered a shaheed.
Mohammed Abu Srour, father of Jerusalem bus bomber. Mabat news screenshot.

According to all accounts, the Abu Srours are, in fact, a super-normal family. They are a wealthy family running successful businesses and part of a highly respected clan. Had Abdul not shaheeded himself, he would have retaken some exams he didn’t do so well in and gone to Jordan to study, after which he would have been set up with a store of his own. This would have allowed him to marry well and have kids and live a good life. But I guess shaheedism must be better than that.

I’m only saying that because his family does not seem to be mourning him at all.

Celebrating Shaheedi Status

I look at the father, both in the interview screened on IBA news and in the youtube video from the street celebration uploaded to Twitter by Khaled Abu Toameh

Mohammed doesn’t seem upset at all at the loss of his son. Abu Toameh translated the father’s words (2:45 on the video) for me: he speaks of having reported his son missing to Palestinian security forces when he didn’t return home Monday night and of having been summoned by Israeli security forces for questioning. Then he called his son a shaheed.

Abu Toameh explained to me the difference between mourning and celebrating, reminding me of something I had noticed but not given much thought to, that candies are given out at happy events, such as weddings. Sweets are not usually given out when mourning. One could assume that if sweets are being distributed as we see here, then the family is celebrating their son’s shaheed status. The arrival of Hamas at the family home, even saluting the family, as we see below seems to confirm this. The parents were reported elsewhere to have greeted the Hamas representatives warmly.



The Family Lies

Remember how in the clip shown on Mabat News, Mohammed said they are a normal family and he knew nothing about his son having an association with Hamas?

The arrival of Hamas and their warm reception by the parents seems to belie that claim. Furthermore, Abdul gave his mother a photo of himself in a Hamas scarf for her to distribute after his death.


What kind of kid does that? And what kind of mother doesn’t commit her son to a closed ward after such a declaration unless she is a collaborator?

I have seen videotapes of parents of other newly celebrated shaheedim at street celebrations after a son’s death and I have seen eyes stricken with grief and shock, even though they may speak the party line; I have seen broken hearts that did not agree with their words. But in this case, Mohammed shows no sign of shock. I am convinced he absolutely KNEW what Abdul was up to.

Apparently, what I would view as a tragic loss he sees as a joyful honour. And we all know that Islamic society is an honour-based society.

Then I guess we can say that it might be perfectly normal to find Abdul’s relatives joyfully distributing candies in honour of his bloody new status (beginning 2:34 in the video above) because they are, after all, a normal Palestinian/Muslim family (are they?). Me? I’d rather hug the grandkids. But hey! That’s just me!

And that brings me back to my first question: How many candies is a Jewish life worth?

This article first appeared on Israel Diaries.

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