When Yehudit Tayar’s weekly email arrives in my inbox, I feel a sensation of dread in the pit of my stomach. While I enjoy hearing from an old friend, these are not the types of emails sent for the purpose of catching up or exchanging pleasantries.
The ‘subject line,’ which is exactly the same each time, says it all, “Arab Violence Against Israel.” In her emails, which she says are now reaching thousands of people, Tayar, simply documents each and every reported Arab terror attack against Israeli civilians and soldiers which occurred that week whether in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, or anywhere else throughout the country.
Tayar downloads that information in Hebrew off her beeper – as she is a volunteer first-response emergency medic – as well as a first responder on her local security team, – living for the past 31 years in the community of Beit-Horon just off route 443. After translating the data into English, and after the events are verified and particulars are approved for dissemination by the IDF, Tayar organizes the list of attacks by date in her computer and then she blasts.
Her wide-reaching email is sent to family, and friends, in addition to most of the foreign and local English speaking press (a mirror email also goes out in Hebrew). She says that the emails are often picked up and blasted yet again by pro-Israel activist organizations both here and abroad.
Her goal is simple: to remind citizens of Israel and people around the world that while they are ignored by the majority of media outlets, these attacks still occur in her words “almost hourly.”
Whether we’re talking about shootings, stabbings, rocket attacks, stonings, suicide bombings, or even just attempted attacks – which all cause her beeper to vibrate, nothing is left off the list. Sadly it does seem that each and every week there is rarely a day that goes by that doesn’t warrant its own entry documenting violence against Israelis.
Ever since the hope and promise of the Oslo Accords in the early 1990â€²s collapsed- and was replaced by terror attacks and funerals, Tayar, now in her 50â€²s, gave up her career as an artist, to expose the failure of the “Land for Peace,” concept both as a professional, but most often as a volunteer.
Between 1993 and 2001, she was the Associate Director of the Foreign Desk for the Yesha Council, working with the foreign press corps in Israel, helping them to understand the realities of the so-called “settlements.” In 2001, she left the council and began volunteering not only as a spokeswoman representing Jewish communities throughout her jurisdiction, but also as a first-response medic for the various emergency agencies.
Still today, Tayar is often called upon to lead journalists on tours of Judea and Samaria, and to address various groups and organizations from here and abroad as a “settler spokeswoman.”
Tayar is a not only a “settler” but she is also religiously observant. However, dressed in jeans and with her short hair uncovered, she says that whenever she meets with journalists, diplomats, or others their first reaction is without fail “no way, you’re you’re a religious settler, you don’t look like one.” On one hand she finds the disbelief amusing, on the other she also thinks it’s sad “that they don’t know we’re normal people.”
What’s ironic about the fact that Tayar documents Arab terror, is that often times as a first response medic in her area, she treats not only Jews in need of emergency care, but Arabs within the Palestinian Authority controlled areas as well.
She says that one Friday last month (just before Shabbat candle lighting nonetheless), her unit was called into a nearby Arab village. Entering only with IDF protection, Tayar arrived on the scene to treat a man in his thirties who had been stabbed over 40 times by his own uncle in a family dispute over money. Despite his wounds, Tayar says, she saved his life.
In another memorable ‘save’ Tayar says that once her ambulance picked up a young Arab girl near Hevron and was forced to perform resuscitation throughout the entire drive to the Mount of Olives Hospital, in the Eastern section of Jerusalem. While the girl lived, Tayar and her crew were ‘thanked’ upon exiting the hospital with a barrage of rocks, thrown by local Arabs.
While she doesn’t differentiate between those in need when saving lives, when it comes to the overall state of affairs between in her word’s Israel’s “so-called peace partner, in the Palestinian Authority,” her beliefs, based on the terror stats she compiles are justifiably partial.
“People have to get a grasp on reality,” she says. “Israel has been reaching out for peace, but the Palestinian Authority openly states they won’t accept Israel as a Jewish State. The world, and even our own press says, that we [Israel] don’t do enough, and that it’s all because of the ‘settlements,’ but people have to realize what the situation really is – namely that we are under attack almost hourly!”
Tayar feels that overall despite her efforts in getting out the truth about the attacks; the media continues to withhold the information. However, she says there is room for optimism. Tayar has noticed that one of her local radio contacts has started using her data and reporting the violence on a regular basis. With no intention to discontinue her documentation, she is confident that eventually others will come around.
While she has personally lost numerous loved ones in Arab terror attacks, and strongly opposes negotiations with the PA, Tayar is adamant that true peace must start at home. “While we don’t always agree, we are all the same and we are one nation,” she says. We can disagree on issues, but like a family only with love.”