There is no way to enter my office at El HaLev without knowing that I am a Guardian Angel. My red beret and white Safety Patrol T-shirt are always at the ready on my desk and, hanging on the wall is, not my understated traditional white karate uniform, but a flashy red and white Jr. Guardian Angels Demo Team uniform, a gift from Stretch, a trainer for New York’s Guardian Angels.
I get a wide variety of reactions from people who notice my affiliation. Most of them can’t understand how I manage to fit another activity into my life. When it comes to that, I am as baffled as they are.
However, many are baffled about WHY I am a Guardian Angel, or perhaps more specifically, what in the world that has to do with my dedication to the martial arts, teaching self-defense and empowering women in Israeli society.
To me, the connection is crystal clear.
All that evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing. — Edmund Burke
My martial arts training has given me the power to prevent people from doing evil to me or, at the very least, to do the maximum possible to take responsibility for my life and my safety. My teaching of self-defense gives me an opportunity to share a range of tools, verbal and emotional as well as physical, with women, teens, children and people with special needs to help them take responsibility for their safety and peace of mind.
Just to be clear, taking responsibility is not the same as taking blame. Perpetrators of violence are 100% to blame for the evil they do and for suffering the consequences of the choices they make. Blame is blame; Responsibility is power.
Seven murders have taken place in Israel over the last two weeks: from young people mowed down in cold blood at a Gay & Lesbian Club to a 3 year-old suffocated by her father to a man enjoying an evening breeze with his wife and daughter, minutes later beaten and drowned by a bunch of young thugs. Our Prime Minister is appalled, as well he should be. The Police are furiously investigating, doing their best. The rest of us are… what? Reading the headlines and wringing our hands, waiting to find out who is to blame s.
Newsflash: Knowing who is to blame is not enough and will never be enough. Knowing who pulled the trigger or drew the knife will not stop the wave of violence. We, as a society, cannot sit back, appalled and wait. Let’s stop pointing fingers and start looking in the mirror. That is where we will find the “good people” who must do something to stop violence from taking over our streets.
Guardian Angels is about taking responsibility. It is about learning to care for ourselves and each other. It is about winning the battle for our streets, our neighborhoods and our society. It is about offering a hand to young people on the edge and pulling them from the Dark Side to the Light. It is about becoming part of the solution and serving as role models for moving from helplessness to hopefulness and from victimhood to victory.
Taking responsibility is embodying the change you want to see or, as Guardian Angel’s founder Curtis Sliwa likes to say, “If it is to be, it must begin with me.”
That is the essence of empowerment and that, my friends, is why I am a Guardian Angel.
Netanyahu ‘appalled’ by suspected lynch
Corpse of 59-year old man assaulted Friday night while walking with his wife, daughter on beach is last in seven murders to have occurred over two weeks; 10 suspects have been arrested
A body was found early Saturday in an Israel Electric Corporation facility in north Tel Aviv. Police say it belongs to a 59-year-old man, Leonard (Arik) Karp, who was assaulted Friday night along with his wife and daughter at the Tel Baruch beach.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch about the murder Saturday evening and said he was appalled and concerned about the case.
Netanyahu ordered the minister to increase police activity against hooliganism and to expedite indictments in the case, the last of seven murders to have occurred in Israel over the course of just two weeks.
Police forces have arrested 10 suspects so far, residents of the Arab local council of Jaljulia and the city of Petah Tikva. Police said they would appeal for a gag order against the publication of the suspects’ photos in order to refrain from compromising a future lineup.
Several of the suspects were arrested in the Horashim Forest in a state of intoxication.
One of the suspects, a 17-year old girl from Petah Tikva, was led by officers to the scene of the crime in order to recount the incident. She said the suspects beat Karp after he voiced a comment to them.
A police investigation revealed that the man, who lives in the area, was sitting with his wife and 25-year-old daughter on a bench at the beach, when a group of young people arrived at the area.
According to the mother and daughter, the youths made a comment about Karp’s daughter and he responded, prompting them to attack the family members.
At a certain stage, the mother and daughter began fleeing the area. Some of the assailants ran after them, while the other continued beating the father. The father managed to escape a short distance, but the youths chased him and allegedly drowned him in the water…