As I write these words, I know that my friends and relatives outside Israel cannot, no matter how hard they try, understand what we’re going through now in the Jewish homeland. Conversely, though, I cannot understand what those in Sderot, Lod, and all the other hotspots are experiencing. I can only try to empathize and show I care.
This past Shabbat, however, I did get a taste of a rocket attack. As we were cleaning up from lunch, my daughter-in-law said she heard a siren. No one else did, but she has a newborn, and her ears are attuned to all sounds. We opened the door to hear better and what we heard was a loud boom that shook us. Rather unnerving to say the least. Later we learned that the rocket exploded about fifteen kilometers from here in an open field next to an Arab village.
Hamas seems to lack a concern for human life, not just for Jews, but also their own people. Along with that is the lack of concern for quality of life. Shavuot night, after dinner, my husband and I went for a walk and there was a horrible smell in the air. The following day I was told that Arabs had been burning tires in front of a nearby village. If the smell was bad by us, several kilometers away, I can only imagine what it was like inside their village.
Having lived in Israel for thirty-five years, this is not the first time I've experienced war, or an “Operation” as some call it. Nor are Arab riots a novelty. Still, I don’t remember having them happen simultaneously.
Ten days ago, I thought nothing about jumping into my car and travelling to Jerusalem. Four days ago, my daughter asked me to watch her children so she could drive to Ariel, a twenty-minute drive away. I was happy to have my grandchildren but hesitated, not wanting to encourage her to be on the roads.
“If I don’t go,” she told me, “they’ve won.”
That’s the education I gave her, and I know she’s right. So, life goes on with stress, anxiety, worry, concern, and sometimes fear. I can’t help thinking of King David’s verse in psalm 27, verse 10. Even though my father and my mother have forsaken me, HaShem will gather me in. The nations of the world may turn their backs on us and some of our own people may believe the Arab propaganda, but HaShem will never totally forsake the Jewish people. And so, I will try to stay strong.