August 01, 2006

Israelis: Family and Friends

(excerpt shown)
5th day of Iyar, 5708 (May 14, 1948)

I am glued to news —

  • via emails
  • on the phone
  • on streaming Israeli radio broadcasts
  • in blogs
  • from traditional media. (I even turned on the television yesterday;-) When my friend Sherry called, hearing from her receiver a cacophony of voices (NPR on the radio and galey tzahal [IDF radio] streaming in on the computer), she demanded, What's going on? She could not imagine that I had changed my persona to party animal... yet;-)
And I worry about my beloved Israeli family and friends and all innocents there and everywhere, praying that everyone is safe from all harm.

And I worry and wonder about my Arab-Israeli friend Aida and her large family, whose northern village, Shibli, is close to Afula, where Hezbollah aims its rockets, and whose youngest brother, Mahmoud, is serving in the IDF.

And I worry and wonder about my Palestinian partners in interfaith dialog. Young men like Amer and Mohanad, on the cusp of adulthood, career, and life – who have braved incarceration, fines, and punishments to steal across the border to Israel where they have engaged in dialog with fellow peace seekers — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze.

Their courage and steadfastness in the face of tyrants and madmen humble me.

Their emails are personal, anecdotal reports on life and death inside Israel:

… Thanks for your bulletins from that side. I know that at a certain level being away is tougher than being here. Keep strong. … my nephew Yonah ... is a great magician and thought he could entertain kids who have been stuck in bomb shelters for way too long.
— Tova, business strategist,
wife, mother, Torah student

… The only good thing that came out of the poor situation that we're in now is the solidarity. There are 2 families from Ztfat [Safed] in my apartment now. One with a baby -- he's the cutest. I hate wars. I can't understand how people can love them and think of them as useful. Maybe I'm too naïve.
— Shimon, psychology grad student at Bar Ilan University

אבישי היה ביוני במילואים בדיוק במקום שחטפו חיילים.אביתר יצא היום לארגן קייטנות במקלטים בצפון שהשם ישמור עליו.שנשמע רק טוב . בי פנינה
… [son Avishai, paratroops reservist] served in June precisely where the two [Israeli solders] were kidnapped. [High-school-age son] Evyatar left today to organize summer camps in the bomb shelters in the north. May God protect him.
Pnina, third-grade teacher, wife, mother,
grandmother, daughter of Holocaust survivors

... i'm in the middale of my exames trying to do well even thoue the craisenes oround us. say hi to ariel shtoul.
Achia, psychology student at Bar Ilan University

… It was really frightening to be at my father's house in Qiryat Ata and hear the alaram in the middle of a peacefull Sunday morning I drove like crasy to get us out of missiles range.
Sarel, economics and logistics expert, husband, Torah student

… The winds of war are blowing outside but in our little family things are fine B "H [thank God]. Whenever you think everyday life is a bit monotonous things happen in Israel and you forget about your own needs, concerns, etc. Right now we are basically glued to the radio and internet. I hope this nightmare ends soon. Shabbat shalom
Gila, womens’ Jewish studies institute administrator,
wife, mother, grandmother, volunteer
with elderly, shut-ins, and lone soldiers


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littlepurplecow said...

Thank you for reminding me that there are precious individuals in the midst of such turmoil...and that everyday worries in life (these shoes hurt my feet, i forgot to charge my cell phone, we ran out of coffee) deserve far less energy than they deserve. Pray for peace.

stefan said...

i do not want to seem like a dull automatic israel defender.
i want to contribute to understand the region, this war, the danger and insidiousness of terrorist organisations that show us their disdain for human values, human rights and societal emancipation.
as a gay person i feel protected by democracy and the rule of law (there is still a lot to do for our and others rights in democracies, too, however). i feel threatend by religious fundamentalists in non-secularised societies.

another issue i discussed lately with friends, colleagues: very often the remarks of europeans on the current war, the coverage of european media - especially maybe austrian and german, but i would tend to see it for all of europe - has nothing to do with a balanced covering of the situation. it is far away from the desire to understand the conflict. it has to do with the satisfaction of indiviuals (and masses) in post-nazi societies that - FINALLY - the evil (israel, the jews) is being evil! there you see, Kfar kana - the evidence. and because the evil is behaving evil, it justfies the shoa.
something like this.
i think these are the issues europeans should be focused on.

what do you think?
stefan, Vienna. Austria

Tamar said...
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