So many emotions fill me right now.
On the television in my home, I see “experts”. A non-stop conversation is going on between Orientalists, experts in terror and counter terror, those who have done their doctorates on the Hamas, former generals, veteran journalists, former ambassadors, political hacks. None of them talk about feelings as they are “experts” and “experts” talk about the pros and cons, the ifs and buts, the possibilities and the probabilities, the past and the future.
I want to talk about emotions. Here is a list of emotions I have felt over the past few weeks: hope, sadness, anger, guilt, loneliness, frustration, determination, and despair. If this seems self-indulgent, forgive me.
I was so hopeful a few days ago. Hopeful that the 72 hour ceasefire would turn into a permanent ceasefire and would herald the beginning of a new era. Not an era of lions and lambs lying down together yet, but perhaps a forward movement away from violence and towards some sort of political agreement. Naive of me? Probably, but it felt good to believe for a moment.
Even though it is so clear to me that the IDF not guilty of crimes against humanity, it is awful to see the pictures of the death and destruction caused by the IDF in Gaza. I know, yes know, that the IDF is not guilty, but that does not mean that like, many Israelis and Jews everywhere, I do not feel some level of guilt.
I feel so sad when I read, online, the weekend Israeli newspapers. From the article on the young bride to be whose wedding dress will not be picked up from the store, to the Job like story of Batsheva Huppert whose grandson was injured this week. Batsheva lost two brothers in the Six Day War, her older son in the Second Intifada, and still believes in the necessity to serve and take responsibility. I am saddened by all the funerals we have witnessed over the past weeks; all the stories, the twin brothers, girlfriends from mid-teens, marriages which will never happen, the only son – they go on and on. I am also saddened by the response to Israeli situation abroad.
I am angry with the Hamas as they have worked out our weaknesses. They are firing from within the heart of the civilian population of Gaza. From near hospitals (near a Finnish journalist who might not last too long after outing the Hamas), schools, mosques, apartment buildings and hotels where foreign journalists have rooms (including an Indian journalist who by chance photographed Hamas terrorists preparing to launch a rocket from the hotel car parking lot, so that Israel can respond and possibly add to our problems by killing foreign journalists. I am angry because even though we now have a pamphlet that Hamas issues to its fighters suggesting to them that they operate within densely populated areas, “because the Zionists are not happy to fire into populated areas”, we will still be found guilty by “Human Rights” organizations, who are horrified by dead children in Gaza (as we are too), but strangely less so by the bodies of Syrian and Iraqi children (unless they are being recycled and used in Gaza – photographically that is). I am angry because the life of my parents, has been invaded by sirens, warnings and the need to be constantly aware of danger.
I am frustrated that the Israeli government seems to know how to use their army in the theater of war, but unable to negotiate for Peace. The leaders have let all of us, American Jews and Israelis, down in this crucial area. This does not excuse the criminal behavior of the Hamas, but it frustrates me greatly that we do not have leadership which sees and understands the need to negotiate 24/7 for Peace. Even if there is a question about partners, the Israeli government should be reaching out for Peace all the time, not accepting every offer made, but constantly saying to our neighbors, “Come, and make Peace with us.” Talking, even difficult conversations are always preferable to fighting. Always!
Most of those who were planning to visit Israel have cancelled. Of course I understand why, they have good reasons, but that does not make it feel less lonely. Israel is functioning economically at a level of 40%. This is better than being dead or injured, but it is still tough.
Determination and Despair.
I move back and forth between these two. On the one hand I am constantly reminded of the great Israeli phrase which translated, goes like this: “We got through Pharaoh, we can get through this.” I however, also ask myself, will it ever end, and will it ever get better? Are we destined to live by the sword? Are we ever going to know Peace? At times I feel really strong. At times I feel so weak.
Will it be good there in the end, is not the question because it is good there, very good! It is also hard, very hard right now. It is also filled with pain for all of them who live in this region, and for all of us. We want it to be good for all the people who live there. They will continue to try and not harm innocent people, but this largely in the hands of the Hamas. They and us, will demand of the Israeli government to work as hard for Peace as they are asking their, our, soldiers to fight in this war.
This is our home and even when it is tough at home, when our home is in danger, we do not walk away, we will not walk away!
The feelings remain. All of them!