By Lara Vosburgh
I am not going to talk about who is right or wrong in the renewed conflict. Both sides suffer and both sides lose lives. I am an Israeli and as one I will write about how Israelis of all kinds do their best to continue living and sanctifying their time on earth. All of Israel is traumatized by the rockets including me, my mother, and friends. But when Israeli families go to the shelter, they play games with their children, talk about good memories, and make arts and crafts. In my mom’s building there is no shelter. When there is a siren my mom, myself and all of our neighbors gather in the stairway. My mother has a special siren stash of candy for the younger kids of the building. Everyone seems to be coping relatively well, except for one little dog that yaps her head off with every siren. I cried for the first time today from these sirens and colossal booms. Before the tears have had a chance to dry my mom’s as she tries to put a smile on my face and a laughter in my throat.
There are even some wonderful parts to what I like to call the “missile mania.” It serves as a type of Cupid; many couples met during the sirens streak of 2014 I have practiced over the years getting dressed in less than half a minute (ahh…the skills you develop when you need to). I also never thought I would be studying for my finals at a friend’s shelter inside her parent’s closet. Focusing on something else helps a lot and especially when the topic is interesting. Of course, as I have written earlier, making jokes about the situation is always fun and helpful. Finally, what really helps put things in proportion is when I think about how terrible and traumatic the lives of the Israelis are who live around Gaza and how sad it is that people including me in Tel Aviv understands this only when rockets are landing on our own heads. Now that things are getting worse, finally my half-sister (who is not Israeli) really understands what it is like to live in the Wild Wild West that is the Middle East. ”I never thought it was as bad as that for Israelis,’ she said.
Essentially watching the Israeli news on TV is like Watching ‘Fauda’. Listening to the news every hour on the radio is like listening to a suspenseful and violent audiobook. Just like in our worst nightmares, the worst things take place. Falling asleep without a sleeping pill is impossible because you are too scared something will happen. Then when you are finally sleeping too deep due to the sleeping pill, you do not wake up for the siren. And then — well, may G-d protect you. I call my mom ten million times a day to make sure she is okay. She lost her brother who was a paratrooper in the IDF during the Yom Kippur War. She knows what the grave costs of war are, and she knows how to cope with stressful situations. I do not know what I would do without her. I check my WhatsApp obsessively to see if anything has happened. The oddest thing is that history is repeating itself on my street of Ben Zion Boulevard (near Rothschild). In 1941, Mussolini’s forces fired missiles on my street and 41 people died. May they all rest in peace. I do not have kids yet, but I dread the day I will bring them into this reality. My children will obviously have to go to the military like I did. Whoever tells you otherwise is delusional. Even if we attain peace with the Palestinians, we will still need an army because we will never stop being attacked. this does not mean we should not make peace. Peace is a choice — a hard choice to make and as long as the leaderships on both sides don’t agree to disagree about certain things, we shall not see peaceful days during our lifetimes.