So we have a “ceasefire”.
Maybe for a few minutes, or for a few days. Maybe even for a little longer.
Whatever the outcome today and in the weeks and years ahead, we have an opportunity to take a deep breath, and to relax those tight neck muscles and perpetual knots in our stomachs. To loosen those fingers that have been clenched around our cell phones and prayer books, and incessantly tapping on our keyboards in a relentless search for news, opinion, and information.
Maybe today we citizens and friends of Israel should each take a few moments to take stock and to say “thank you”.
Thank you to our national leadership who has steered us through the minefield of the last week; united and largely intact. Thank you for not jumping the gun to send thousands of our soldiers in on the ground to Gaza’s vipers’ nest. Thank you for demonstrating that our well-oiled military machine can be efficiently galvanized at any time, and that the operational systems are fully functioning. Phew! Thank you!
Thank you to our government and our media for keeping we, the residents of the nation and the families of our soldiers, conversant enough keep us sane though this crisis.
Thank you to the “Ministry of Care” – our great national treasure.
Your wheels perpetually turn behind the scenes to promote the welfare and nurturing of our people. When we are under fire, frightened and in danger, your local and national assemblages speedily rear their heads and wrap their arms around us. Built from expertise, love and a sense of national responsibility, you offer each of us a conduit through which to receive what we need and to give for the sake of giving. All we have to do is to press the button or to pick up the phone.
Thank you to all of those individuals and establishments who issued guidelines and advice about how to take care of ourselves, our children, our elderly, and even our pets. And thank you to the teachers and child carers whose tenderness and patience has guided our little children through their fears and traumas during the last week.
Thank you to those brilliant brains and creative minds who developed our iron dome and the other genius apparatus that enables us to intercept and destroy the enemy’s murderous assault across our country. You have facilitated our nation’s survival for 66 years in this arid, narrow, strip that is our Home. In the absence of rich minerals or natural resources Israel swims against a ceaseless tide of onslaught, perpetual national crises and challenges.
Yet you have innovated microchips and drip irrigation, in your quest to make our desert bloom and our country sustainable. You have taken our breath away, stunned the world around us with your abilities, and made possible our prosperity. You are the envy of the world. Unfortunately this envy feeds the world’s persistent aggression and death wish for our people. But it is what it is.
Thank you to the person who gave a smile, a hug, or a word of comfort when I was feeling vulnerable and depressed, and to the neighbor who gave me a little job to do so that I felt that at least I was doing “something” or squeezed my hand when I cowered under the stairwell. Thank you for your piece of wisdom and your understanding at a wobbly moment.
Thank you to the friends and family from abroad who took the time to show that they remembered and that they cared.
And thank you to God, Who has made this all possible and Who has seen us through the last week with minimal casualties and no fatalities. Thank You that this potential breathing space has happened on a national fast day – 17th Tammuz –when we are focused upwards, inwards and outwards, to smell the roses and to catch our breath. I daresay that the intensity of the universal outpouring of Jewish prayer that we spent over the last exhausting month of tragic and traumatic anxiety had built a stockpile of spiritual ammunition that has got us through the last seven days, together.
We, the Jews and the people of Israel, are our own greatest critics and often our own greatest enemy. We tear ourselves apart and call it “freedom of speech”. We publicly berate and attack each other and call it “human rights”. Our tribal behaviour often appears to have missed the boat of evolution. We throw rocks and stones at each other, and then we comfort each other at the graveside. But we’re still here! Together
Those nations and entities that have stood in our way since our State was born can only watch with open mouths as the Creator of the Universe repeatedly takes our side, and helps us to overcome; in ways that defy the laws of logic and reason. The rest He has left to the people of Israel- a raggle taggle, cobbled together, hodge podge of refugees, survivors, idealists and intellectuals, who were thrown together to make it work; spontaneously and with a only school boy army. It is a miracle that Israel has survived and developed as magnificently as it has.
So let’s take a moment today to say a word or two of thanks .
Even if the ceasefire is over by the time that you read this piece!