Writing about my much longed for journey to Israel, does need reaching back months before leaving – years in fact. It has been my big dream to step on Israel’s holy ground – Jerusalem mainly – for about 23 years, and 2014 was meant to be right. How many times did I get to hear the reaction: Israel!?; Isn’t Israel dangerous?; Aren’t you afraid? – Yes, Israel;…; No, I’m not. have been my standard replies.

My family, my all-time biggest supporters, worried because of the rockets, knew they could not stop me from my personal pilgrimage, and wouldn’t. Looking into flights in June, while the bodies of the boys had been found and the operation had taken action, I did not cancel my flight unlike the Turkish airline I had booked with leaving it up in the air till last minute whether flights were operating or not (like other non-Israeli airlines), so all my anticipated planning of places to see wasn’t really happening. Still, nobody can cancel my dreams.

The world being big I was encouraged to visit somewhere “safe” instead, possibly my birthplace Ireland – but no, I was still going to make it to Israel; the few positive reactions I got can be counted on one hand. The fact I found myself explaining I was going to Israel not Gaza, that Israel is not Gaza per definition, v.v., made me think: This is unbelievable, idle discussions with people who apparently don’t (want to) know basic facts. The week before leaving I got this remark from a bank clerk in Germany: Israel!! Oohh, a dangerous place! Going on with his service I stopped him pointing to his inappropriate comment: Don’t you worry about my trip to Israel.

‘Welcome’ to long-awaited anticipation I seemed to be sharing with myself and very few people around me only; never mind the one-sided 24/7 bombarding on European and world news channels – yet again total brainwashing of viewers not wanting to actually see for themselves.

Snapshot of his silhouette