I have to tell you something:

I may cringe when one of our leaders does something or says something, or breaks out a whiteboard (or — oh God, never again — a duck) — as soon as anyone else who isn’t from here, or has never even BEEN here, and has no real sense of what it’s like to live and love here, starts laying into him or her , I get my hackles up.

It’s complicated.
It’s visceral.
It’s family.

Yes, we’re allowed to insult him.

We can stage protests, we can laugh our asses off at Eretz Nehederet, we can roll our eyes and yell and call him names, and even despise him.

We can show up on March 17 on election day, and choose differently, too.

But once an Israeli leader leaves our cacophonous, chaotic, and sometimes claustrophobic little world, where we’re all yelling at him or her from all sides, once that leader leaves this place, leaves Israel, leaves HOME, I get very, very quiet.

Because we have to deal with what it’s like to be here, to have spent the summer covering our kids bodies with our own. We have to live here, where every single one of us knows someone who was killed our hurt in a terrorist attack. We have to live here, just a hop, skip, and a rocket-flight away from a potentially nuclear country that has called for our destruction too many times to count.

Because none of this is theoretical when you live here — even though we embrace life with arms and eyes wide open, the fear never disappears entirely. It’s always there, a prickle in the sweet spot where our spines dip into our shoulder blades.

And I want to believe — no, I have to believe — that our leaders –even when we disagree — have our backs.