Growing up, my parents placed me and my two siblings in a Jewish private day school. Classes were conducted in English in the morning and Hebrew lessons were given during the afternoon. I remember learning the A,B,C’s followed by the Aleph Bet.

Our teachers taught us about America and Israel. At a young age, I learned that Israel is the Jewish homeland and that one day all the Jewish people in the world would live there, once the Messiah arrives. One day there would be Everlasting Love in Israel (#ELI).

Now, about twenty years later, I am proud to say that I am an American-Israeli citizen. I’ve experienced life in the Jewish homeland and I’ve been enriched in so many ways. Yet as Operation Protective Edge continues in to week 3, my heart has become war torn. My eyes are constantly filled with tears thinking about the death and destruction taking place within the Jewish people’s homeland.

Food For Thought

There would be no Israel – no Jewish homeland – if it weren’t for the Israeli people and the IDF. I didn’t realize this when I was a young girl and I am only beginning to understand this now. I never would have been able to learn about Israel in the first place if it wasn’t for the citizens who have built the country to what it has become today.

Now, while Israel continues to get pounded by missiles coming from both the media and those being launched from Gaza, we must take a moment to remember the endless courage of the Israeli citizens.

Israel, a country about the size of New Jersey, is made up of the bravest, kindest and warmest people I have ever met. The citizens of Israel stand united during times of war, they open their doors to strangers and continue to live their everyday lives.

Death and destruction currently lingers about the air in Israel, yet the citizens remain strong and hopeful. Here are just a few reasons why everyone across the globe should admire Israel and its courageous citizens.

They ensure the existence of a Jewish homeland

John F. Kennedy once said, “Mankind must put an end to war – or war will put an end to mankind.”

This is an attitude which prevails in Israel. From my perspective, it’s clear that the people living in Israel know that they must unite and stand strong during times of war – otherwise there will be no more Israel. Israel and its people want to end war so they can carry on with life.

How does this affect everyone else in the world? Simply put, Israel is the Jewish homeland and without the courage of the Jewish people and the IDF, there would be no Jewish homeland. Jews all over the world would be without a land to call home if it wasn’t for the people of Israel – they are the real heros.

They never give up

Jesse Jackson once said, “If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against the odds.”

“Rise up against the odds” – this is exactly what the Israeli spirit is all about. In Israel, I’ve learned never to take “no” for an answer. You can do anything you set your mind to, as long as you remain determined.

Never be afraid of reaching out to people you don’t know, lending a helping hand to a stranger and overcoming even your greatest fears. I did not have this attitude before moving to Israel, yet making Aliyah has shown me that anything really is possible!

They’re brilliant

Steve Jobs once said,  “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”

Two words – Iron Dome. So far the Iron Dome has intercepted thousands of rockets which have been fired at Israel since July 8, 2014. I can personally say that the Iron Dome has saved my life, as well as millions of others, and this brilliant technology will only continue to do so in the future.

A country which comes first

A good friend of mine who lives in Israel once said, “I will never leave Israel.”

I will never forget these powerful words.

No one would like to have missiles being fired at their homes and at their families. No one would like to be the target of terrorism. Yet, the Israelis continue to persevere.

Mothers will continue putting their babies to sleep, even amongst the loudest and longest sirens. Sons will continue to fight for their nation. Fathers will continue to pray for their family’s safety and security. Lovers will continue to love and children will continue to play.

The Jewish people are fearless. The Jewish people will never give up. And for those Jews who do not live in Israel, now is the time to thank the Israeli citizens for protecting your true homeland. Now is the time to send you support to your brothers and sisters who are risking their lives for your nation of Israel.

And, when the time comes, I will raise my children with the same morals that I knew growing up – with the understanding and knowledge of what Israel means to Jews everywhere.

Israel must remain and will remain, for the sake of Jews everywhere and for the future of our children.