One of the hardest things I did took place this summer. On July 30th at 12 AM I boarded my el al flight headed to JFK. Yes, some part of the challenge can be chalked up to my immense fear of flying, but this time it was so much more then that.
I had spent the previous few weeks in war mode. I, like most of Israel ate, slept, and breath Tzuk Eitan. I put my finals on the back burner while me and the rest of the country spent our days repeatedly hitting refresh on YNET’s home page.
As I stood there at my gate I couldn’t feel more deflated. How was I expected to go and exist in a reality that was so far removed from any part of my world?
As I exited the airport in New York I heard the sound I had become all too familiar with: the dreaded siren. As much as I hated the sound practical Tali came in and took over. First instincts: where to run? Should I run back inside? Would I make it in time? What if I just lie here on the ground till after the BOOM?
As all these thoughts raced through my head, the craziest thing happened the siren disappeared! No BOOM, no ten minutes in a shelter, no frantic calls from family members, just an ambulance driving by and it was all over.
And so it began, eventually during my visit I trained myself not to hear the sirens but what I couldn’t train myself to do was not feel the separation. I sat on the Internet daily watching Hamas making fools of Israel. I watched Israel agree to ceasefire after ceasefire only to have them broken by Hamas repeatedly.
And that is when I came across an emotion I was surprised to be having: shame.
I was embarrassed.
My country, the place I loved most, was being made a laughing stock not just in my eyes but also the eyes of the international world.
How is it possible that a country, so dedicated to protecting the Jewish people give chance again and again to people who not so secretly call for our destruction?
Fast-forward three months.
Israel’s, capital is under attack.
Israel’s buses have been stoned.
Israel’s, citizens are being run over as they cross the street.
Israel’s children are being murdered.
But Israel remains politically correct
As a nation, we mourn for our losses, we cry, attend funerals and shivas, and we get revved up and promise to exact revenge.
But then what?
We listen to out leaders swear an end to terror will come, but its just words they speak and year after year nothing has changed.
Until when do they get to kidnap us? Murder our brothers? Shoot sleeping children? Whilst we sit here, so in fear of the international world we don’t dare make a sound, we twiddle our thumbs as we wait idly by for the next round of terror.
Something that has always stuck with me was something Esther Wachsman, the mother of Nachshon Wachsman once wrote, she said “…For that is what the Jewish people have always done -– rebuilt after destruction, began new lives from the ashes and blood of the old.”
Rebuilding is an important tool in both the lives and history of the Jewish people. And that’s the way it has been forever, Pogroms after expulsions after inquisitions after holocausts that’s all we know. We are all too familiar with the cycle of destruction, grief, and then rebuilding.
But maybe, just maybe the time has come to break this cycle. Why must we accept that rebuilding is inevitable? Why not shift the focus and work on stopping the destruction?
Israel must change its mindset we are no longer a people in fear we must stand up for ourself and ensure that we never have to rebuild again.
As politically correct as Israel is the world doesn’t care, so why tiptoe?