Sunday, July 13th, 2014 marks Day 6 of Operation Protective Edge. As I wake up in my childhood bed in Dallas, Texas, the first thing I do is reach for my cell phone. Thoughts of Israel and the safety of my friends are buzzing throughout my mind.
I open Facebook. I check everyone’s statuses, making sure there were no recent code red alerts or emergencies in Israel. I open my email, making sure I don’t have a message from any of my friends telling me that the situation in Israel has gotten worse. I check Whatsapp to make sure my friends in Israel are safe.
July 13th, 2014, almost 4:30 pm in Israel – everyone I know seems “fine” for now. I rest assured and place my phone back down next to my bed. I close my eyes and try to drift back to sleep, but I can’t. My thoughts are filled with Israel, filled with the sirens, filled with the terror in my friends’ eyes.
Just ten minutes later, I get a whatsapp message from my best friend in Tel Aviv.
Message from friend: “Another siren – this time it’s loud”.
I wake up immediately to the vibration of her message. I read the text. Horror.
My message to friend: “Are you OK? Is this the first siren of the day?”
Message from friend: “Yes, I’m fine, it was just very loud. It was the first siren.”
How should I respond to this? With an, “OK, I’m glad to hear you’re safe?” I’m millions of miles away from Israel and my friends are now telling me about the situation that I flew away from.
“OK, please be safe,” is the message I send back to my friend.
“Please be safe,” what more can I say?
I’ve only been back in the States for 2 days. I’ve tried to occupy my mind with shopping, eating, working out and spending time with my family. Yet, my thoughts remain consumed with those in Israel.
My dear country Israel, the country which helped me grow as an individual in ways that the States would never have allowed. My dear country Israel, the country which scared me with missile threats, shakes to my Tel Aviv apartment and code red sirens. Israel, why do you do this to me?
I’ve only been back in the States for 2 days. I came to escape the horror of the terrorists and the missiles being launched from Gaza into Israel. I came to find comfort in my childhood home and neighborhood. I came to be close to my parents. I came to close my eyes and forget about the horror of missiles, sirens and constant booms and shakes.
And although I’m currently in Dallas, Texas, my mind remains in Israel. I am not living in the States mentally, yet I am here physically. My heart continues to weep for Israel and my eyes water with tears. I feel safe here, but it doesn’t help the situation at all.
Israel, you have taught me a lot about life. You have taught me about love, maturity, growth and well-being. You have even taught me about security, ironically. Yet, you have also taught me about war. You have shown me the horror, the sadness, the hurt and the suffering. This will never escape me. My thoughts will always be yours Israel, for you have become one with my heart, my soul and my mind.