Are You Safe?

Like many Americans living in Israel and I suppose other immigrants as well, we all have relatives, friends and acquaintances we left behind in our former countries.  Certainly many of them must have questioned why we are leaving for the Middle East (certainly not the quietest neighborhood) and moving to Israel, which seems to be the world’s favorite dartboard-even though the darts that are tossed our way are more likely missiles and mortar shells.

Trying to explain Zionism to some folks is akin to giving a university graduate lecture on cybernetics to a chimpanzee (no disrespect for chimps as some of them do seem to attain a higher level of intuitiveness than many politicians and diplomats).  Orthodox Jews have a much finer sense of Israel, at least in religious terms, than many secular Israelis I know that have made aliyah, but once here, we are all in the same pot of cholent. Sure, we might disagree on a variety of topics and assuredly there will always be some bone of contention even among Orthodox sections of our society, but enemy missiles do not differentiate between between Talmudist and hedonist in Sderot or Tel Aviv.

My point is that what I fear most is the middle of the night or super early in the morning (depending on the time difference) call from one of my relatives who, after watching the news on the television, wants to know if I am still alive and if I’m safe. I dread the notion of my 87 year old mother, sitting in her living room, watching the news and seeing or hearing about some terrorist outrage anywhere in Israel and making her way, slowly to the phone, and dialing my number just to ask if we are still alive and,,,,,,now get this, when are we coming home?

Coming home??? We are home. One doesn’t abandon one’s home and family when things are bad; that is the time to stick together and stick it out. But honestly, how many of you reading this have had that phone call? Last summer, if I hadn’t placed the phone close at hand, I’d be running to the darn thing every hour!

Are we safe? I asked her, are you safe? My wife and I can walk anywhere in Jerusalem or Maaleh Adumim anytime on any day and never be afraid. Sure, we are aware of our surroundings but living in fear? What about the people in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles where the murder rates are climbing and rioters and looters rule the streets? What about the people getting mugged on the New York City subways everyday? How about the recent tragedy, the horrific senseless murder of a young woman by an illegal alien in San Francisco-shot in the back and dying in her father’s arms? And you, my dear mother, ask me if I am safe????

Yes, the danger is different, I realize that. But I sleep very well every night. Sure, my tiny Jewish country is surrounded by enemy nations that want me dead. But guess what? They don’t like you very much either. In fact, they already have missiles that can reach me but they are building bigger ones to get you!

I have total confidence in the Israel Defense Forces to protect me and my family.  They have never wavered in their devotion and readiness to sacrifice to protect us all here.  I even have Iron Dome, do you?

So, the next time there is an increase in the crime rate in your former cities and your relatives and friends ask you if you are safe, ask them if they are safe. Heck, even trained Marines in their own offices aren’t safe in Tennessee anymore.

About the Author
Irwin was born in New York City and is now retired. He lives in Maaleh Adumim since making aliyah 7 years ago.