Orna Raz

Day 129 Of The War: Ready For The Next Season

Colorful flowers in Kibbutz Eilon. (courtesy)
Colorful flowers in Kibbutz Eilon. (courtesy)

We woke up this morning to wonderful news that the Israeli army rescued two hostages, Louis Norberto Har (70), and Fernando Marman. These two brothers-in-law have reunited with their family: Louis’s wife Clara, Fernando’s sister Gabriela, and their niece Mia, whose photo holding her little dog Bela we all remember For almost an entire hour, I was happy, but then we heard about the two fallen soldiers, and the death of many people in Rafah. Before we received the sad news about the casualties, I observed many people who, for the first time in a long period of grief, had a smile on their faces.

My weekend was marked by an attempt to engage in out of the (war) ordinary  activities. On Friday, a friend and I  drove up to Eilon to visit our friend Sima, who, along with a few other kibbutz members, chose to stay in their homes (I wrote about them here When I spoke to Sima earlier last week and asked her to come and visit, she said that we would be their first guests since October 7th.

Driving north, the roads were relatively empty with army posts at the entrances to the different kibbutzim. Eilon is situated in one of the most beautiful regions in Israel, and sitting on our friends’ porch surrounded by clorful anemones and the singing of birds, it was hard to imagine that this idyllic place is only 4 km from the border. Still, a siren followed by a boom reminded us of this reality, and the Hezbollah. We heard that there is a chance that not all the members of the kibbutz, who are spread in several places around Israel, would choose to return to Eilon. Our friends spoke about it with resignation but without bitterness.

I was so impressed by the beautiful kibbutz that on Shabbat, Johnny, my life partner, and I went to the nursery to buy plants. The man who worked there told us that by Passover, we would already see flowers, and this prospect motivated me. For the first time since the war started, I worked in the garden. While Johnny dug the holes for the roses, I weeded the garden and remembered what Joyce Carol Oates wrote: that gardeners are the most optimistic people as they are always looking forward to the next season.

And then, in sharp contrast, on Saturday night, we went again to the demonstration in Habima, where we stood in silence for a moment in memory of the dead. Then we shouted, “Bring the hostages home now,” “Shame,” “Removal now,” and “Election now,” and were filled with rage and frustration 

I feel ready for the next season to begin.

About the Author
I have a PhD in English literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and I usually write about issues concerning women, literature, culture and society. I lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994). I am widow and in March 2016 started a support/growth Facebook group for widows: "Widows Move On." In October 2017 I started a Facebook group for Older and Experienced Feminists. .
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