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Day 145 of the war: More bad news

My photo of the view from the hotel in Ein Bokek during better times
My photo of the view from the hotel in Ein Bokek during better times

Local elections for various municipalities were held yesterday in areas of Israel that are not war zones or under attack. Elections in Israel are statutory holidays, so most people spent the day engaging in leisure activities outdoors. For example, many took advantage of the upcoming spring to see blooming flowers, a favorite pastime activity among Israelis. Naturally, the restaurants were filled, and when I tried, last week, to reserve a table for four at noon at a usually empty restaurant, no tables were available. I read that less than 50% of citizens voted yesterday, thus I know that an opportunity to make important changes was missed. On the contrary, following yesterday’s election, the ultra-Orthodox and the extreme right are the majority in the municipality of Jerusalem; they voted. This is very bad news for the liberal and secular population in the city.

In terms of the war, yesterday was a very sad day: two officers were killed, and sevem soldiers were wounded in battles in the northern Gaza Strip. Additionally, following a relatively quiet couple of weeks, sirens sounded in southern Israel along the Gaza border yesterday, and the (almost) war in the north seems to be escalating. More than 145 Israelis are still refugees in their own country, with no end in sight.

At the outset of the war, many Israelis were evacuated to hotels across the country, and a significant number of them remain there. As the Passover vacation approaches, some hotels are now seeking reservations from vacationers. Consequently, these hotels have requested the evacuees to vacate or transfer to other designated hotels. The entire situation is highly insensitive, if not outright cruel.

There were accusations in the media that Israelis have grown callous and don’t want to see evacuees during their vacation, seeking some form of escapism. For me personally, the word “hotel” has completely changed its meaning from being a vacation destination to a shelter for those who were hit the hardest. I suggest that we, the fortunate citizens of Israel who are not refugees, refrain from going to hotels until the evacuees are safely back home. And if, by any chance, some people do feel an urgent need to book a place in a hotel, they should remember that it could have been them and their families. On October 6th, at the end of Sukkot vacation and the High Holidays, no one dreamt that a nightmare like October 7th could ever happen here.

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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