Day 170 Of The War: How Happy Are We?

My photo of the activist Ami Dror who gave us hope last night in Kaplan
My photo of the activist Ami Dror who gave us hope last night in Kaplan

Normally, in the World Happiness Report, Israel receives high marks alongside countries like Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. This year, despite the war, Israel is in 5th place. It is quite remarkable how, even when a whole country has been hijacked by a group of cynical, corrupt, and extremist individuals, the people can still be considered happy. My only explanation for this, apart from mere denial, is that the sense of community and family in Israel is unusually strong. Israel may be the only country where families gather every Friday night for Shabbat dinner, often spanning three generations. Even adult children cherish this tradition and are unwilling to miss it.This tradition is so common among both religious and secular Israelis that even university students whose families live in different cities get together for a Shabbat dinner. I’ve heard of potluck Shabbat meals with fellow students, where each participant contributes to the feast. Thus, even in difficult times like now, the network of family and friends in Israel brings happiness to our lives. It will be interesting to see whether our ranking will decline throughout this year as we begin to better understand the implications of our calamity.

On Saturday night, I went with a friend to Kaplan again. We stood very close to the stage when a young woman asked for our permission to stand on a folding chair in front of us. She explained that her mother was giving a speech.  Her mother, Rachel Angel Lichi from Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, the aunt of Ofir Angel who was released from his imprisonment in Gaza, is a bereaved sister whose brother was killed in the army. She delivered an excellent and passionate speech.” In contrast to the last few demonstrations, I sensed a new energy of determination and impatience in the speeches. They were very honest and full of anger. The speaker, Dr. Ofer Havakuk, who returned from more than 100 days in Gaza, said: “A good doctor needs to know how to take responsibility and make swift decisions.” These qualities are also important in a leader, but Netanyahu is not a leader; he is an old man who can’t make decisions and procrastinates, always blaming everybody else but himself. Looking at the young people on the stage, I felt very sorry for the state of Israel, but hopeful that there are excellent people here who are willing to do everything to make a better life for their fellow citizens and future generations.  And since, as one of the signs in the demonstration read, ’64 criminals have usurped us,’ we need to get rid of them now.

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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