Orna Raz

Day 254 Of The War:Trying to Keep Up The Hope

Getting ready for yet another demonstration in Kaplan. My photo
Getting ready for yet another demonstration in Kaplan. My photo


Last night, we heard that there were over 160,000 protesters in Kaplan. Still, as I stood there among this huge crowd, I felt small and helpless. How is it possible that we all know this is a corrupt government, and that the prime minister cares only about staying in power, yet there is nothing within our power to change it? I felt frustrated and angry, but I tried my best to stay in the moment and keep my belief that things will improve soon.

Boaz, a former resident of the north of Israel and an evacuee, was the first speaker last night. He said what we all know: that the north of Israel was taken hostage by Netanyahu. After his painful short speech, Yair Lapid, the head of the opposition, spoke again. It was only last month that he spoke in Kaplan and urged Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot to leave the government. This time, Lapid was perhaps a little bit more hopeful because Gantz and Eizenkot left the government a week ago and joined the opposition. But like all of us, he mourned the soldiers who lost their lives in Gaza and was furious with Netanyahu for making corrupt political deals with the Ultra Orthodox parties concerning the draft, trying to pass corrupt laws that would enable them to maintain the status quo, where their men would not have to carry the burden, like the rest of us, and join the army. Lapid answered the question that keeps me awake at night: How do we force Netanyahu out? He seemed sure that the only way was to protest: “Take a flag and go to the street to demonstrate,” he said, adding, “Hope is the courage to keep going and make changes when the going is tough.”

Next spoke Nurit Flezental, a mother of a reserve duty soldier in Gaza. She described how tough it is to be a mother of boys in Israel. As she spoke, I suddenly remembered my mother’s first reaction when my daughter was born 42 years ago. She said, “I am so happy that you have a daughter; she will not have to be a fighter.” At that time back in 1982, I didn’t fully understand it. We were students in the US, and the army was very far from my mind. Flezental also said that in Israel, “we raise boys with a repressed knowledge of the sacrifice of Isaac’s”, and concluded that it is not easy to be a parent in Israel with a shaky sense of security and the knowledge that we have been betrayed by our government.

It was a very sad night in Kaplan. This morning, I volunteered in the dining room at the headquarters of the hostages’ families. These days, preparing and serving meals for the families and volunteers at the headquarters is the only place where I find some peace and quiet.

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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