Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

$hit Israeli kids say when they’re under fire

“Mama, I was right. The war isn’t over. I usually like being right, but not this time. I wish I was wrong,” my son said to me this afternoon after our walk back from the bomb shelter.

A sullen day, today, like all the others before it since this war started.

We walk back, dragging our feet through the dust. I look over my shoulder to measure the distance — because we may have to run back again, like right now.  Run like our life depends on it. Because it does.

What a summer it’s been. For us, and especially for our kids.

war health

And yes, I know  that the children of Gaza are suffering horrifically. My kids know it, too.  And it makes us cry for these children who are victims of Hamas just as we are.

But this should not take away from the fact that our kids in Israel are living something they shouldn’t have to experience – that no one should experience. And from the fact that if Hamas had its way, all of us – me, my kids, the boy down the street who drags his stuffed dog behind him on a leash because he is mourning his real dog who was hit by a car, the 9 year old with the solemn eyes who braids my daughters hair – all of us, would be dead.

And when it’s the middle of the night and we can feel the ground thud with the POW of a rocket, when we walk outside afterwards and smell the scorched earth from the swing set where they were playing that afternoon, when we’re shaken awake by sirens or by our own nightmares… I dare you to tell us that our reality isn’t scary.

But our kids are dealing with it, and their perspective on this war will take your breath away:

“Mama, we’re building this scarecrow so it will protect us by scaring away the rockets. “

Hamas better RECOGNIZE!

“Don’t worry. The soldiers will protect us.” — Alma, age 2, while standing in a the stairwell during a siren.

“Mommy, why does the world hate us?” Yogev, 10 year old.

“Daddy, can we make a cake for the soldiers?”

“Mommy- I’m going to be a good boy and go to sleep nicely tonight. I”ll only come out of my room if I need to use the bathroom, or if there are sirens.”

“I just want world peace.” — Amit, age 10
world peace
“I just want world peace.” — Amit, age 10 Photo by Ellen Reichman Cohen


“There are people in Gaza who send bad rockets on us, and we have good rockets called Tilly that catch them. And if there is a siren, we will all run to Sheva ‘s room. Right, there will be a siren today? And if I’m sleeping, you’ll carry me. ” — Tamara, age 3.

” Abba, right today we are not scared because there are no sirens on Friday.”

“Just being new immigrants on the July 22 NBN flight my 6 year old boy said ” Is Tzeva Adom going to come tonight?” He thinks its a real person. Sad but we are still truly glad we are here. Am yisroel Chai!”

“Mama, I don’t believe in the tooth fairy. How can I believe in magic when there are rockets falling on us.” — Maytal, age 6… she hasn’t even lost her first tooth yet, and so much lost already.

Instead of “how long until we get there,” we have “how far are we from Gaza now?” every five minutes…with the siren warnings interrupting the music every ten minutes.

 “Mommy, right if they invent different rockets that the iron Dome can’t catch, we’ll invent something else that can? ” Yitzchak, aged 7.

“Whilst on holiday in the UK my five year old looked up in the sky and saw (through a gap in the storm clouds) an airplane with a vapor trail behind it. Loudly he proclaimed, with a smile and an outstretched index finger: “Tili ha Til!” That’s the name of the cartoon interceptor rocket from the video for teaching your kids what Iron Dome is.”

“Mama, when the sirens go off, all we can do is sing Am Yisrael Chai.”

“My 8 year old checked my Red Alert app during one of the cease fires and said “I thought the war was over! Why are there still sirens??”

“Mama, I know what time it is. It’s Hamas O’clock” Eli, age 4, after we feel the ground shake. 

During the siren two nights ago, my daughter wondered why we were running to the shelter in our pajamas, and then said, “It’s so we can practice hiding from the bad people.”

“Ima are there going to be azakot (sirens) tonight? I don’t want them.” An hour or so later I heard a little voice going wooooo woooo from the girls room – asked her what she was doing. She said “I’m teaching my dolls what to do during a siren.” – she had turned the lower bunkbed into a shelter.

“How does the shelter protect us from the bad people shooting rockets? What if they want to just climb in through the window?” — Eden, age 4

“Mommy, I don’t want to see any rockets? Why can’t there just be peace?”

“I bet the kids in Gaza are scared like we are. Maybe we should write a joint petition asking all the people in charge to stop the war.”

“Saying good night to my 10 yr old, Amit when he says,”my heart hurts.” So I ask him if he wants some medicine & he says,”no. It hurts because I’m worried about our future.”

“Doesn’t Hamas understand that in the long run we are going to win? We’re not going anywhere.” — MJ, 10 year old.



Got more to add? Comment here, or email me –


About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
Related Topics
Related Posts