When I met Oren back in 2018 I did not really understand much of the army or miluim. I think he went a couple of times for like 4 days and it was just training, basic stuff, nothing serious. Things became serious on October 11th, 4 days after the terrorist attack, when he finally got the call, he was being drafted.
Israelis know what it means to go to war, I do not know. I was born a few months after internal terrorism in Peru came to an end, sort of. The closest I was ever to a bomb was when I was still inside my mom and a car bomb detonated near my parents place. Hearing a siren for the first time on October 7th changed me forever. Spending that morning checking in on my friends, especially those living or currently at the border with Gaza, were hours I will never get back and that killed me a bit from the inside.
October 12th around 7am Oren is taking his bags to his dad’s car, who by the way was abroad on vacation with my MIL and is trying to get back into Israel as soon as possible. Oren is wearing this green uniform that I have seen like maybe twice in the 5 years we have known each other. I have packed all the snacks I had at home, we do not know when he will be coming back and his base is almost 3 hours away from home. He leaves, Killa cries, I sit on the sofa very confused about everything. Did I just become a military wife? Was this mentioned in our wedding vows?
It has been over 5 weeks of this war. 5 weeks of crying our dead and also hurting for those over 240 hostages that we know nothing about. It has been over 5 weeks of receiving different kinds of virtual attacks because I chose to marry a Jewish man and to start our marriage in Israel. And this is one of the two things I want to tell you about today: antisemitism by association and being a non Israeli partner to an Israeli citizen.
The war stopped everything, including many governmental offices. Many people like me, in the partner visa process, were left hanging because almost nationwide they decided the family reunification unit was not a priority when opening back the ministry of foreign offices.
My visa expired on the 24th, my renewal was on the 17th and even though Oren drove 3 hours after a night shift to be in the interview, they denied us the right and sent us back home. I spent a week visaless. Yes, there was an online announcement saying we were getting an SMS with an automatic renewal until November 9th, I am still waiting for such a message.
I finally had my renewal interview on October 30th, it only took my husband stalking some clerks via phone calls and WhatsApp messages and me crying on the phone with one of those clerks for them to decide maybe it was time to care about us, the non Israeli partners.
I could write many articles on how Misrad Hapoanim (Ministry of Interior) treat us, but I would probably be risking my next renewal, I just wanna leave them with one question, in case they read this: how can the Israeli government demand from us to willingly and proudly send our partners to war while we are left at home unprotected, without proper documentation and no support from the country our loved ones are out there defending? I will now grab my hummus and wait patiently for a response.
“Amor, I think you need to wake up, we are under attack”, October 7th, 8am. I would give anything to go back to the world as I knew it before that awful wake up. The first 2 days everyone was calling me, checking up on me and my husband, expressing their sadness and how we did not deserve these attacks, but it took only a good army response from Israel for everyone, or most of them, to turn their backs on me, on us.
People I considered very good friends of mine, to whom I opened the doors of my life and my house justifying what happened on October 7th and demonizing Israel. Not even bothering to ask me if I could maybe verify their sources, or maybe defend Israel. They took whatever they saw online and decided that was the absolute truth.
Silly me posted on X very proudly that my husband was out there fighting the good fight and it took seconds for random people to call him a genocider and a murderer. Yes, I did take down the post. It has become an emotional rollercoaster having people throw all kinds of insults at me only because they think I am Jewish. Little do they know about the diversity of people living in and standing by Israel. I hope they know I am not forgetting. I am not a resentful person, I am sunshine. Still, I do not compensate hatred nor antisemitism with love, unfortunately for them.
I am flying to Europe in 10 days to present part of my PhD research and my MIL has asked me to leave my star of David at home, my husband asked to tell people in the conference that we are coming all the way from Peru and my close friends in Israel are asking me not to say a word in Hebrew. What is this world where I have to hide what my identity is built upon?
Of course I am scared, but my anger can be more. My rage against people justifying the terror attacks on the 7th, calling for the destruction of the only democratic and Jewish state in the Middle East, claiming I married a murdered and I stand for a genocidal country, my rage is what is keeping me alive today, and when all this is over, I know sadness and mourning will take control, and maybe, at some point, my joy will come back and I will continue spreading it around the world, but today is rage, today is anger.
I love my man, we had a Jewish-Christian wedding back in October 2020, and in the bottom of our personalized ketubah we included this verse: Because wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you make your home, I will make my home. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God – Ruth 1:16. I live by this verse, it is the foundation of our intercultural marriage.
I am proud of being the wife of a Jewish Israeli man. I am proud of carrying a David Star necklace. I am proud of representing Israel wherever I go. I am proud of our army. I am proud of our diverse people. Proud of them for forgetting their differences and joining efforts to protect the country. I am proud to be part of Israeli society. So yes, we should be soon updating our vows to add: in peace or in war.