“Just let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”
“Would it help if I ________?”
“How can I send money to you for those supplies you are sending your son’s unit?”
From the day the war began, the outpouring of care and concern from our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world has been beautiful and, frankly, overwhelming. I’ve heard from college buddies I hadn’t connected with in decades. Former work colleagues reached out on LinkedIn to wish me well, and tell me I was in their thoughts. And, of course, relatives of all different levels of Torah observance aggressively pursued ways of supporting Israel.
And that support is now well-documented. I don’t know how many tons of goods have been brought over to Israel from the US and other countries in the past 28 days. I know how much money I’ve raised, and how much I’ve spent, and how many visits I’ve made to army bases, and I don’t even consider myself as having done so much. I have a close friend who’s transformed his life into helping Israel, largely ignoring his full-time job running a multinational company.
We were privileged to have received our first visit from our soldier-son, who gave us 80 minutes of his precious time the other day, when he was given his first day off since October 7. He said something that kind of rocked my world, but also got me thinking:
“Abba, the army doesn’t need anything. All those donations are nice-to-haves. In terms of need-to-haves, we have everything.”
“What about the first aid kits? What about the vests?”
“Abba, I’m telling you. We have everything we need. Anything being asked for, or being provided, by people is really nice, but we don’t need it.
(pause) “It’s more for them than it is for us.”
Woah. So now what? What am I supposed to do with that information?
I sat with a friend yesterday for a cup of coffee. He and I have spent a lot of time on the roads, trails, etc., running lots and lots of kilometers together over the years. We’ve cried together. We’ve stopped running because of exhaustion together.
A close friend.
So we’re talking about the war, of course, since that’s all anyone talks about these days, and he says to me:
(No quotes, because this is not word-for-word, but this is what he said.)
You know, the ultimate proof that we are not colonialists here in Israel is that no one is talking about leaving the country due to the Hamas attack. Colonialists, as a rule, try to conquer an area, and if all is smooth sailing, they’ll stay and take it over. But if something goes awry, and certainly if a thousand of them are killed, they’ll get out of there. It’s just not worth the trouble or the loss.
But we’re not going anywhere. This is our homeland. It’s different. We will stay and fight for our land. And my friend says this is the proof that it is our land … we won’t leave. We love it too much.
My cousin calls me early yesterday afternoon.
“How are you holding up?” he asks.
“I’m good,” I respond, fairly enthusiastically. “How are you guys doing? I’m worried about you.”
“Is everything okay with the family? You guys okay?” he says.
“Hey, you know, (my son) is on the northern border protecting us, but he’s doing well. The rest of us, you know, we’re okay. But I’m actually more worried about you. Things are crazy over there.”
“I know, it’s never been like this. Listen, I’m really calling because I want you to know, if there’s anything we can do for you, beyond making donations, which we’ve done, please let me know.”
“Actually, there is one thing, but I’m not sure how you’ll take it.”
“Lay it on me. We want to help however we can.”
“I want you to move here,” I repeated. “That’s the only thing we need.”
“Well, I don’t think now is the best time, financially or emotionally, for us to do something like that.”
“I know,” I said. “But I really do think that would be great, and really helpful to us.”
“You know I would if I could, and you know Israel is in our hearts.”
“I know. Thank you so much for checking in, and (name), tell (his wife) about what I asked for you guys to do.”
About the Author
Goel Jasper is Managing Partner of Finn Partners Israel. He lives with his wife and children in a Jerusalem suburb.