Israel and The War I Saw – July 2014
Part One and Day One:
During the tough times of war, an impressive experience in a country that united like no other in the world, a country we were sad to leave.
Not even 48 hours has passed since I landed from my most recent visit to Israel and I feel compelled to share my unique time there as well as an accurate account of life in Israel during the days the country and its people were under attack.
Arriving to any country where there is a war over head and on the ground can and does quite naturally bring about feelings of doubt, hesitations and fear as these sorts of conditions are unusual and are typically uncharted waters for most of us.
As my husband and I walked off the plane and through Ben Gurion airport, there was a vibe atypical to the usual one felt upon arriving in Israel. It was something that I personally had never experienced, as I am accustomed to excitement and pure happiness that people usually express when beginning the Israel journey. By the time we boarded the train from Ben Gurion Airport to our destination, I could see the feelings written all over the faces of everyone. The mood was heavy as I felt the seriousness and tension around us. It was the look of extreme concern and not quite the look of fear.
We did not have our phones activated when we boarded the train and we needed to advise our family that we had landed and were en route to them all. As has always been my experience in Israel, if you don’t have a working phone and need to make a call, the most natural thing to do is ask the person sitting near you (that you do not in fact know) to borrow their phone. We did just that and of course this person was more than willing to help out.
Our first stop was Haifa to visit my father-in-law, who had unfortunately been diagnosed with a serious illness the day the missiles began arriving throughout Israel. When we arrived to his home the conversation was focused on the “situation” which is how unrest and war times are referred to in Israel. One would think that being diagnosed with cancer would be the issue front and center, but my 90 year old father-in-law has been through his share of wars and was completely glued to the television to follow all that unfolded. This was the way it would be for my three plus weeks in Israel; the war that Israel was basically forced into would be front and center in every Israeli’s life. As I watched my father-in-law digest the daily breakdown of the many hundreds of rockets that were fired towards the cities in Israel, how many soldiers were called up to the front lines, and how many had been injured or killed, I could not help but wonder what was going through his mind. He was recently diagnosed with a life threatening disease and I saw his facial expression as it spoke volumes. He had that look; the somber look that everyone in the country wore. He was suffering from a disease in his body and yet he was devoting his energy, the little that he has left, to the events that captured the attention of the entire country.
The next day I arrived in Tel Aviv to stay with our youngest daughter who lives and works in the city. She had been assuring me prior to our arrival that she was not scared of the missiles coming into the city day and night, because she had learned the routine. I would soon learn the routine also.
I would also totally realize just how a life means nothing to terrorists. This was proven time and time again with such accurate reporting and coverage from Israel on Gaza, clearly showing how the terrorists put all of their people in harm’s way. It was revealed just how they spent the money given to them. It was used for weapons and also years of preparing for attacks on Israel rather than on hospitals, food, schools, and the building up of their city so desperately needed in Gaza. The tunnels that the Hamas terrorists dug deep and far into Israel had become all that they lived for and they literally lived in those tunnels while they waited for instructions from their leaders to attack Israel and its citizens. They obviously used their own mothers, children and families as human shields, their homes as shelters and as a hiding place (for themselves as well as their missiles,) and made sure that those family members would bear the retaliation that Israel had to engage in.