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Mothers in Anguish

To be a mother means to never sleep well again. And that’s not just because you have a baby who wakes you at night. It’s because you now love someone so deeply and so wholly, that the possibility of something happening to them, even when all is well, is the elephant in the room wherein your peace of mind and your worry-free slumber dwell. Nothing need go wrong. Just the knowing, in the back of your mind, that something could, sits in the consciousness of the mother.

But when something does happen, when the thoughts you told yourself not to have, become realities, life is never the same.

Our people is filled, today, with mothers who are suffering. Who does not think about the mothers of the fallen? Those who have had their hearts ripped out of their bodies as their child, or even children were ripped from their lives.

Who does not think about the mothers of the hostages? Who have held one long breath now for over seven months, waiting impossibly for their stolen child to be returned.

Who does not think of the mothers of the soldiers? A small relief when they hear from their endangered, brave child, their hearts in their mouths every time there is a knock on the door.

When we pray for someone who is sick, in Jewish tradition, we change the name of the child to reflect not their father, but rather their mother. You can be Moshe ben Abraham your whole life, but when you are sick, we call you Moshe ben Sarah. Now that we need to muster heavenly compassion and ask it for healing, we bribe the heavens with the image of the mother, so that it feels more compelled to grant us our wish.

But there’s one kind of mother that we’re not talking about. The mother in as much anguish as the others. And this mother needs our love too.

We all grew up hearing stories. Stories of exciting ideologies that infiltrated the Jewish people and stole the tender hearts and impressionable minds of the Jewish children. Whether it was the Hellenists, the communists or the brilliant philosophers of the Enlightenment, we have, as a people, always suffered from losing our children to ideas and philosophies that were alien to our traditional mindset.

And today, it seems, is no different.

For decades, under our noses, a narrative has been brilliantly cultivated by our enemies. Words, unscrutisinised, have made their way into the assumptions of a whole generation. Humanitarianism, oppression, freedom fighter, victimhood. And now — genocide, resistance. Words that have crept in and shaped the way so many kids today, relate to the world. And it’s not just these words that pertain to the current conflict that caused chaos. They were cleverly preceded by words and concepts that prepared the soil in which today’s words would take root.

You can no longer ask of today’s youth to think critically about the facts and to try to determine which narrative is true and which side is moral. That would once have been acceptable. But in a generation that is post truth, who feel unsafe in the presence of an opposing opinion, that believes not in right and wrong but in their truth and their narrative, that calls an opinion that is different to theirs a micro aggression, who need validation for every trigger, who is willing to cancel anyone with an opinion different to their own… Can you even make such an ask? To think critically about the facts and about the rights and wrongs? No you cannot. There is no such thing as truth, unless it’s theirs.

So now the ground work has been laid. Who’s to condemn murderous terrorists that brutally massacred innocent civilians? You don’t get to condemn. They’re not terrorists, they’re freedom fighters. It wasn’t murder, it was resistance. Israel weren’t innocent, they were oppressors. And you think to yourself, do you honestly not see the right and wrong in this story? Do you not see that thousands of massacring terrorists infiltrating a border unsolicited and brutally murdering civilians in their homes is a perpetrating of evil? But you can’t talk about that, because that’s just your truth. And you can’t ask them, because they’ll accuse you of making them feel unsafe. Never mind that none of this makes sense because in a world where they claim there is no actual truth, they sure as heck seem pretty clear that their version is the only truth. Try that one and you’re sure to be canceled, just for doing you, which they don’t mind usually, but only if it’s completely in harmony with them doing them.

Is it surprising, that in this climate (sorry, hope that word isn’t triggering) hundreds of people have fallen for the narrative? This trap was laid many a decade ago, by academics and influencers who really would have done quite well for themselves in PR or marketing, but, sadly for us, turned their attention to the numbing and dumbing of the young American mind.

And amongst those Americans, are many of our fellow Jews.

And for each Jew who sides with our enemies, fighting for an end to oppression, the dismantling of the state, the uprising, the resistance; for each Jew who calls Israel genocidal, who has revoked their affiliation, who proudly stands with the Palestinian cause, there is a yet another Jewish mother in anguish.

What did I do wrong? How did this happen? Is this my fault?

This is not a clean pain. It’s a pain shrouded in shame. The child in this mother’s life, has not been deemed a victim nor celebrated as a hero. There is neither pride, nor comfort, for these mothers.

And whilst I would not argue that their child is a hero, I definitely think they are a victim of indoctrination. We keep warning the west that our enemy is coming for them next. What we have also to realise, is that the same entities that radicalised a whole generation to champion terrorism aren’t coming to the west next. They are already there. And they have already done their radicalising. It occurred in plain view and we didn’t see it, but when the mask came off our enemy on Oct 7th, the strategy of the last 30 years of sponsored education on our campuses, also became evident.

As hundreds of radicalised Jews cry out in pro Palestinian protest, hundreds of their mothers cry too.

About the Author
Ilana Cowland is an educator, relationships coach, international lecturer and author of "The Moderately Anxious Everybody."
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