Aaron Menche

Please don’t ask if we are ok

Over the last six weeks, I have been receiving many calls, texts, and emails from friends and family who are being nice and checking up on me. Invariably, I am asked, “How are you?” Sometimes, I answer “OK” just to be polite. Other times I might say “same as everyone else,” which is less polite. I want to make it easy for everyone who has real concern about those of us living in Israel. Please stop asking how we are doing. We are not good. None of us are.

Before October 7th, when I was asked this question, I always answered, “Great, when are you moving here?” I meant it. Israel has consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. Our GDP was the fourth highest in the OECD for 2022. We were busy making future Jewish generations with the highest birthrate in the Western world. We were the third leading destination for hi-tech investments and were in the top 10 of the most technologically advanced countries as well.

It is true that there were problems here. The new government split the nation, and there were weekly protests for 10 months, but at least we did not have to deal with woke nonsense, and our kids didn’t know what antisemitism is. We felt safe. The future was looking very bright.

All that changed on the 7th. We knew that world opinion was never aligned with us, but even a skeptic like me was taken aback by the sheer overt antisemitism that has come out of the woodwork all over the world. Reading the news, you would have to think that Israel is the most heinous, murderous country on the planet. It is hard to be okay when you know how hated you are and how little value your life holds.

Many things I love about this country have manifested themselves during this time of crisis. By October 10th, 350 thousand troops showed up for active duty, nearly 5% of the Jewish population. All opposition to the government stopped, and the same people who organized the weekly protests jumped into action to support our troops. Hundreds of non-kosher restaurants became kosher so they could send food to the troops on the front lines. People from almost all walks of life are banding together to help. It is amazing to see and be part of.

Yet, life here will never be the same. The main contract between the government, the army, and the people has been shattered. People from all political segments of society are getting guns. The anger is brewing against our leadership, but most of us know that now is not the time to act on this. What we also know is that if Hamas is not completely destroyed, living here will be very difficult. Hamas will know, as will terrorists all over the world, that they can get away with atrocities as long as they run back and hide under civilians, hospitals and schools. No one will want to live near the border. That is why there can be no compromise on this, and I pray our leaders will stay the course. This is something everyone here is thinking about.

Another thing we are now thinking about is the pause that is in place so that we can get our hostages back. This is a very difficult conversation. Many people do not think this was the right thing to do. Hamas was on the run, and we had the momentum. We were being put in a position to make a Sophie’s choice, where no decision is the right one. Yet even though many people are against the pause, we all have sympathy for the families of those that were taken. Regardless of what people’s opinions about the pause are, there were no rallies against it.

These are just a few of the issues we are all dealing with here. Not everything is discussed out loud; it can be heartbreaking. All our choices are bad, and we are all trying to come to grips with that fact. We are living in a situation where the future is very uncertain, and we know that it will get much worse before it gets better.

So, no, we are not okay. Thank you for your concern, but please stop asking.

About the Author
Aaron Menche has a dual major in Political science and Near Eastern studies and started his masters in Near Eastern studies but, then life got in the way. After raising a family in NYC, he made Aliyah 7 years ago. He is currently waiting for good sushi and overnight Amazon to come to Israel.
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