Martina Lichtman

Sad questions, sad answers

Flare from a Hamas rocket hitting an apartment building in Rishon LeZion, captured from afar. (Photo by the author)

How am I, you ask?

I am well, thank you. Physically unharmed, that is. But my heart and soul are aching.

I am revolted – by the constant stream of horrific reports and images, from those who survived the onslaught of Hamas, who were saved by Israeli soldiers and brave civilians, from first responders, forensic experts trying to identify the bodies, several dozens of which are in such awful state that all the attempts at identification were not successful until this day.

I am exhausted – by the constant state of nervousness and the adrenalin rushes, the jolts in my stomach I get from every rocket siren, the sounds of explosions when the Iron Dome is intercepting Hamas missiles in mid-air – or when those missiles hit and destroy buildings; and by the fear and cold sweat every time my stepson gets sent on a mission with his army unit.

I am saddened – by the constant silence of some friends and acquaintances, and the lack of sensitivity and compassion displayed by others. I am immensely grateful for those who reached out and continue to do so, but can’t help being disappointed with messages that fail to acknowledge the dimensions of the terror, or noticeably try to “balance”, “contextualize”.

Don’t think people in Israel don’t see and hurt for the innocent civilians being killed in Gaza. Don’t think our hearts don’t break when we see children suffering. Don’t think we are happy about the IDF bombing Gaza in retaliation.

But don’t talk to us about this now. Don’t mourn the suffering in Gaza if you haven’t found it in your heart to express honest sadness about the barbaric murders and the kidnapping of Israelis, if you haven’t stated how revolting, inexcusable and beyond any justification this is; and if you haven’t listened to a Hamas leader insisting, just this week, they’d do the same over and over until Israel’s destruction. Don’t talk about the humanitarian situation in Gaza if you don’t equally speak up about the situation of the hostages, if you haven’t realized that 15+ years of Hamas rule and ideology are responsible for this humanitarian situation in the first place; and if you haven´t paid attention when another Hamas leader said just this week that they don’t feel responsible for their own civilian population. Don’t question the IDF’s adherence to international law if you haven’t understood that the IDF is fighting an opponent that doesn’t give a *** about these laws.

And when you DO talk to us, don’t say “your country”. Say “Israel”.

When you refer to Hamas’s assault, don’t label it an “action“. It was a blood-thirsty, savage terror attack – one of the most atrocious and barbarian in modern history.

When you ask how we are handling things, don’t call it “situation”. We are in the middle of an awful war which we surely did not want.

Don’t assume that Israelis are now consumed by hatred and anger, looking for revenge. None of my friends feels this way, none of the soldiers I personally know, and not I myself. But the hope for peace, for reconciliation, for neighborly existence and a bright future, this hope that was shared by so many of us and that, tragically, so many of the murdered were actively “fighting” for as peace activists, over years and decades of their lives – this hope has suffered a murderous blow.

How am I, you ask?

I am deeply troubled, yet looking for new reasons to hope.
And I trust to find them here, in Israel.

About the Author
German born Martina Lichtman is a freelance business consultant for cross-cultural marketing and communications. Previously, she held various positions in business development and marketing in the hospitality and the security printing industries. Martina is passionate about writing, traveling, and Israel.
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