Shabbat 40th: A War

Yesterday, on the second Shabbat of Sukkot, at 6:30 in the morning, we, the residents of central Israel, woke up to the unexpected sound of sirens. It took long minutes before we received some explanation in the media. We heard that there was a raid in the south.

I was concerned about the safety of a friend, Vivian  Silver, who lives in Be’eri, one of the kibbutzim in the south, so I texted her to see how she was. I was sure that our correspondence would be the regular ‘thinking of you’ kind of exchange, and was shocked by her reply. She wrote that there were wounded people in the kibbutz, that she was hiding, sitting on the floor in a locked bomb shelter, and that there were casualties in the neighboring kibbutz. She added that the sounds of shootings and screams were all around.

At that moment early on Shabbat morning, October 7th, one day after the 50th anniversary of Yom Kippur War, I realized that this was a calamity of a totally different scale. Vivian didn’t answer my following text, and she has not been seen on WhatsApp since yesterday before noon. I have been thinking about her ever since and praying for her safety.

As more and more news streamed in from the south, it has been impossible to breathe, and we have sat frozen the entire day. The attack by Hamas’ terrorists on so many communities in the south is, on the one hand, unfathomable, but on the other hand, this government and coalition have been so busy with the judicial overhaul and with appeasing the Jewish extremists that they neglected everything else. When violent extremists play with fire, torment Muslim and Christian people, incite against other religions, disobey the law, and disrespect the status quo, innocent people suffer.

Although there were plenty of warnings by top officers and consultants, our government has acted as if there are no consequences to their actions. We saw that most of the security energy was channeled towards the safety of the settlers in the West Bank. The ministers belittled the fighters in the army and the pilots in the air force who warned and warned. Moreover, they appointed unsuitable people to the most sensitive positions. These irresponsible and unsuitable people are Netanyahu’s playmates, and now we pay the price for his reckless conduct.

Tonight should have been the 40th Shabbat in our protest against the judicial overhaul. Last week when I wrote on my blog about the 39th Shabbat, someone responded that the protest has not worked so far. The problem is that whoever was supposed to listen to the huge protest ignored it. The result is a horrible tragedy, an unprecedented war, with the loss of many lives (eventually on both sides of the border) and a horrible damage to our security and our future.

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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