Toby L.W. Klein


As the conflict has waged on, I’ve often been asked if I’m scared. I admit that I am. Friends and colleagues alike ask me to weigh in on whether or nor I fear Israel losing. I admit that I don’t. And when asked what absolutely terrifies me about my twin brother flying into our Homeland parallel to the Kasam rockets, I admit the truth; silence.

It’s not the barrage of noises that scares me most. The sirens and the alerts from the app Tzevah Adom (Red Alert) don’t even make me flinch. The sound of an Iron Dome missile intercepting one meant to kill our people doesn’t cause me to lose sleep. But the silence does.

Think back to any social gathering. A wedding, bar mitzvah/communion or even a simple evening with friends. One can typically be sure two things exist in that setting: food and chatter. It’ll never be silent and you’ll never be without food and drink. It’s a social custom, perfected by Jewish and Italian mothers alike. Think to the one social gathering in which one of these weren’t present. Chances are, if you can imagine anything at all, you’re imagining Yom Kippur or a funeral. Days of mourning. Days in which food doesn’t enter our mouths and words don’t dare cross our lips. We’re silent, inside and out.

When the hours turned into days we hadn’t heard from the three kidnapped teens, we became silent. Our communities were at a loss for words, much like when our jaws dropped as words were replaced with a bitter taste from the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir. Silence in the Jewish community has long been the universal sign for “something isn’t right”.

And when life continues and we stop talking about the three teens, I grow silent once more. When multiple daylight hours pass without the sound of a rocket flying, I grow silent. Hamas’ silence never means they’re finished, but rather that they’re waiting to start again. Israel knows how to defend itself against Hamas. It’s done so multiple times and I’m confident it’ll do so again until they no longer need to. Rockets, as unfortunate as it may be, are things Israel can deal with.

The silence and the uncertainty are not.

About the Author
Toby Klein is a current senior residing in the suburbs of Chicago. She's a senior fellow in Write On For Israel (Chicago) Cohort 10.
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