Andrea Samuels
Andrea Samuels

The silent ones

People gather at Marble Arch in central London, ahead of a march in solidarity with the people of Palestine amid the ongoing conflict with Israel. Picture date: Saturday May 15, 2021. (Via Jewish News/Press Association)
Anti Israel protesters march in London

Here in Israel, we have had to live with rockets being fired indiscriminately at us for days on end.

I’m up in the middle of the night, writing this now, as I was woken by a boom around 45 minutes ago.

Fortunately, the siren didn’t go off where I live so I could listen from the comfort of my bed.

Others here in Israel aren’t so ‘lucky’. They are running in and out of shelters.

Some have no shelters at all and are being forced to sit with their kids in stairwells, waiting until it’s safe to return to their beds.

Everyone here is dancing to the morbid tune of terror.

Like me, many have also had to say goodbye to their children who are serving in combat units of the IDF.

We don’t know when they’ll be coming home again.

All we can do is wait, pray and stay glued to the news channels in the hope of gleaning some useful piece of information or other.

Pray for that phone call telling us they’re safe.

That’s it.

That’s all we’ve got at the moment.

Many of you reading this might think why?

Why did I and others like me choose to come and live here in Israel.

Why, when this cycle of violence recurs every few years?

Why, when doing so will, in all likelihood, result in our children having to serve in the IDF, literally putting themselves in harm’s way?

Wouldn’t it be better and safer to live in a place which isn’t surrounded by enemies who want us all dead, some might muse.

London, for example…a civilised city.

A city where, yesterday, over a hundred thousand people marched through the streets, some wearing t-shirts with pictures of Saddam Hussein, chanting “Khayber Khayber Ya Yehud jaish Mohammad Sauf Ya’ud” (“Khayber Khaybar oh Jews, Mohammad’s army is returning”).

Others, marching along beside them, chanting ‘free Palestine’ and other similar slogans.

They may not have been wearing such openly provocative clothing, but the sentiment was the same. It was not one of support for a country which has sustained days of continuous rocket fire into its towns and cities by a terror group, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

Quite the reverse.

It’s hard to fathom.

One of the most terrifying things about that march through London yesterday is the fact that when it ended, everyone returned to their ordinary lives and jobs.

They blended back into society.

Had I not made aliyah with my family 5 years ago, I could have found myself working alongside one of those who went along to that march yesterday.

Worse still, I could have found myself working alongside someone who remained silent as Israel came under fire, whilst pretending to be my friend.

Yes, it’s tough living in Israel right now, but I know where I’d rather be.

About the Author
I’m a British lawyer from Manchester. I made aliyah in 2016 and now live in Netanya with my husband, 3 children and 3 dogs. As I wasn’t able to pursue my legal career here in Israel, I started a small business editing English language papers for academics. I also write short stories or ‘blogs’ about the trials and tribulations of my new life.
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