Chaya Tal
Blogger, social activist, border crosser

The silver plate of war

No, I can’t imagine what war is like.

I can’t even feel it, here, some dozens of kilometers away from the front line, where soldiers show up only occasionally and even then they sit together with us, laughing, chatting and drinking black coffee. They are older than regular soldiers are and have better humour, and this is mainly the difference. They are here because their younger counterparts are in the South.
Their younger brothers are down there, at the desert’s edge, about to go into one of the most dangerous places on earth, a deadly strip full of disguised enemies who are prepared to fight them till death.
And the death comes indeed.
And we hear its sirens and hide.
And my brothers are just there, sitting in their green uniforms which I have been wearing now for about 2 years, breathing the humid air which turns from calm and refreshing in the early morning to hot and heavy even before noontime. They sleep between the dirty army vehicles, drink the water from that messy big van in the field, eat some tuna and join the assembly around their commander, listening to the last directives. And then they prepare themselves entering the tank or the Humvee…they turn on the motor……and go.


Well, this is actually what I was talking about.
I have not the slightest idea how they are about to carry out their mission in the field, those soldiers, these boys aged 19 or 21, who are damn trained to fight but have never seen war in their lives.
I’m not even enough in the South to hear the sirens, proclaiming death to us again and again, being caught by the Iron Dome or just crashing into a field or a house of someone. Its just been some 24 hours ago that such a rocket killed a Bedouin.

I have no idea what war is like. Until it reaches me, in my safe haven in Jerusalem or in that little settlement in Judea. I’ve just left the army, and they don’t seem planning to take me back.
And even then, so what?
I can’t believe I will ever have a little grasp of what war is really like.
I pray for its end, at its right time. I pray for success, and at the same time for as few horror as possible.
Then I go on with everyday life and here and then I’ll receive the updates from the IDF News Desk.
My brothers remain out there, in the shelters, in the firing zone.

They are the silver plate on which our life is being served.

About the Author
After moving to Germany from Russia, Chaya spent most of her teenage years with Jewish community involvement as counselor and coordinator for young Jewish adults in Germany. Chaya discovered tradition and languages on her own which has shaped her identity since early age. She made aliyah in 2011 and has since then worked as a translator, freelance journalist, media analyst and tour guide, while blogging in German for 4 years about Jewish life in Judea and Samaria. She is part of the "Roots" movement for understanding, nonviolence and transformation between Israelis and Palestinians.