Yoni Zierler

Tired of being tired

I’m tired. Straight out exhausted.

I am tired of clipping my gun to my belt every morning before I leave for work. I am a tour guide who now spends most of his time planning trips and projects in an office, not an active soldier, policeman, or even a security guard. But work often takes me to the Old City, to historic sites near less-than-friendly neighborhoods — and even to regular city streets whose people and safety I have been forced to doubt.

I am tired of debating whether or not I can have a drink outside of my house, for fear that if something happens I will not be able to respond correctly. I am tired of wondering if I might need that drink when trouble strikes, because I don’t know if I am actually brave enough or calm enough to put myself in the line of fire. I am tired of hoping that I will hit my target if required.

I am tired of holy sites being turned into sites of conflict. Instead of being sacred places that unite all people, they have been used somehow to widen the gap. I am tired of debating how to fix this problem instead of simply praying together.

I am tired of receiving phone calls, text messages, and Facebook messages from family, friends, and campers asking me worriedly if I am alright. Don’t misunderstand me — your love is what gives me strength to get up after days like yesterday. I’m just tired of you having to worry about me.

I am tired of having to take sides. Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim, right-wing, left-wing, one-state, and two-state. Different opinions make the world a more interesting place, and challenging each other forces us to reevaluate and make sure that we are acting appropriately. I am tired of being placed in a mime’s box — self created, invisible boundaries of silence that we don’t dare cross.

I am tired of not doing more to understand or help “the other side of the conflict.” (I am also tired of knowing that writing a line like this generally means that the comments at the bottom of this blog will be filled with generalizations and/or hate speech against myself and others).

I am tired of “peace” being a dirty word. Same with “religious,” “settler,” and “refugee.”

I am tired of feeling numb and moving on with my day after a terror attack as if nothing happened. Until the moment when I realize that I am somehow — in identity, through a friend, or quite simply — connected to one of the victims. Then I feel absolutely drained.

I am tired of not knowing what to write after those innocent people are brutally murdered. Not a blog, not a Facebook post, not a tweet. My emotions get lost in the wave of grief felt across the world, and I feel like my words are wasted; useless among the barrage of columns and articles that follow.

I am tired of not having answers, or at least having a nice way of wrapping up a post like this. Words of hope, happiness, and inspiration have been eluding me over the past few months.

But I feel like I need to try.

Love and kindness. Peace and serenity. Shabbat shalom.

About the Author
Yoni Zierler is the chief tour guide and Director of “Discover," the tourism department of StandWithUs – an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Yoni immigrated to Israel for his last year of high-school, and subsequently served (with excellence) in the IDF. A lover of history, books, and music, Yoni is happily married to Yochi and the proud father of Golan Noam and Klil Eden.