Helen Joyce

Today’s Letter from Israel

If I tell you I am suffering, enraged and hopeful all at once, does that sound contradictory? Maybe. But it’s a fact. Let me explain. Thunderous noise fills the sky overhead at this moment. It is from overflying Israeli air force jets. I sit on my balcony overlooking the Mediterranean and try to decide. Are they flying north? Lebanon and Syria are just a few miles in that direction. Or South towards Gaza? Hard to determine the direction of sound.

How am I suffering? I sit in relative safety here. I have a safe room with strong concrete walls, a concrete window shutter and steel safety door. My children are too old to be conscripted. My grandchildren mainly too young. But I am suffering alongside everyone else. We are mourning; shocked, outraged and terrified by this unprecedented breach of our security and this horrendous grief. I am in pain because the savagery and inhumanity of our enemies has brought home an inconvenient truth. Never again has turned into not again.

Why am I enraged? I am enraged at the double standards of the world’s ‘respected’ media outlets which demand that we should parade our beheaded babies and defiled bodies for ‘verification of our claims’. Yet the same media simultaneously publish false headlines about an ‘Israeli strike on Gazan hospital. Hundreds of dead’. Lies, all lies, but apparently publish and be damned – let’s take the word of the Gazan Ministry of Health aka Hamas and not ask for verification. And once the lie is exposed and the media retracts? The damage to Israel’s credibility is done.

I am enraged at the demonstrations in London, New York and other cities around the world with crowds chanting ‘gas the Jews’. How is this possible? How is this allowed? Today, eighty years after my grandparents and so many other members of my wider family were gassed because they were Jews. Shameful.

I am enraged because every Israeli citizen must now live in fear of the war to come which will claim more lives. Beautiful young, brave lives. Again. A generation who must fight for our collective survival. Again.

I am enraged because our babies must stifle their cries of fear as they hear sirens wailing and explosions overhead – even if they are the protective explosions of Iron Dome interceptors blowing up incoming rockets from Gaza. Are these youngsters doomed to be the next generation of reluctant heroes?

I am enraged because my fellow Jews around the world are facing a massive uptick in anti-Semitic incidents and attacks. Sickening. Unacceptable.

And yet…I am hopeful. Why? I believe with perfect faith that we will overcome this new crisis in our history as we have overcome every other. Yes, the cost is terrible, but we will survive and thrive again. It was ever thus. It says in the Passover Haggadah ‘In every generation they arise to destroy us, but God saves us from their hands’. He has and He will.

I am hopeful because today, as some of us can only stand in line to donate rather than spill our blood, I see the unity and resolve of our people. Young and old. Those from across the political and religious spectrum. United. As we must be and must remain after this war is over. May He who makes peace on high, make peace for us here down on earth.

About the Author
Helen is the author of award-winning Good for a Single Journey, a four generational family saga based on a true story, published by Amsterdam Publishers in 2023. Born in London to Jewish refugees from Hitler, Helen studied Psychology at University College London and went on to specialise in clinical research and relationship counselling. She taught Psychology in Immanuel College, Bushey where she was Head of Sixth Form (Grades 12 and 13). Helen retired to Israel in 2013.
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