Lisa Starr

What not to wear to attend a war

Photo source my daughter Rachel Brink pictured with me. Permission granted to publish.
What not to wear when caught outside during a siren and other fashion tips for wartime.
You know what it’s like to have a reoccuring nightmare? Today marked the 4th day of that same, terrifying dream. The only difference is that the nightmares begin when I wake up. Sleep is a blessed escape.
Thank you to the friends from around the world who have checked in and commented on my posts. We are as safe as we can be under the circumstances. I blessedly have both Rachel and Sam at home but so many of my friends have sons and daughters on Israel’s borders. In Israel they are all our children. The heart-stopping anxiety is equally crippling for all.
Amazingly for me, I have managed to largely stay away from Facebook, Instagram and the news. There is a limit to how much abuse my soul can take. However, despite my reluctance not to look at the devastating car wreck that is Israel today, I can’t escape the horrors.
Friends who aren’t aware of how desperately I’m trying to dodge the gut-wrenching details will unwittingly share far more than I was prepared for.
I’ll hear of the friend whose soldier son is on a kibbutz where he’s tasked with clearing bodies and the horrors of decapitated babies. I’ll catch a glimpse of a friend’s plea to locate her missing brother and I send her a message of support….only to wake to the news that he was found murdered in his home. I try so hard to avoid seeing the photographs of victims and lost soldiers as I know their faces will be forever etched on my fragile heart. However, despite my best efforts, I can’t escape.
I will never be able to unsee the sight of 260 body bags being loaded into a truck. I will forever be haunted by the faces of the couple who quickly hid their 10-month-old twins in the safe room before they were gunned down. Their babies were left alone for 14 hours before their dead parents were discovered in the room alongside theirs. You just can’t live here and not know this. We absorb this shared pain as a nation.
Last night Rachel received the devastating news that her flatmate from her army days was murdered at the music festival. The pain of holding your child as she wails for a lost friend is indescribable. And I’d know as this isn’t the first time I’ve had to go through this.
We’d known Zlatta was missing but only last night did we hear her body had been identified. The fact that I felt relief to hear she’d most likely died immediately speaks volumes. The alternative was that she would have been raped alongside her dead friends as so many others were and then taken hostage in Gaza.
These are the savage animals that people are marching to support on the streets of New York, London, Sydney and around the world. These are the ISIS-style murderers that the South African government applauds. This brutality is supported entirely by international funding.
Amazingly, amidst more pain than I thought it possible for our tiny nation to bear, there is beauty and a sense of wonder too. The resilience of the Israeli spirit is unparalleled.
The entire country has been galvanised to take action. Industrial and home kitchens are supplying soldiers, the wounded, and displaced families with home-cooked food. Donation centres have opened up in every city manned by volunteers of all ages, and the amount of goods donated by everyday Israeli citizens is staggering.
In New York an anonymous ultra-Orthodox man paid close to $400,000 to cover the cost of flying over 200 Israeli soldiers home. Yes, ELAL planes are packed to capacity with airline crew giving up their seats for Israelis desperate to return, and fight for our survival. You’d think they’d be grateful to be away at a time like this when it’s the complete opposite.
The sense of wonder at all that is Israel continues. Naftali Bennett, who until not very long ago was Israel’s Prime Minister, showed up for reserve duty in his army uniform. People have vacated their homes and gone to stay with their parents, in order to allow entire families from the south to find a safe haven. In Israel strangers are merely family members you haven’t yet met.
Wanting to know about the spontaneous selfie and how I acquired the what-not-to-wear-in-wartime knowledge?
My daughter Rachel and I were dropping off donations at a soup kitchen this afternoon when the siren sounded just as we pulled in. We both hit the ground and lay clutching our heads for precious seconds before we noticed the guards running towards a nearby building which was clearly where the shelter was housed. We left the car with the keys in the ignition and our handbags on the front seat. Survival is all you think of.
Lesson learned to only wear beige when heading out under rocket fire….I’m sure it hides the mud marks better.
Stay safe, friends.
About the Author
Lisa is a not-so-new South African olah who manages, for the most part, to see the bright side to life in Israel. Always happy to inspire, inform, share, and entertain, she's easy to track down hanging about her 'Israel 101' Facebook group. Consider this an open invitation to meet up there.
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