Ana Gutierrez
professional wanderer, freelance writer, dog lover.

While I was gone

I arrived in Israel by October 2020. I married an Israeli and we both decided that the best choice was to establish our marriage in Israel. By May 6, 2021, I was taking a flight home to chill for a bit, the Israeli bureaucracy was taking a toll on me, and I needed a break. Little did I know that 3 days after I landed in Peru, Hamas would decide to seriously attack Israel.

If you are a non-Jewish partner you might identify with the following scenarios. Need to open a freelancer account? Bring your Israeli, he/she will need to vouch for you. Need to open a bank account? Bring your Israeli for translation and help. Need to get health insurance? Most likely will have to pay extra because you are not Israeli. Need a driving license? Ask for a temporary ID and maybe bring an Israeli with you, so they can help with the process. Looking for a job? Make sure you already have a temporary resident status, otherwise, most companies won’t want to hire you because the law is unclear regarding the fact they DO NOT have to pay extra taxes for you. Have more scenarios? Tell me in the comments section. 

I uprooted my successful life and career in Peru to live in Israel. A country that not only gave me a husband, also an MA. As an MA student, I had a year free of worries, I would do as I pleased and really didn’t care much about fully understanding the culture because I knew I was going back home. Now that I am back as a wife, I needed to face the real Israel, and sometimes, it is really not that pretty. Thank God I have an amazing husband, with an amazing family, that are making the process much much much easier.

Anyway, May 6th, 2021, I left Israel, needed a break, some family love, some Peruvian food, and just to chill with my people. Monday 10th, I get a call from my husband letting me know there was an attack in Jerusalem, where we live, and he wanted me to hear it from him instead of the news. Needless to say, I started to panic. My husband’s life was in danger, and I do not negotiate with that.

Airlines were canceling flights left and right, and I went from feeling stuck in Israel, to feeling trapped in my own country. I needed to get back. It took me fighting with KLM, calling every single airline I could think of, plus consulting with consulates to know if I could transit in x or y country, to finally land in Israel last night.

It is still very hard for me to understand what is going on. I have cried a lot, for both sides, for Israel and for Palestine. I have (stupidly!) got into fights in Twitter because of the conflict, I have received supporting messages from people that barely know me asking me if me and my family are okay, I have also realized that most of my family truly don’t care that I live in Israel and that my husband’s life, and now mine, is in danger.

Overall, this trip made me realize that sure, Israel’s government is doing its best to tire me down so this non Jewish won’t stay in the country, but when rough times arrive, they will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to keep me safe, and for that, I am grateful, and I am staying. It took some rockets for me to realize that I am where I belong, a country that won’t think twice to protect its citizens. I am where I belong, next to the love of my life.

About the Author
Ana is a curious girl that after exploring Israel and pursuing an MA in TAU during 2017/18, also found her life partner in a museum in Jerusalem. In the middle of a pandemia, and a world crisis, she married her Jerusalemite lion and moved to Israel for good. She writes about her experiences as a wife, as a foreigner in the Holy Land and as a woman exploring life.
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