It’s been almost 40 years since I first heard the classic Israeli song of peace and hope, Yihiye Tov יהיה טוב, written by Yonaton Geffen and put to music and performed by David Broza. It was the mid 1980s at Camp Tel Yehuda in upstate New York and since then I must have heard this song hundreds of times – from the recordings and CDs I own, to hearing Broza perform it live at concerts in Tel Aviv, fundraising and pro-Israel events in the States, and even at my local JCC on Long Island. But never – ever – could I have imagined the words of this song hitting closer to home or being more meaningful than they are today.
אני מביט מהחלון
וזה עושה לי די עצוב
I look out the window and it makes me very sad…
As I sit in my apartment in Ashkelon, unable to sleep, looking out the window at the Israeli Navy ships heading south toward Gaza, it does indeed make me sad. I am tremendously sad and heartbroken for all the families that lost loved ones in the horrendous terrorist attack of October 7. I am tremendously sad watching the blatant antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment demonstrated on college campuses, in cities throughout the world and online. And I am also sad for those Palestinians who want nothing to do with the murderous terrorist rule of Hamas who has brought nothing but pain, misery and suffering upon them. I am sad that there is not a moderate, realistic Arab or Palestinian leader that can shepherd their people away from the dead-end ideology that Israel will cease to exist and that the Jews will be driven into the sea, and toward a vision of acceptance of the Jewish state and a realization of a peaceful Palestinian state, side by side with Israel. Feeling sad seems like the only correct emotion these days.
ילדים לובשים כנפיים
ועפים אל הצבא
Children wear wings and fly off to the army…
Fulfilling what he saw as his obligation to help defend the Jewish people and the State of Israel, following graduation from college, our son made aliyah to serve in the IDF as a lone soldier. He was accepted to the paratrooper brigade and proudly wears his hard-earned wings of his unit on his uniform. For decades as I heard this song, it never dawned on me that it would be my child that would fly off to the army and wear those wings Broza sings of, yet here we are. With tremendous pride for what he and his unit miraculously accomplished on October 7 and the days that followed, we are likewise filled with absolute trepidation about what may lie ahead.
מתי נראה את הסוף
When will we see the end?
When will we see the end of the questioning of Israel’s right to exist, safely within her own borders? And when will we see the end of the questioning of Israel’s right to defend herself and root out those that seek nothing more than her destruction? And when will we see the return of the more than 220 men, women, children, the elderly and the sick savagely taken hostage by Hamas and when will we see the end of the world’s complete and total silence on this issue and failure to unequivocally demand the release of these innocent hostages?
In all the years of hearing this song, I never imagined — not in a dream, but in my worst nightmare — that I would hear David Broza sing and dedicate this song to Omer Neutra, the son of our dear friends, kidnapped and being held hostage by Hamas. Broza travels the country singing for and lifting the spirits of Israeli soldiers and citizens at dozens and dozens of impromptu concerts during these troubling times. At the kibbutz where Omer lived during the beginning months of his IDF service, Broza performed one such concert. While I have always been happy to hear him sing, this is one version I would have been completely fine had it never had to have been sung.
אני מביט מהחלון
ויהיה טוב יהיה טוב, כן
I look out my window, maybe will come… a new day.
And all will be good, yes, all will be good…
In the end, this is a song of peace and hope and despite all that has happened and may happen there is eternal optimism here in Israel. This optimism is born from the Israelis belief in the righteousness of their cause, but also out of necessity as Golda Meir famously said to then Senator Joseph Biden in 1973, “We have a secret weapon…we have nowhere else to go.”
It’s now nearly morning, and as I continue to look out my window and now hear the booms of artillery from Gaza, it is hard to remain optimistic. The last three weeks have been very dark and painful for Israel and all who support her, and the next several weeks and months will likely prove to be painful as well. But in the end, there is the belief and hope and prayer that all will be good. There is no other choice.