Israel is at war.
Yitzchak is relieved – between Syria, Hamas, and Iran, he’s been tracking the news and worried about who, what, when, where, and how we will have to fight. So now that we are busy with one of them, he’s relieved – one issue out of the way, and less worries that all three will explode at once. I understand him. Really, I do.
It doesn’t make me less nervous.
I will say this once, and I will say it again.
I. Hate. Wars.
I hate, and all of Israel hates, dead bodies. Israel, a country born in the wake of the Holocaust, especially hates dead Jewish bodies. Especially when the dead Jews are young and innocent. We will do all we can to avoid having to face dead young Jews. We will do all we can to prevent young Jews from dying. And that is why, we left early in Cast Lead, why we did not send in tanks in Defensive Shield, and why we waited so long to do so now, in Protective Edge. It is also part of the reason why we cannot cite the Second Lebanon War as a success.
Because Israel’s repulsion at the thought of dead young Jews – and the thought of causing their deaths – is just too much.
This is the reason we went into Gaza now. Because we understood that our repulsion is going to have to be ignored. Either the dead young Jews will be civilians, traumatizing families and communities, at unexpected times and in unexpected ways – like the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered, Hy”d – or the dead young Jews will be soldiers, fighting in battle, accomplishing something with their deaths, and fighting in an organized fashion for the rest of the country, for their younger siblings, for their cousins, for their communities, for their children.
And Israel prefers – everyone prefers – to die on the battlefield accomplishing something, than to risk dying for nothing, with the killers running loose, after being captured by terrorists.
So we sent soldiers in.
It doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t scared. It doesn’t mean we don’t understand the sacrifice.
Like Bennett said, if we had not done this now, there would be an Israeli 9/11. We prefer to fight and defeat. We do not want an Israeli 9/11. The American one could’ve been avoided. It was an avoidable tragedy, and those are the worst kind.
I am actually glad that we are getting so many sirens and that they have discovered so many tunnels. I am glad that they break humanitarian ceasefires and that they have outrageous demands. It means there is no chance of a ceasefire. Which means that finally, finally, we have a chance at security. The flip side of our sirens is that most of them don’t make the news. And even when they do, we don’t know how many were shot or where they landed – for the simple reason that we don’t want to aid Hamas in bettering their aim. But the more sirens our particular city gets, the higher the chance of us seeing this through to the end. So let them throw sirens, as long as we are all at home. We will find mattresses and sleep in the shelter if need be. As long as it’s not in vain, and we accomplish everything we went into Gaza for.
We are getting more and more used to the sirens. At the very beginning, it seemed that everyone but us and a few other cities/areas had not had sirens. (Not counting, of course, the very north of the country, which has had sporadic spillover from Syria for a while, but that Hamas can’t yet reach.) We knew our turn would come, it was just a question of when. We knew our ‘neighbor” (a city quite a bit away from us and everyone else) turn would come, too, and wondered about when. Both us and our neighbors’ turn came at the same time. Within a few seconds we were in shock, freaked out, and then calmed down and went to the shelter. I spent three and a half hours in flight-or-fight mode. The next morning, we had another siren. I freaked, Yitzchak freaked, we went downstairs to the shelter and were done.
Now we don’t freak. We just get up and go, racing against the clock. It’s kind of good that we’re not freaking out anymore. It’s also sad.
We don’t have one every day. But a day that has two sirens – and we’ve had two of those days so far, three if you count the first siren we had, when a minute after the first siren there was a second siren (I don’t usually count it though, because we were already in the shelter) – makes up for a day without a siren, when you’re just worrying, wondering, and waiting. And when you do the math, it comes out to a ratio of about a siren a day, maybe with one extra day in there with no siren to match.
P.S. – I am writing up a bunch of posts about Protective Edge and setting them to publish during the coming week.
P.P.S. – Anybody who would like to help families closer to Gaza – those who have between fifteen seconds and a minute, and suffer rocket attacks several times a day, can take a look at Janglo‘s list of things to do to help. There are also options for helping soldiers and helping the families of the reservists who were called up.