Heralds of the war are seeping into Tel Aviv in the form of displaced families with virtually no belongings. Shabbat was spent sharing a long table decorated half of strangers, half friends and their families. Candles were lit as the new guest wiped the tears from her eyes, either from the beauty of finding a safe place to bring her family, or the sadness of leaving the danger of their home in Sderot only a few hours earlier. My exhaustion came in the form of an extremely long night the night before.
As the war continues to drag on- slowly, but surely my friends and acquaintances are being called up. One by one they are receiving the call to change into their uniforms and serve. Tsiki’s best friend was called up last week. “Where are you going” I naively asked him. “eh- near Hebron Sooz”. I heard the awkwardness in his voice. “Near Hebron Elad? Near Hebron as in around the area where Tsiki was killed Hebron??” “Eh- in the area.” As he avoided answering the question directly. It was Thursday night that I found out he is running the exact same checkpoint where Tsiki fell- And next week will sit in the same exact watchtower. My heart is framed right now in a concrete box. For me, a lot of my reality has become even wilder that my imagination.
I am fascinated to hear some people comment: “the war doesn’t affect me”. These are mostly foreigners that have no connection to the IDF or native Israelis among other things. If the notion that another 20 year-old soldier is being laid to rest with his mother and girlfriend looking on, or men going to fight in the week of their wedding day doesn’t “affect” you, I don’t know what can. As for me, I can’t help but take this war personally, and it kills me to know bereaved families are being created everyday. This hits me close to home, and right now is bouncing of the concrete box.
As I was getting my knees burnt at the beach yesterday, I saw two IDF soldiers peel their olive green uniforms off and throw them on their massive army rucksacks as they ran into the ocean. Army helicopters were flying south to north along the coastline and my friend commented. “it does not cease to fascinate me that we are at war, yet we still are able to drink our ice coffees and lie on the beach.”
She was right. We have our army for a reason, and I can’t wait for this all to simmer- because I don’t like hearing the sounds of helicopters when I can’t be sure where they are going or why.
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