Day 13 of the conflict and I am exhausted. The siren wails again and my heart skips a beat. I quickly usher my four young children into the safe room. They run in. I close the window and close the door. We are sealed in. They are quiet. Not even the dog moves. Then boom boom. The latest rocket has been intercepted. My children sit close to me on the floor. After a few minutes they ask if they can leave the room. I relent. I want to keep them there all day, I wan to keep them safe. I know doing this is not good for them or for me. On the one hand, I want to guard them against evil, against the outside world. On the other, this would be creating even greater fear and resentment. The last thing I want. I am torn between the love of my children, self preservation and my ideals. I came to Israel nineteen years ago shortly after the signing of Oslo. The country was full of hope. Peace will be achieved in our lifetime was uttered by everyone. Nineteen years later, we are still waiting. We are still hoping. I am a Zionist but I also believe in a two-state solution. I believe the Palestinians deserve a home to live in peace just as we do. I have been involved in interfaith and interreligious dialogue for peace on the ground and in academic circles.
I believe peace is possible. Maybe, I am naïve or perhaps I am a woman who loves this land and wants to live here. I am a mother who wants her children to thrive and to know that there is more to life than hatred. However, the world has gone mad. How do I explain to my children that the world doesn’t seem to care? The world condemns Israel for defending itself from attack after attack. Hamas disregards the population they are supposed to be representing and protecting.
Protests abound against Israel and rallies for Hamas? Israel safeguards its population, sends medical aid, food and other needed supplies into Gaza, and provides electricity and other services. Yet, Israel is condemned. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I still believe in peace, I still want to coexist with Palestinians, I still cherish my ideals. And the siren wails…