Extraordinary events Israel

Time to Talk

I haven’t been completely quiet about recent events on the border between Israel and Gaza. On Facebook, I shared several opinions and articles I agreed with. I even started making my posts public. It’s time people knew the truth; it’s important, because ignorant people are making things worse.

This British Jew changed his mind. One of the things that helped him was when he realised, “Over 80 percent of the people who were killed while trying to breach the border were members of terrorist organisations whose direct aim is to bring death and suffering into Israel.”

This Israeli was there, at the border. “The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence.”

This is what the media is doing. “The reports were pretty much all in line, suggesting that peaceful protesters were fired on by bloodthirsty Israeli troops.”

I posted two statements that were mine:

  • I think it must be very hard for anyone living in the UK (amongst other countries) not to be influenced by the images and voices on the TV. That’s why I post the other side sometimes, although I don’t know if anyone listens to it.
  • The people who condemn Israel for defending itself in the only way possible are perpetuating these awful scenes. A strategy that works will be repeated.

I used to think we could ignore people whose opinions are based on lies. But we can’t, because those opinions create the facts.

Here’s another fact that people don’t realise. As I go about my ordinary life in Jerusalem, where I live, or in other parts of the country, I see Arabs – in the streets, in cafés, in hospitals, on public transport, everywhere. Last week I attended my son’s graduation ceremony at Israel’s Open University. Many of the graduates and families were Israeli Arabs. There is more to life than politics.

Books Israel

Exploring my Inner World

These are the comments that halted me in my perusal of the Internet this morning and made me decide to pour out part of my inner world. Sorry if it makes a stain on your day.

Rosalind Adam said,

…writing helps us cope with our ‘inside world’ in a therapeutic way. It allows us to explore our innermost feelings, fears hopes etc, in a safe environment, safe because we can stop writing at any time we want.

Jo Carroll replied,

Sometimes internal and external worlds blend, like knitting, and writing can help with the unravelling.

Some time ago, readers of my blog asked me to write about every day life in Israel – about ordinary life that doesn’t make its way to your newspapers. I created a new category and called it, “Everyday life in Israel.” I had no intention of ever writing about politics or to take sides in any conflict. There are plenty of blogs that do that. They are written by people who are much more knowledgeable than I and hold much stronger views.

Me and Jerusalem
Me and Jerusalem

That said, the very fact that I live here, and chose to live here, says something about my opinions. I’m always amazed at the surprise shown in the media at the fact that general opinion in Israel is so much at odds with general opinion around the world. The reasons for that are clear to me.

We’re fighting for survival. Ever since the State of Israel was created in 1948, we have fought those trying to destroy us. We continue to do that now no less than previously. Yes, the means we have to protect ourselves have increased over the years, but so have those of all the other sides. I realise the rest of the world doesn’t see this as a fight for survival, but we who live here do, and that makes us think in a different way.

And we know the media lies. We have husbands and sons who serve in the army, who risk their lives to protect us, who risk their lives in an attempt to protect the lives of the citizens caught up in the place – Gaza – that has become such a mess. Clearly the thoughts and opinions coming from this knowledge will be different from those who believe those reports in the media.

So what is life like in a time of war/conflict? I can’t tell you what it’s like for those living in the south of the country where there are constant rocket attacks. I can’t tell you what it’s like for people who have to carry sleeping babies out to relative safety in fifteen seconds, although I do remember a previous war when we did have babies. I can’t tell you what it’s like to lose a son or husband or other family member. I can only tell you what it’s like for me, in one of the safest parts of the country.

I went to folk dancing twice this week in two different places and run by two different people. In the first, we danced to the usual songs but the atmosphere was not as usual. During a break, I sat with a group of people and the conversation was all about the situation. Did we know about the tunnels? How much did we know? Did we know about the mega-attack planned for the eve of the New Year holiday? And someone mentioned something I remember, too. During the ’80s, people who lived in Ashkelon often used to visit nearby Gaza City. They especially liked to buy the furniture sold there. I remember going there too, once, along with friends who lived in Ashkelon. No one felt afraid of going there. Times change.

At the other folk dancing group, the instructor managed to create a lighter mood. I welcomed those few hours when my mind didn’t dwell so much on all this.

Wars and conflicts have changed for me over the years. In the past, we watched the news in the evenings and went to work during the day, where we naturally discussed what was happening but otherwise got on with work.

Now I’m at home, and now there’s social media. I see a lot more of what’s being said around the world and a lot of what I see makes me sad. I’ve often been upset by being misunderstood (which happens often) and I’m similarly upset when my country is misunderstood.

I’ve never written a story that involves this conflict. My romance, Neither Here Nor There, doesn’t mention it. I’ve always thought I wanted to keep away from it, but now I’m not so sure. Anyway, I’ve exposed a bit of my inner world here. It’s not everyday life in Israel, but everyday life in Israel in times of war.

There’s plenty more that I could say and probably some that I wouldn’t say. I’m not about to give out my phone number, for instance, or talk about those closest to me. If you want to ask anything, please do. If you want to pick a fight with me, please don’t. This is not the place for it. You can write your own blog post. You can comment elsewhere. Attacks here will be deleted.