What the Hell Just Happened #Israel
It’s 2 a.m. on the darkest day in Israel I’ve lived through in the 20 years I’ve been here. None of us know how to process the horrific information flooding our feeds. In the spring of 2014, the entire country held its breath and prayed for 3 weeks when 3 teenage boys, Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali were kidnapped from a bus stop. When we found out the boys were killed, the entire country mourned together in solidarity, as pictures of their beautiful faces flooded the country on bumper stickers and posters.
How the HELL are we supposed to process that in one day, thousands of our brothers and sisters lived and died a day of nightmare horrors? How are we supposed to understand what it means that the official death toll from the massive attack/massacre/pogrom from Hamas is over 300, the injured over 1500, and the kidnapped approaching 200?! How are we supposed to even move out of a paralyzed state of shock and horror as we see our feeds FILLED with gorgeous faces and desperate pleas for any information people may have about loved ones?
Last week the entire country celebrated the holiday of Sukkot, and the people of our nation spent the week outdoors, exploring and enjoying our land.
We lit candles on Friday to usher in Shabbat together with the holiday that ends this holiday season, Simchat Torah, a day of song, dance, and joy. We enjoyed our evening of celebration and went to sleep, only to wake up a few hours later to the unmistakable sounds of war.
At 7 a.m. the shaking and booms began, at 8 a.m. the planes began and at 9 a.m. the first siren sounded out, signaling incoming rockets. The morning was spent going in and out of the safe room, and once the sirens stopped, the afternoon was spent trying to find information. Being in a religious neighborhood, most of us were off our phones for Shabbat until nighttime, but we all knew someone who heard something, and information started to trickle in that the news from the south was bad. Then we heard more information and knew it was really bad. Then we saw our kids’ friends and our friends’ kids come outside in their army uniforms, say goodbye to their parents and/or wives, and get into cars that zoomed onto the quiet streets to gather soldiers.
Then we heard more information and began to understand that we were facing a completely unknown monster, and as the sun began to set we braced ourselves for what we were about to see when we turned on our phones, but nothing could have prepared us for the stories we were about to start seeing. Nothing.
This is a still-unfolding horror story that has no obvious path forward. This is uncharted territory, and we can barely process the enormities of today’s tragedy as more updates unfold, and the sky above is still filled with booms and planes.
I don’t know what the hell happened today on the border. I don’t know how the scenario played out among those who are tasked with keeping us safe, and I don’t know why it played out in what appears to be a failure on a scale not seen since the Yom Kippur War, fifty years ago today, and possibly even worse. I do know that whatever we’ve just been launched into is going to mark this generation. Today is a day that will impact our country and the region for many years to come, maybe decades. There are ISIS-level barbaric videos that we can’t keep out of the feeds of our teenagers. As much as we want to protect them, their reality is the monster they’re seeing, and that monster threatens every single family in this land.
These are dark days, but we will pull through as a nation as we always do. The mobilization of citizens launching a variety of initiatives to help everyone coming from the south or heading to the south is what this country is made of, and groups are forming everywhere as the entire country prepares to support our people on the front lines however possible. Our hearts are with those who’ve suffered unspeakable pain today, and the entire nation is reeling.
I have no more words right now.
🇮🇱 עם ישראל חי - The Nation of Israel Lives 🇮🇱