The Routine of War

10 Jul

We have returned to the routine of war. That’s how the past two days have felt.

Everything about this latest war is familiar: the Homefront Command’s instructions on how to act when a siren goes off in our town, the news broadcasters’ urgent tones, the reports of hits and misses in Israel, the body count in Gaza, the patriotism, the generosity among strangers, the “us vs. them” rhetoric.

This routine of ours, which we have lived several times over in recent years, is anything but routine. It’s terrifying, awful, depressing, aggravating. With rockets landing in the Jerusalem area and south of Haifa, much of our populace is faced with life-threatening dilemmas every minute. What to do with the kids? It’s summer vacation; in the South camps and other programs have been cancelled. If we’re lucky enough to have a nursery or camp with a shelter (as do my children, thankfully), we debate whether we should take them at all. Should we take them to the park after camp, should we risk it? Where is the closest shelter? What do we do if the sirens go off at night?

As I set up our safe room with a portable crib and mattresses as well as diapers, snacks and other essentials, I am infinitely grateful that I am far from the violence. I am grateful for the relatively large size of this room, which is in our apartment and not communal, so I don’t have to see our neighbors in pyjamas in the middle of the night. I am grateful that our lives have continued as normal, and that Israeli ingenuity has created the Iron Dome system to intercept rockets. This unique and innovative system is a true miracle, having minimized damage and injury immensely during the last few wars with Gaza.

In the mainstream Israeli media, we hear mostly about hits on us, which is essential and logical. Yet, we hear little more than sterile numbers about the immense damage and suffering on the Palestinian side.  Israel always claims it doesn’t want to harm civilians, and I believe this intention is sincere, but it inevitably happens because of the nature of Hamas warfare.  Moreover, our leaders justify this widespread destruction, claiming the attacks weaken the Hamas and destroy their ability to harm us.

Yet, here we are again. We repeat this war routine over and over, air strikes on our side, and rockets from theirs. Death and damage. Human suffering on both sides.  Each successive war has not changed the situation.

I wish our leaders would realize that when war becomes routine, our strategy needs to change. We Israelis cannot continue living like this. By we, I refer especially to residents of the Gaza border region and the South, who have lived from siren to siren for nearly 15 years. We can’t afford to raise another generation in bomb shelters.

In Gaza, air strokes have already killed dozens of Palestinians, including civilians and children.  I can’t start to understand the immense suffering they endure.

Many Israelis think that Palestinians value death over life, while we as Israelis value life. Thus, according to their reasoning, Palestinians drag themselves into these wars, and it’s their fault. Though there is some truth in this, exemplified by widespread incitement against Israel and the culture of suicide bombings among Palestinians, I refuse to believe that most Palestinians don’t long for quiet and security, like everyone else in this world.

Israel’s Channel 1 News showed this (serious) excerpt last night from a Palestinian satire show: [loose translation from the translated Arabic to Hebrew]: “We tried the way of peace, and that didn’t succeed… We tried resistance, and that didn’t succeed….there is a nation here that wants to live, and there are leaders who must find a solution – on both sides.”

Enough said. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. This war routine is not sustainable. We need a better, more creative solution.

Let’s hope that Bibi, his ministers and coalition members will prove their worth and invest in the future of this country. Let them break the cycle of violence for good.








One Response to “The Routine of War”

  1. Joyce Takefman July 10, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    How are things today?

    I “liked and shared your post, but I think my settings are screwed up, because it only shows up on my home page….I would have to change my settings from family to public, I think.

    Happy anniversary!! Is Aharon coming home tonight? xxxMom

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