A Hamptonite in Tel Aviv, Israel Wonders, What Horror Will Be Next?
Editor’s note: The author’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
Everyone who comes to Israel, comes here knowing the risks. But we also come knowing that the Israeli army is the best. When an SOS situation goes down, you want an Israeli around, so in all my years living between New York, Southampton and Tel Aviv, I never felt truly scared.
I found myself here for all the rocket fire episodes in the last eight years and they were certainly unpleasant. Imagine telling your kids that for the next few days you will all be sleeping in a tiny bomb shelter, or worse yet if you are not lucky enough to have one in your home, waking them in the middle of the night to take them to safety in a stairwell, away from windows. In all cases, however, I felt Israel will crush the enemy and life will go back to “normal.”
Now I find myself for first time scared — not that Israel won’t win, of course it will win — but how many more people will be kidnapped, tortured, raped and beaten? And that doesn’t touch the invisible toll of psychological trauma. And what is the future of the world at large? Anyone who thinks this is just an Israeli problem didn’t see the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with their own eyes and certainly didn’t hear Hamas chanting last weekend for the “death to Israel, death to America” as they’re raping and parading around tortured, bleeding bodies.
In the meantime, I find myself here with my family unable to stop myself from crying all day long. My 2-year-old has started hugging me long and tight. We all know something unfathomable is going on.
We are all glued to our phones and the TV getting constant updates of women who were kidnapped and raped — often by 16- and 17-year-old boys — while Hamas has their parents on the phone to hear their screams. Parents murdered in front of their children as Hamas laughs and dances. Women’s naked bodies paraded out in crowds after they were dragged into Gaza with blood gushing from between their legs. Children screaming “Mommy mommy” as they are beaten to death.
We are here sad and scared. We all know people called back to fight. We all know people — if not directly, via one degree of separation — who have been murdered, kidnapped or tortured.
How can my angelic children have to grow up in such a cruel and inhumane world? How can people all around the world dance and demonstrate in celebration?
Do these people not remember 2005 when Israel took out all Israelis from Gaza and handed it to the Palestinians with the hopes that they would build a state and govern themselves in peace? Instead they built a tower of terror funded by Iran.
I’m often asked what the atmosphere is like for us in Tel Aviv. I’m old enough to remember 9/11 as if it was yesterday — and it feels exactly like the day after 9/11. A few people are out buying essentials, but most everyone is silent as they do so.
How could it be any different? Every time I look at my phone, I see something new and horrific. I just looked down in between typing this story and my friend — a flight attendant for the Israeli airline El Al — wrote “we just landed in Israel and four soldiers were waiting to come in to tell parents that their sons were kidnapped and taken to Gaza.”
Israel’s enemies are everyone’s enemies. I pray the world wakes up and these horrific attacks are not in vain.
Am Yisrael Chai.