By Noam Harari, Community Shlicha
Editor’s note: The following article represents Noam’s perspectives and feelings as of the writing of this article. Since that day, things are changing constantly. Still, her feelings about the situation represent the viewpoint of an Israeli Shlicha living in Nashville, Tennessee, far from her family and friends, and her desire to see an end to antisemitic hate transcends this particular conflict.
Given the state of current events, I wanted to take a moment and share some thoughts:
Finally, after year and a half of dealing with covid, people started to return to life again.
Businesses opened, people hugged and saw their family again and began celebrating!
But not anymore. Right now, businesses are burning down, people are scared for thei families and can’t go out of their house, celebrations are being postponed again.
In the past weeks Hamas has shot more than 3000 rockets over Israel. My family lives mostly in Modiin, a city in the center of Israel, but they are all ok. I talk to them every day. Even my grandparents made it to the shelter on time.
For me, it’s been very stressful not to be there with my family and friends. My sister is an officer and two of my cousins, who are brothers, are soldiers in the IDF. I have a very good friend who is pregnant and it is so hard for her to think about her baby being born to a world like this. My parents are still working in their store try to continue making a living.
I see from afar my country is on fire. Its crushing my heart and soul. Man, woman and children are scared for their lives from rockets and scary incidents that are happening on land.
It brings me back to 2014. I was 20 and serving the IDF and we had six weeks of war in Israel. I had to take a bus and train to my base and every day I had to pray that the siren won’t catch me on my way. I do not wish anyone to hear the sound of a rocket. It’s one of the most traumatic things I have experienced in my life.
Some kids in the south of Israel, for example in Sderot, actually have their bedroom in the Safe Room/Shelter, as this is something that is part of their daily life. It makes sense to not wake up each time the sirens sound, as they only have 15 seconds to get to safety. Unfortunately, those kids usually develop post-traumatic stress that stays with them for years. I was in basic training near Gaza and only experienced the Tzeva Adom Alert (the special siren in the south) for a few months and yet, it made me flinch every time I heard a loudspeaker announcement after that.
In addition to all of this, there have been many hateful messages, comments, photos, videos and articles on social media and news platforms. It is hard to explain how badly it hurts to see the world express so much hate and anger at your home. I’m scared to speak Hebrew in the street; I can’t go to sleep because I worry about my friends and family and I just get upset every time there is a another inaccurate post on social media.
What is my message?
This is a hard topic! Its complicated, sensitive and difficult and I truly understand. But I think we have an important role here. Not to be afraid to ask difficult questions and to talk about it. It is only with, “people to people,” conversation that we can try to stop this hate.
So, please feel free to reach out. I promise to try to answer all your important questions and even support you in these difficult times.
Wishing everyone peace and quiet,