On the Ground in Israel

On my journey in Aliyah, making a home in Israel, I had many dreams and hopes. I wanted to do well in school so that I can one day have a career in Israel; I wanted to get married, and G-d willing, start a family; and I wanted to just be able to handle the challenges that inevitably accompany a life change. I also wanted to own a home and plant around it a garden with trees and spices and flowers from this beautiful country in which I am so blessed to live.

My husband Amichai and I live in a little tiny apartment. I think some people’s closets are larger. We’re students and we work very hard to keep our expenses low so that we can build a home in the near future. Often when we are out on a walk, I’ll see all sorts of flowers and fruits and vegetables and I’ll tell Amichai to add them to our list of garden essentials. We may end up living in a tiny house with a huge lawn. We’ll hopefully build a sturdy structure upon the strong foundation from which we began.

As you know, the news coming out of this part of the world is not good. Where we live, in Gush Etzion, there have been, as of late, terror attacks on a daily basis. The entire country is on a state of high alert and everyone is suspicious of everything. Children innocently ask about sirens that have become almost background noise. Standing at a bus stop is risky and my neck hurts from turning around so much to verify that the jogger behind me isn’t armed with a knife. I’m afraid that I’ll spray the tear gas I carry with me now into my own eyes and not the attacker’s. I hope that my husband will just make it home safely and I check, every night, to see if those I love are home, secure in their beds.

And I wonder about the terrorists: what brings a man or woman to so savagely take the life of an innocent civilian buying groceries at the supermarket? I am sickened by the rhetoric of the leaders that propels the terrorists to continue, fearlessly, their quest of “martyrdom.” I believe that the terrorists ruin the lives of their own more than they do ours. Every life they destroy on our side means repercussions on theirs. That’s why I am confused by the silence from the Arab community that does want to live in peace.

But mostly, I go on with my life and my hopes and dreams of building a home and planting a garden. When I see the plants in my windowsill, the cuttings of spices that are rooting in our little kitchen, I am reminded of what Israel is all about: planting and sowing and harvesting despite the difficulty of reaping a harvest from the desert. Every day, I hope that there will be peace in this land. In the meantime, we still live in fear but we continue to live. I am hopeful our neighbors will choose life, too.