Two days ago I left the office, saying those exact words: “See ya! Unless there’s a war…”
How blasé. How crazy! But this is how we live in Israel.
On Sunday the country spent the day debating whether or not Syria would attack us.
People in northern Israel had heard fighter jets (ours) in the sky over the weekend and obviously something was going on. Then we started hearing the rumors of weapons on their way to Hezbollah that exploded in the middle of the night. Then we saw the video if it, uploaded to YouTube by people on the ground in Syria.
Obviously Syria could decide to retaliate. Hezbollah could also decide to “get revenge”. And then again, maybe not. After all they have been busy for the past two years, slaughtering each other… On the other hand, Israel is always a nice excuse, a good rallying point to say: “Hey guys, why are we fighting each other? Let’s go get the real enemy!”
Life in Israel runs on the edge of a blade. Slip and get cut. Everyone knows the consequences…
All day Sunday people were debating if there would be a war or not. If so I wouldn’t see my boss the next day at work (he’d be called for reserve duty). Probably I would go to the office as normal but he wouldn’t be there. Oh well.
That reminds me, I have to find where the bomb shelter in my office building is… Yes this, in Israel, is what we call “normal”.
In between discussions of war and military operations people were hotly debating the premier of the new season of Big Brother (aired Sunday night). Who would enter the house this season? What would be new and different this time around?
High school students are studying for their finals. The government is fighting over the fiscal plan for the country and the media is busy covering a sexual harassment scandal. People are working, shopping and going out to have fun. This is our life. Everything is normal, until it isn’t.
In Israel life doesn’t stop just because people are (constantly) trying to destroy us. Our towns don’t go into lock-down when a terrorist is on the loose. Our lives don’t stop because we are under threat of war.
When there is an actual war we stop as little as possible – and then we pick up the pieces and keep on going.
This is the strength of Israel. We are the davka nation – we do things against all odds, in spite of everything that is pitted against us.
In the bible it says that the Nation of Israel is “stiff necked” i.e. stubborn. It’s true. Sometimes our stubbornness gets us in trouble but a lot of the time it’s what saves us.
Forced to live under crazy conditions, we create normality where there isn’t much normality.
Rejected by the nations of the world we do everything possible to contribute, to make the world a better place. Our doctors go on volunteer missions to save lives, fix cleft palates and cataracts in third world nations. Our inventors keep on inventing, bringing wonders to every field imaginable. Israelis have made crops grown in the desert, enabled paraplegics to walk and are currently working on curing ALS (and are already seeing some success!)!
We are here, whether the nations of the world like it or not. If / when there is a war it will not stop us. We will keep going to work and doing what we do best. If we have to stop for a day or two, a week or a month – we will pick up the pieces and keep on going. We’ve done it before and we will do it again.
We are a very stubborn people.
And if our success annoys our detractors – all the better.