On Monday here in Israel we celebrated Shavuot/Pentecost, right in the middle of warfare with Gaza. In my moshav in the Galilee things have been quiet. Together the village celebrated the lovely spring holiday mandated in the Bible as a time of bringing *first fruits of thanksgiving, especially from the wheat harvest which is now at its peak.
As I looked around me, at the fields clothed in “amber waves of grain,” at my neighbors dressed in festive white clothing, and at the kids playing water games happily; for a moment I forgot that Israel is locked in a struggle for its very existence.
If Israel’s high tech “salvation” had not worked so well, in the form of the Iron Dome missile shield system…
If Israel had not built bomb shelters…
If the IDF had not gathered so much intel to restrain Hamas capabilities with surgical air strikes…
If Israel’s friends had not been praying…
We could have been in a very different place today.
Just a week ago we stared at TV screens in shock at the first salvos of 4,000 Gaza rockets being launched against our civilian populations, including densely-populated Tel Aviv. It looked like a belated celebration of Israeli Independence Day with fireworks at a whole new level.
Just a week ago we almost assumed this air war would lead automatically to a ground war with bloody house-to-house combat in Gaza.
Just a week ago it seemed entirely likely that my son who recently completed his IDF service might be summarily called up to active duty and even sent into Gaza.
And so we sat here in surreal mental disconnect celebrating Shavuot on the moshav while friends and relatives were spending much of their days in bomb shelters
Then yesterday four rockets were launched toward Israel from Lebanon in solidarity with Gazan aspirations. One rocket landed in Shefaram, a large Arab town in the Galilee. Arab friends who live there heard the boom.
This week Christian Arab friends from a smaller Galilean Arab-Israeli town told me they had to stay indoors for fear of getting caught in the crossfire of “hamula” family vendetta violence of Arabs against Arabs, somehow exacerbated by the situation.
Thank you for praying for all the Arabs and Jews of this contested land even as the current conflict appears to be gradually winding down! Please keep it up.
*The Bible gives a beautiful first fruits cornucopia basket ceremonial speech to be repeated by the people of Israel, thanking God for living in this land and referencing Abraham as our “wandering Aramean” father.