First a father: How Israeli families are coping with our new reality

What Israel is now experiencing cannot be compared to the atmosphere surrounding any previous operation or war, including the Yom Kippur War.

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
Father and son meet at the base.

Twelve days have passed and we still can’t believe how and why this happened. Not an easy time, but we have to overcome it. I’d like to address you today not as editor-in-chief of Israel Today, but as a father of adult children who suddenly became soldiers. An insight into what goes on in every family home in the country.

As you already know, all three of our sons have been on reserve duty since Shabbat morning, as has my son-in-law. All of my friends’ and neighbors’ sons under the age of 40 all received the call to war. Our soldiers concern me more than my media work. We are all working around the clock these days to bring you the truth from Israel. You can see this in the news on our website and the real-time updates on our Telegram channel. But I’m doing all of this on the side these days. Because first, as a father, I, together with my comrades and friends, look after our soldiers on the fronts.

My boys and son-in-law visiting.

The atmosphere in Israel right now cannot be compared to any previous operations or wars, not even the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago. This time the Amalekites invaded the country and murdered and slaughtered civilians. In the media they are called Hamas, ISIS or Nazis. According to biblical history, the Amalekites are a predatory nomadic people who lived in the southern regions of what is now Israel, in the Negev, and are considered Israel’s arch and hereditary enemy. The people are in trauma, I hear and feel that in conversations, and I see it again and again. The Amalekites are on everyone’s lips. When I am in Jerusalem during the day, the streets are empty of young people. All or most are on reserve duty.

Son-in-law Ariel comes home for a few hours to see his daughter.

This time the people feel something different, a true existential fear. There are also a number of rumors about a possible multi-front war that will shape the Middle East into a “New Order.” I don’t know whether that’s true or not. As fathers, our thoughts first turn to our sons in action, no matter what they do, farmer, doctor, taxi driver, archaeologist, high-tech worker, teacher or editor-in-chief. Therefore, in times like these, we first look after our children in uniform, because as former soldiers we all know how the army works. We’ll take care of what the soldiers need, that’s how we’ve always done it.

Our son Tomer taking care of a little digital work for Israel Today during a few free minutes.

The army was unprepared for such a mobilization because it was not prepared for the attack in the south. We are in contact with high-ranking officers, importers and officials from the Ministry of Defense to urgently obtain tactical equipment, but especially tactical helmets, from abroad, which is really not easy. I feel like an arms dealer, and I’m not the only one. We really only do this to equip our soldiers and our children before they go to war. We have received requests for such equipment from several units of friends and comrades.

If you’d like to help gird young Israelis for war, click here >>

Here’s a video of just a few of the soldiers that you have helped us bless with the equipment they need:


Now it is autumn and winter is just around the corner. The nights are getting colder and so yesterday we sent 800 jackets and hoodies for the soldiers on the northern border. These were procured and distributed thanks to your support. But our focus is on the tactical equipment, which I can’t say much about. But we’ll keep you updated.

And in between, we continue reporting, because the world needs to see and hear the truth. We can’t convince everyone, but the truth must be shouted out. Work keeps me busy these days and I barely sleep four hours at night. Thoughts keep us awake and race through our minds, especially when we hear the explosions and fighter jets overhead in the distance.

In the shelter during the missile alarm.

At home I am the guardian of all the women in the family. We laugh about it and say I am the commander of a women’s brigade, which includes Anat, my wife, my daughter Eden and granddaughter Michaela. There is also a second Eden, Moran’s girlfriend, who was also called up and stays with us every now and then. Ester is also staying with us because her fiancé, Tomer, our eldest son, is on duty. Tomer and Ester were supposed to get married on October 27th. But everything was called off and so we are planning a chuppah and small wedding at home in the garden. But it is also not certain whether he will even get time off for his wedding. May, the friend of our youngest son Elad, is also coming, but she stays with her parents in Ashdod most of the time, where the residents are constantly running into the shelters. We are also home to five dogs who are even more afraid of explosions than we humans are.

Eden and Michaela write a thank you letter to soldiers.

But see, this is our normal life today and it is the same in all families. Life in the country has changed for everyone. At home, the women close all the doors hermetically at night, all the blinds are down and even the garden door has to be locked on my daughter’s orders. Eden and Michaela sleep in the shelter, when the siren goes off we are all there. Also the dogs.

Our house in the moshav has become a fortress. I’ve been sleeping with my gun under my pillow for 12 days. This is no joke, everyone in the moshav who has a weapon does this. Twelve days ago an emergency force was called into the moshav. All men who have not been called up to the army keep watch and patrol around the clock. A “war room” was set up which, like a kind of local headquarters, keeps full tabs on what is happening in the village. Anat and I and 20 other neighbors do shifts in the war room, known in Hebrew as a “chamal.” Because we live less than three kilometers from the Green Line (without fence) with the Palestinian-controlled territories, all communities in the Judean Hills region around Jerusalem have been warned that we too could be surprised by terrorist invaders. The trauma is forcing everyone in Israel to be on alert.

Anat and Michaela

Why am I telling you all this? So that you can see that our life goes on, but differently, not like 12 days ago. Living life pushes fears to the side. We are too busy to cower. A glass of red wine or cognac in the evening before bed helps me sleep. A little. But one thing I understand these days is that the world is divided into two camps, those who are on the side of Israel, and those who are against Israel. The Amalekites have always been an example of the enemies of God. The Amalekites oppose His plan and His chosen nation, and thus are the arch-enemy of Israel. The nations of the world must decide with whom they stand – Amalek or Israel.