I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for some time now, wondering how I should start this article. Today, I wanted to share with you some of my personal feelings about this impossible situation we have found ourselves in since last Shabbat. It’s almost unbelievable how quickly we all somehow adapted to this new reality. By that I don’t mean that we accept it, you can’t, but we learned pretty quickly how to deal with this situation, as cruel as it may be.
We Israelis are known for adapting quickly to a new reality. Because life must go on. Yes, we have an enormous will to survive. We are able to put aside all our differences and arguments from one moment to the next. Suddenly we are one people again, united. And that is exactly what makes us so strong.
Just a week ago we were arguing about whether Jews should be allowed to carry out the Torah parade at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv for the Simchat Torah festival. Incredible. Why shouldn’t Jews be allowed to freely practice their faith in their own country? Isn’t that exactly why we returned to this country? I was shocked by this hatred of religious Jews from non-religious Jews.
And then the catastrophe came. On Shabbat morning, at 6:30 am. Since then we have been living in a different world. We have suffered a terrible blow. I am surprised by my own thoughts. Could it be that this catastrophe is a punishment? We will remember this tragedy at every Simchat Torah festival from now on. This celebration will forever be associated with this tragedy.
That’s what the non-religious opponents of Judaism, who are also Jews, are probably thinking now. It’s a shame that we only got back together because of this catastrophe. We will probably only find out after this war, which was forced on us by the Hamas terrorists, whether we will really be a united people again from now on.
At the moment I have no idea what to do next. Almost half a million soldiers have been mobilized, including many of my son’s friends.
The first thing I do every day is turn on the TV to catch up on the latest developments. The number of people murdered increases almost every day by another hundred people, unbelievable. Today the number is at least 1,300 dead! So far, only a third of the civilian victims have been identified.
Yesterday we received the sad news that the brother of one of my daughter’s childhood friends had died. He was also at the music festival where the terrorists carried out a massacre. While he was on the run from the murderous terrorists, he was still able to talk to his brother on the phone. He was escaping with two girls and reached a car with them. While escaping, he was hit by a bullet in the stomach, according to the girls who were with him. They then continued running while Ofek remained injured in the car. He was missing since then, until yesterday.
Ofek Arbib was 21 years old. He was the little brother of one of my daughter’s best friends. He was often at our home with his sister. Ofek was buried yesterday evening at the military cemetery in the city of Holon. May his memory be a blessing. We will visit the family in the coming days and offer our condolences at their shiva.
In addition to these sad events, there are now also completely unimportant everyday problems. After a perhaps somewhat premature announcement from Home Front Command that every citizen should stock up on enough food and water for at least 72 hours, the country’s supermarkets were stormed. I didn’t go to the supermarket until the next day to buy a few things. But I was too late, the place looked like it had been robbed. Many shelves were completely emptied. There were no eggs, no bottled water and, above all, no more toilet paper.
“What’s the deal with the toilet paper?” I asked myself, thinking back to the Corona days, when eggs and toilet paper were the most sought-after goods. In a drugstore I managed to get hold of the last two packages of toilet paper, of course they were the most expensive. 100 shekels (around 25 euros) for a few rolls. But whatever, we really have more important problems.
Since that cruel Shabbat, we’ve basically only been at home. Just yesterday, five days after the war began, our son left the house to visit a friend. I took a quick trip to our mall yesterday to do some shopping and was amazed at how empty it was. Most of the shops were closed, only the small supermarket was open. There was no bottled water there, either.
So most of the time we sit at home paralyzed in front of the television. We will probably have to deal with this catastrophe for a long time.
But now we have to win this war first.
Israel is fighting for its existence, even 75 years after the founding of the state. The terrorists must be defeated, it’s either them or us.
Despite everything, I wish you a blessed Shabbat. You are welcome to write your comments below.
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