By Jocelyn Weiss . My first year of Aliyah is coming to a close and all things considered, it’s been a good year. Just a week and half ago I experienced my first tickle with war and I call it a tickle because that’s exactly what it felt like. Before moving to Israel I was asked by many why would I move to a place with such political turmoil and to a place where war could break out at any given moment.
I knew what I was getting into and I wasn’t afraid of what might or could happen. I had visited Israel often and felt safe. Sure there’s a heightened sense of awareness in parts of the country but for the most part, Israel had taken steep measures in order to protect its citizens in the last five to ten years.
Then the sirens went off… On my way home from work, sitting on a bus and chatting on my cell phone with a friend from Germany who was coincidently trying to convince me that I was crazy to live in Israel and that I should leave for fear of my safety, the sirens went off. I was in mid-sentence saying something to the effect of “Don’t worry, nothing is going to happen, I’m not going to leave…” when I noticed everyone getting off the bus. I asked a young man standing next to me where everyone was going to which he looked at me a bit funny and asked, “Don’t you hear the sirens?” I quickly told my German friend that I spoke too soon! This was actually happening. I was told that if the siren goes off, you have less than a minute to find cover. We all began walking toward a building and midway the sirens stopped. Everyone paused for a moment, turned and then got back on the bus. The atmosphere was electric.
I got off at my regular stop and saw people eating in restaurants, shopping in stores, walking dogs, riding bikes, jogging… everything was normal. Life goes on.
The Israeli/Jewish spirit of perseverance is amazing. For the last two millennia we’ve struggled with oppression and time and time again, we manage to survive. 2000 years ago a small army of Jews, known as the Maccabees, revolted against the Syrian-Greek Empire. Their fight for freedom is a continuation of the fight we have today. The miracle of Hanukkah is still relevant, we find ourselves dealing with the issue of fire; only then it was about keeping the menorah lit, today we strive to keep that fire lit inside of us when so many of our neighbors wish to extinguish it.
Just like the Maccabees, the IDF called up their forces and were ready. This time it didn’t escalate further but it’s reassuring to know that our spirit of perseverance runs thick. Let’s hope the truce with our neighbors lasts longer than we anticipate, for if it does, it will surely be another miracle!
This author is a writer on http://www.worldofjudaica.com/