Paula R. Stern – Heat in the North
I’ve lost count of the number of times the world thought a war might be close on the horizon since I moved to Israel. Sometimes the war did come. Sometimes we were all able to back off the edge despite the heat. Sometimes, the war came so fast I didn’t even realize it was coming. The worst part, really, is never knowing. You can’t ignore the signs…and they are there again. Who will blink? Who will back away? The one great truth is that is has never been Israel leading the way and so it can never be Israel that stops a bad situation from descending into war.
If we are threatened enough to go to war, we go. As we did in 1967; as we did in 1981, and as we did three times in the last decade.
Once, Iraq threatened to change the balance of power in the Middle East by attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Our pilots flew, blessed and true, and the threat was gone.
Once, Syria threatened to change the balance of power in the Middle East by attempting to go nuclear and our pilots flew, blessed and true. And in a field in the Golan Heights, my son waited to see if Syria would go to war. I slept unaware of what was happening, as did most of Israel. At 4:00 a.m., my son called to tell me that he would not be on the 6:00 a.m. bus to come home to celebrate his father’s 50th birthday. But war didn’t come, and a few days later, we celebrated not just an important birthday, but the quiet that was not smashed.
Last week, Iran threatened to change the balance of power in the Middle East by sending a convoy of weapons…powerful missiles…through Iraq and into Syria. It’s final destination was to be Lebanon, Hezbollah. Once again, our pilots flew, blessed and true, and that threat is gone. Syria fired rockets into Israel; our defense system took most of them down. Yesterday, more rockets were fired at us…this time from Gaza.
From the skies above, Israel must have watched the convoy. They knew…we knew what was in it, where it was going. And as we’ve done before, without warning and with little regret, we sent our pilots to eliminate the risk as far from our border as possible.
Now we wait. The weapons are gone. What will Syria do? What will Iran do? That part is unknown. What is known is what Israel will do. We will do what we have always done. We will prepare. We will defend ourselves.
Our children will go to school; we will shop for the upcoming holidays. We are cleaning our homes – that once-a-year insanity where we go through all our closets and drawers, turn over our kitchen to use different dishes and pots, cook different food, and celebrate this year in Jerusalem, this year as free people.
Once our future was in the hands of a king who deemed us slaves; now our future is in the hands of a King who watches over His people. We have never wanted war; we have chosen the path of peace each and every time.
It’s hot in the north now as we wait to see whether Syria will be so distracted with its own problems and its wonderful plan to self-implode, that it will not start a war. Rockets have been fired in the south from Gaza. This could be just a call to remember to give them attention.
Whatever is happening, it’s one more example of how life is so very different here. How fast it can change.
All day long, I’ve been thinking about the roller coaster…am I climbing ever upwards heading for the next drop…or am I in the flat of the ride, watching David go back and forth from base to home and home to base?
I hate roller coasters!