Of all the posts I have made over the last two years and almost 10 months, one of the ones that elicited the most comments was one that I wrote to myself more than anyone else. Elie was within hours of being called down to Gaza. I knew it. He knew it. As much as we talked in those hours…there was so much left unsaid.
After what turned out to be our last conversation before he was moved south to Gaza, I closed the phone and knew that my life was changing; that something was about to happen and I was, I believe, more terrified than I had ever been before.
We finished our brief conversation and I started to type a post for the blog. I was amazed at the response and yet each time I read the post during the war and in the months that followed, I understood that it truly reflected what many mothers were feeling. It is hard to believe a year has passed since I wrote these words:
(The full post can be read here:
What I Want…And What I’ll Do)
What I want…is to go collect my little boy and bring him home. I want to lock him in a room and tell Israel that no, you can’t have him. I’ve changed my mind. No, I’m sorry. He’s not allowed to play with guns and big things that go boom. No, I’m his mother. I gave birth to him and no, you simply can’t take him.
What I want…is to call him and make sure he is where I put him, where he told me he was yesterday. Not in the north, where Hizbollah is promising to burn the ground and open a second front and not in the south, where dozens of rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel, where a man was killed and dozens were wounded.
That’s what I want…
And what I’ll do, is sit here at my desk and keep editing this document for my client. I’ll update the copyright statements and change the installation information to reflect the new platforms the product now supports. I’ll answer the phone and I’ll talk to my accountant.
And what I’ll do, is tell my heart to settle. I’ll tell my eyes to take a moment and look at the next beautiful wave of clouds rolling in over Jerusalem. I’ll sign the papers I need to sign; type the words I need to type. I’ll tell my younger daughter to clean her room and my younger son that he has to study for his test NOW. I’ll tell my middle son he can borrow the car like we agreed, but he has to drive carefully. I won’t talk to my daughter because she’s old enough to see the cracks in my smile and know that outside, it’s all a front.
What I’ll do is answer the phone if Elie calls and I’ll talk to him calmly. I’ll listen if he tells me he’s staying where he is. I’ll listen if he tells me they are moving him up north. I’ll listen if he tells me they are moving him down south near Gaza. I’ll listen, I’ll tell him to be careful, and call me when he can. I won’t for a single moment, tell him that I’m scared, that I have no real experience with this war thing and that I don’t really want him to have any experience with it either.
What I’ll do is continue to listen to the news and pray for our civilians who are under attack, and our soldiers who are risking their lives to defend them.
The world may forget that it was Hamas and Islamic Jihad who chose rockets and mortars and missiles with which to attack us; they may fail to recognize that we use our air force, our tanks, our ground forces and our artillery to protect. For once, Israelis are united in one simple reality. We cannot afford to bend to the world’s will, if that means our children live under rocket fire, if that means people are forced to run for shelter with mere seconds to alert them.
We are, above all things, a nation that chooses life. Today, we choose to protect the lives of our citizens. Maybe deep down, what I want is to hide inside myself, but what I will do is what every Israeli is doing today – having faith that we are bringing a better reality to our country by taking its safety into our hands. Our soldiers have our faith, they have our prayer, and they have our love.
May God protect the soldiers of Israel and watch over them as they do what they must. They cannot be defeated because where they go, they will not be alone. They have with them the Defender of Israel.