I spoke to Elie two days ago and again last night. He’s fine. Ten of the thirteen who were hospitalized are from his g’dud (platoon, I think…I keep forgetting what this is called in English). The most serious has several badly broken bones, not that there is any good way to break bones, but apparently, there are some decidedly bad ways, and this is what has happened to this one soldier. He will need extensive care and rehabilitation in the months to come, but his parents must be so grateful. He’s alive.
Another has a broken hip – can you imagine a 20 year old with a broken hip? Three others remain hospitalized with broken ribs and other issues consistent with being rammed by a BMW driven by someone hoping to inflict pain and injury.
Several have been released from hospital but have not arrived back to base. Elie assumes they are home for a week or so, depending on their injuries. We went out to dinner again tonight, still in Eilat, still trying to find my balance, but feeling it return already. My heart has stopped screaming. That alone is progress. I try to think of the words, usually not a limitation of mine, that can describe the sensation. I keep coming back to the same words, the concept of a screaming heart, and wonder if others can understand what I mean.
In the first call, I didn’t want to question Elie, so I let him talk and when he finished, he was tired and told me he had to get up at 5:00 a.m. so we said goodbye. I couldn’t translate the job of the injured soldier and figured another soldier might understand. To find a soldier, or at least a former soldier, you only really have to look around you. Two young men were serving as waiters in the restaurant and so I approached and asked if I could ask them a question.
I explained the word, what had happened, why I asked.
“I was in artillery,” said one and so we talked. He was in the same unit Elie is in today; he was a paramedic. As is often the case with Israelis, not only did he help give me the information I was seeking, he also gave me advice. Elie shouldn’t worry about not being a paramedic. When he was in the army, he was a paramedic and it isn’t all that fun or exciting. “You think it will be, but it really isn’t. Except for the war…but that wasn’t fun either.”
More than anything today, that small talk helped return much of my balance, my sense that things are good and will be okay. Elie sounded tired but fine and he’ll be home soon. I offered to pick him up (6:00 a.m. on Friday, but I don’t care). We go home tomorrow. It’s been a long vacation, more stressful than restful and all I can think at this time was that I was right not to leave the country. My husband said that we never would have known or heard about this attack if we’d been out of the country, but I saw some of the attack on Fox News – one image of the blue beret would have been enough.
Finally, spoke to Elie last night. He sounded tired and not too happy. For reasons not explained, Elie cannot come home for the Sabbath. While the others are going home as scheduled, they need an extra commander on base, and that will be Elie. He’s trying to get home Saturday night or Sunday morning at the latest. We will still have the holiday with him and for now, that’s the most important.
May all of the house of Israel be granted a happy, safe, healthy and prosperous new year.