Every year around this time, I look back at the posts I made just before and during the Gaza War. It is like scratching a scab. You know you shouldn’t; you know you’ll make it bleed again if you do; but the itch is there and you scratch.
The candles are burning in the window – we lit the fifth candle. Elie isn’t home. He is visiting the United States for the first time since he was a little boy attending his uncle’s wedding. He wasn’t home the Hanuka before the Gaza War. It is strange reading back, knowing how wrong I was. In this post dated December 25, 2008 called “Life is Never Boring” – I was sure that Elie was heading up north. Sixty rockets had been fired at Israel in a single day and we were sure war was coming. We were right. I was sure Elie would not be involved. I was wrong.
For those of you who have been me through the long haul, I apologize for reposting. It’s just interesting to me to see how life has a way of surprising you. We were days away from the war…days away…
Life is Never Boring (December 25, 2007)
So, it seems that the southern area of Israel is “heating up.” Yesterday, more than 60 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel. Fifty-seven people were taken to the hospital suffering from shock – half of these were children. The High Court is preventing Israel from using artillery into Gaza. Artillery is, for the most part, if done correctly, accurate. But the definition of accurate in the field is different than in the city. A little bit off may still be considered a direct hit, but in a crowded city, this could even mean the house next door.
One could argue and say that if you know your neighbor is firing missiles at a civilian city and you know that city is in a country that has one of the strongest armies in the region, if not the strongest, you probably should consider leaving your home for a while. Possessions are all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is your family that matters. Stop your neighbor, or leave.
But the High Court doesn’t think this way, the way of human nature. They bow before the greater force of international pressure, as does our government and many of our political leaders and so artillery may not be used in the military operation the army is no doubt planning. As I explained to Elie, for years Hamas and other terrorist groups have freely shot rockets and mortars at our cities, but soon the government will be forced to respond. Not because it is the right think to do – if that was the reason, they would have done it years ago. No, the government will finally respond because we are in the midst of an election and they don’t want further evidence of their inability to stop the rockets.
For Elie, this probably means little. His unit is shortly shifting back to training and will likely not be involved in Gaza, even if an artillery unit is chosen to backup ground forces going into Gaza. But life is never boring in Israel. Each time I’ve thought Elie is going into a “worry-free” zone, something happens to change the zone, change the worry, or up the “free.”
I thought Elie would shortly be going into training. I was worried about the cold more than anything, but even there, was relatively calm. Yesterday, the Lebanese army came across eight Katyusha rockets aimed at Israel. The timers were set to go off automatically late Thursday night. Whether by divine intervention, luck, or an intelligence leak, the Lebanese found and de-activated the rockets. This could be an isolated incident, or it could be the beginning of Hizbollah’s attempt to once again open up a second front and force the Israeli army to divert or at least divide its attention from Gaza alone.
If something happens in the north in the next few weeks, this is solidly where Elie will be and so the worry-free is gone. Not yet replaced by worry, certainly nothing beyond it. All it means, as it has really meant from the first day I drove Elie to Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem to catch to the induction center in Tel Aviv, is that nothing is for certain, everything and anything can happen when you have a son in the army. So, today is Friday, tonight we will light the sixth Hanukkah candle. Elie will not be home. We’ll celebrate the holiday as we always have, minus a part of my heart and my eldest son.
Shabbat shalom, Elie and chag samayah – happy holiday. May it come in peace and pass in peace, this day, this week, this month, this year.