One thing I have learned about the army is that things are fluid. You move with it, flow through it and accept each bend in the river as it comes. You hope only to land safely along the way and avoid the harshest realities. Each four months or so, the army throws you another curve, another twist, another challenge.
This one that they have given to Elie might be harder for him, both physically and emotionally, but for me it is among the easier paths. He’s back on the training base on the south. Physically, he is farther away from home, more out of reach. There’s no client nearby that I can use as an excuse. Before, a short hour’s drive and I was at his base. Now, I could drive two hours and still not reach him, and then still have to drive back.
No, there probably won’t be any unplanned trips, though we might drive down on a Friday if he’s there for an extended period of time – at least now that I’ve got my Civic Hybrid, I can rationalize the gas issue. But what I apparently can’t let go of…at least not yet, is the way his previous base stays in my mind. Elie isn’t there, but I was there so many times that the “problematic” areas they patrolled still gain my attention immediately when mentioned in the news. His friends are still there, and will be for at least a few more weeks (and likely through several months as well). And so this report caught my eye:
Israeli vehicles were damaged in two rock attacks Monday evening, next to Palestinian Authority villages in Samaria. No injuries were reported. One of the attacks took place next to Kifel Harat, near Ariel, due east of Tel Aviv. The other occurred next to Azoun, further to the north.
There it is again. Azoun. Where they regularly throw rocks and firebombs at passing cars and where the army has warned them simply: Violence will not be rewarded. Throw rocks and you will not be allowed to cross into Israel to work.
Azoun – where an Arab complained and Elie answered. You are responsible for your brother, for your neighbor. When you see wrong, you must act to stop it and if you plan to do wrong, you have to care about your friends, family and neighbors enough to do the right thing.
Azoun – where Elie was stationed for several months and where he gained experiences and friends. Where he patrolled in a humvee, sweated in the heat, got wet in the rain.
I guess what this says is that when your son is in a place, even after he leaves, you realize that someone else’s son is still there. Some other mother also sees “Azoun” and knows that there are many in the town who still choose violence and cause suffering to their own people…and ours.
No one wins when the rock throwers are busy in Azoun…not the Israelis whose cars are damaged, not the Israelis who are injured, not the soldiers who must search to see if they can find the ones who threw the firebombs this time, and certainly not the people from Azoun who simply want to go to work tomorrow and won’t be allowed because their neighbors attacked and then rushed back to their village to hide.
It’s another part of being Israeli – taking each area and feeling a connection, and knowing that connection remains strong, even when you think it will fade. Elie has moved on, apparently Azoun and his base remain a part of me.