Messages to Elie

I’m afraid to call Elie. I don’t want to interrupt what he is doing. I won’t write what his task is, but it is an important one and while doing what he does, he commands the others in his unit. So, I don’t call but rather will wait for him to call when he can.

Three rockets fell Monday near Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi, and Yavneh. The rockets fell in open areas.

What I am doing, is sending him SMS messages, text messages that signal someone has sent him a note. If his phone is off now, when he turns it on, he’ll get the messages. If he’s available, he’ll take a moment and read them and either call or at least know that I am thinking about him.

One mortar shell was also launched at the Sha’ar Hanegev region.

It’s an interesting concept, something that wasn’t available to mothers in most of Israel’s wars. My friend tells me how her husband went off to war 20 years ago and she had no idea where he was, when, or if, he’d be back. I was in the dark for only about 36 hours when the army took the soldiers’ phones to make sure the security of the ground operation they were about to begin was not compromised. That was enough for me to taste what it was like to be so blind, to not know where or how your son is. It is not something I relish feeling ever again, though sadly, I have little doubt, perhaps even in this war, that it will happen again.

Two Kassam rockets landed in the Sdot Negev Kibbutz Monday morning.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t want to call him. If his phone is closed, it will be confirmation that I can’t call him. Now I can delude myself into thinking I can, but choose to wait for him to call me. So, I send him messages. I wish him a good night and a good day. I tell him to be careful and hope he is getting some rest and that he should be careful.

I spoke to an Italian journalist this morning who had found by blog and been touched by it. She wanted to know how old I was, how old Elie was. She asked how long I’ve maintainted the blog and a lot of questions that I did my best to answer. We talked about Israel, about life here and my feelings about having a son in the army. She thought perhaps it was a “love-hate” relationship and I explained that there is love, but no hate. I don’t hate that Elie is in the army. I am incredibly proud of him. He serves in the army because that is his obligation by Israeli law, but Israeli law doesn’t require him to become a commander, to serve not only with honor but with motivation. He enjoys the challenges he faces, both physical and mental.

There were other questions, but three main things stuck in my mind, after I’d ended the conversation.

She asked me how I spend my day now and I told her glued to the computer and the telephone. I’d like to say that I spend most of it doing normal things, but that isn’t really true. They are bombing my country, you see. Rockets hit this morning in many cities. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands are living in a few meters of space, knowing that they take their lives in their hands if they venture too far from shelter. Children haven’t gone to school in over a week – they can’t even go outside to play. This in a nation where children live outdoors…OK, they don’t LIVE outdoors, but they play outside all the time.

Many countries are pressuring Israel for a ceasefire. We agree – tell Hamas to cease firing. That is what started this all and its end will likely bring the end of our operation so much closer. She made one comment about the hardships of journalists covering the war but I chose to ignore it. The harder it is for the journalists to report the movements of our troops, the safer our sons will be. This is not a game to our soldiers, they fight for their lives…and ours. Yesterday, Palestinians dragged a soldier into a tunnel, attempting to kidnap him, as they did Gilad Shalit more than 900 days ago. This time, with his strength and bravery and the grace of God, the soldier escaped.

A Kassam rocket landed in Sderot.

We didn’t discuss the political situation very much; I’m not a politician, I’m a mother. She didn’t ask me about the situation in Gaza, though I could have told her that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The truth is that Israel is shipping in food and medication – even today, under fire and while our soldiers are fighting.

I did tell her that I object to the way the news is reporting Israel’s side of this war. She said that people around the world don’t know that Israel has been hit with rockets for eight years now. “That’s the problem,” I told her. “Just that.” Why doesn’t the world know? Why is the truth hidden, slanted, abused and twisted, and why does the media allow this? The truth is that we bombed a mosque…that was being used as an arsenal. The second part of that sentence is critical because it is what justifies the first part of the sentence. To report one part with out the other is obscene and unethical.

A Grad missile landed in an open area in the city of Ashkelon.

The second thing that remains in my mind after our conversation was that the journalist said she was praying for Elie. I thanked her, at least I hope I did. I’m very touched by all the prayers and thoughts going out to Elie. I don’t know if he can imagine how many people around the world are thinking of him. I think he would be embarrassed and would hide it by laughing. I have his picture, next to those of his sister and brother, taped to my computer monitor. I look at his smile so many times each day and pray that in all of this, he’s smiling now.

Two Kassam rockets fell in Ashkelon Monday morning. One landed inside the city and one just outside.

And the final thing that ended the conversation was the journalist’s question about whether Elie has a girl friend. I hesitated, not quite sure how to answer that one. What a normal question. Normal at a time when nothing in my life feels normal. Normal at a time when I just can’t do more than focus on now. So long as they are bombing my country, so long as my son is there, all our sons are there, the concept of normal just doesn’t exist.

No, Elie doesn’t have a girl friend – at least not that I know about. When does he have the time? I started to explain that Elie is a religious boy – but that sounds strange. He is, but well, he does like girls, or…well, he will, but not now. He’s so cute, my son, blue eyes, smart. Elie would never let me find someone for him. He’s way too independent, too…too…too Elie.

So someday, God willing, he’ll find the girl meant for him. I hope she’ll be religious, I hope she’ll be a devoted Zionist, dedicated to this land. I hope she’ll appreciate how well Elie cooks. I kind of hope she has blue eyes. But most of all, I hope she’ll love my son as much as I do…and even more. I hope she’ll know that what he does today, whatever it is, was something he was required to do. But that’s in the future. For now, unaware that we even discussed this subject, Elie will focus on today. He’ll watch for incoming rockets, hear the loud boom as his unit fires against our enemy. He’ll focus on now, this moment, each moment, and so will I.

So far ten rockets have hit Israel this morning.

7 Comments on Messages to Elie

  1. I wish your cute son find a good girl, make a happy family, and stop killing innocent people.

  2. Mahmood,
    Your post would be more perceptibly sincere if it would end “and live freely and innocently without fear of being killed by terrorists’ bombs and rockets.”

    Elie is not in the business of killing innocent people. He is in the business of protecting innocent people from terrorists who are. Terrorists who terrorize Israelis, and no less, in fact probably a whole lot more, terrorize Palestinians.

    Mahmoud, do you think the Israeli leaders who decided to disengage unilaterally from Gaza did so in order to “kill innocent people?” Of course not, they did not have to disengage in order to do that. They thought they would set the cycle of non-violence, ostensibly supply the Gaza-based terrorists with less “justification” for their terror. But this plan backfired, and the terrorists just cranked up their output. So instead of targeting the entire population of Gaza, the IDF continues to do its best to pinpoint the terrorists, so we can all get back to “living freely and innocently without fear of being killed by terrorists’ bombs and rockets.” Israelis and Palestinians.

  3. Two important points;
    Elie is not only fighting for his country, family and friends – Elie is fighting for his kids, he has yet to have, too.

    A point for the journalist, half-truth and misinformation is the reason of wars. Most people are good but when evil people could parade in half-truths and misinformation (with the help of the media), innocence and the innocent tragically get killed too.

    Elie’s uncle Shaye

  4. May HaShem protect all of our children.I pray for your son’s wisdom to guide his unit to hit with accuracy and always be as safe as possible. Hazak to you and kol Israel!

  5. Killing innocent people? I don’t remember ever hearing that Israel or the Jewish people have sent suicide bombers into lands around the world. I don’t remember hearing about Israel sending bombs into a land that simply waits until they can not wait any longer… It seems to me that Israel has waited long enough and it’s time to defend their land, their people, their children- I only wish they had the help they deserve! Be blessed- Israel- may the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob watch over you, protect you…May he bring your soldiers home safe… no matter how many enemies you have, your G-d is greater than your enemies- Don’t forget your father’s David and Joshua (I’m sorry, I don’t know their Hebrew names- but I do know that your G-d blessed them and brought about many victories for them!) There are many here in America who love you and are praying for you!

  6. Quote: I did tell her that I object to the way the news is reporting Israel’s side of this war. She said that people around the world don’t know that Israel has been hit with rockets for eight years now. “That’s the problem,” I told her. “Just that.” Why doesn’t the world know? Why is the truth hidden, slanted, abused and twisted, and why does the media allow this? End quote

    The people of the world choose not to know of what you have all faced for years, partly because journalists (and editors and the media owners) CHOOSE to not report that. Even today, as I listen to the radio, I hear only what the Hamas propaganda machine has fed the media, and I am furious. They interview a Palestinian, but no Israeli, etc etc.etc.. You *may* hear me yelling from there..

    My prayers for you all continue – with love and absolute faith. SOME of us out here search for, and KNOW the truth. We stand with you.

  7. Good luck to all in Israel.

    Semper Fi

    From the USA!

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