I didn’t get to see Elie yesterday. After he’d finished on the checkpoint, he was too busy with other things to find time to meet me at the front of the gate of the base to be filmed for his brother’s bar mitzvah. The truth is, I think he was a bit relieved. He doesn’t really know what to say about his brother. He loves him; but Elie has not yet developed the ability to be diplomatic. He’s as likely to say his brother is sweet, as to call him a pest.
I didn’t want to put more pressure on him so I let it be, hoping perhaps we’ll find another way. We talked several times yesterday.
“Elie, just tell me where you are. I just need to know.” Sure, I thought to myself, he won’t tell me. It’s a very Israeli thing to do – not to tell your mother. I found myself listening to him but also to what I could hear in the background. One explosion and I’d lose it, I thought to myself. I heard a lot of noise.
“Elie, what’s that noise?” No, it didn’t sound like an explosion. It was…loud voices, a lot of them.
“The guys are having a party, for Hanukkah.” OK, I thought. Breathe and deal. And the truth is, I really am calm for the most part, at least where Elie is concerned. There are so many other things to think about – like driving in to work today and passing a long line of tanks slowly making their way up to Jerusalem. I know where they are going – to Gaza. And each will be filled with soldiers, sons. And I’m shamed to say that I gave a silent thanks to God that Elie is in artillery and even if he were ordered to Gaza, he would be positioned IN Israel.
To be the mother of a soldier in the tank division takes tremendous courage today; I feel a bit like a cheat when people write or call and ask about Elie. But I’ll take it to mean concern for all of Israel’s sons and, even for our citizens who remain under rocket attack.
As to the tanks, they were huge, as tanks are likely to be. They are impressive in size, determined weapons of war and they are on the move because no nation can be expected to accept daily rocket attacks without responding.