They forgot the most important development today...I found a turkey for Thanksgiving!
So today was Day 8 since Operation Pillar of Defense began. To be honest, I woke up this morning with nothing on my mind except how to get a turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner Libbie and I are preparing on Thursday. In Tel Aviv, things have been quiet for a couple of days. There were 5 rockets shot at the city in 4 days, and then two days of stillness. It became relatively easy for me to stay calm during those moments, the siren-shelter-explosion moments. The sound of the warning siren is unnerving, but -with the exception of the 5th time (the blast shook the doors in my apartment and I was alone)- I've been pleased to say that my nerves have remained steady, and the incidents became little more than a minor inconvenience and a major news story.
Two rockets after being intercepted by the Iron Dome on Sunday morning.
I guess Hamas figured that out too, and when they realized that the Iron Dome has been nullifying their efforts at terror, they decided to regress their tactics and try some old tricks. That is to say, after (miraculously!) finding a turkey this morning I heard that there had been a bus bombing in downtown Tel Aviv. And at that moment, I was reminded again that the country I live in is at war with terrorists, who happen to be our next door neighbors. It hasn't been an easy thing to forget for long, don't misunderstand me, cause most small talk these days turns to "how are you doing" and I get probably 70 Facebook notifications and emails a day from you guys back home.
That has been a huge part of this for most of the olim (new immigrants) and expats here who I talk to. We all feel overwhelming support and love from those of you we've left behind to start our new life here. For many of us this is a new reality. Knowing that we are surrounded by people who would 'wipe Israel into the sea' is old hat. Hiding in a shelter when some of them decide to hurl a missile at the town you live in is most certainly not. Tel Avivians have been just as surprised, for sure, that things took this turn, but Israelis serve in the military as a rule, and have grown up knowing the reality of enemies within. Those of us who chose to be here have done just that, chosen to be here. But this is our first lesson in what the underbelly of that decision means. And to know how much you guys are thinking of us and praying for us and supporting us has been truly strengthening. After every new development, every siren, today's bus bombing...we immediately begin to call one another and go through our checklists of friends and loved one's with whom we want to check in and be reassured. We all chuckle about the seemingly unaffected Israelis who we love and appreicate for keeping us calm. About the amount of Facebook-ing we have to do these days. About the outrageous lies we hear in the media. About which things we should or should not tell our parents (don't worry Mom and Dad, I tell you everything.) But for everyone- olim and Israelis alike- life must continue (with certain precautions) and our love for Israel solidifies with each step forward.
Tomorrow's step forward (which will be taken via taxi, no busses for awhile) will be Thanksgiving. Last year I mentioned how being outside of the US on Thanksgiving suddenly made it seem even more important to observe. It was a lovely evening with old and new friends, and a day that gave me a touch of home when I was feeling very far away. This year will be very similar. A second annual dinner at Daniel's. Many of the friends in attendance last year will be together again, and some new faces will be around the table. But this year I will be giving thanks for very different things.
This year I am grateful for the Iron Dome, first and foremost. I'm grateful for Israeli soldiers in a way that I was never able to feel before- for their sacrifice and the sacrifices made by their friends and families as they stand up to protect Israel from terrorists and criminals. I'm grateful for the family of friends I have been able to build this year, people who have become as much of a support system for me as the family and friends I've celebrated with in years gone by. I'm grateful for Meatland, a grocery store in a suburb called Ra'anana that carries American groceries like Allspice that made Thanksgiving possible:
Note the gaping hole where canned pumpkin should be... Meatland FAIL.
But soon they'll restock and I'll make that pie.
I'm grateful to be here at a time like this. To be able to support Israel from within Israel, and for the opportunity to share the truth about whats happening here right now with my friends and family around the globe.
Most of all I am grateful for the ceasefire that was announced tonight. I am not sure if it will last, I hope it will.
So with that, I'll suggest a few links and give you a few stats, and then I'm off to peel some potatoes...
Those 800 rockets have been sent indiscriminately by Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian towns. They launch their attacks from locations near hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods so that when Israel strikes back there is a greater chance of hurting Palestinian civilians, and they'll have a chance to direct the media to Israel's savage war crimes. The truth? The Israeli military made hundreds of phone calls to Gazans before beginning Pillar of Defense, dropped leaflets warning of what was to come, and aborts missions to avoid killing civilians:
In fact, even during this week of war, Israel has continued to send humanitarian aid into Gaza for the Palestinians.
Hamas and those in the media supporting their cause have been shouting to whomever will listen about the atrocities performed by Israel, yet again. And, yet again, they lie. They lie to their own people to gain popular support, they lie to the world about what is happening in Gaza. They endeavor to murder civilians. Golda Meir once said that "peace will come when the Arabs love their own children more than they hate us." Ceasefire or not, that day doesn't look like it will come anytime soon.
I want to leave you with a clip from about 3 years ago- a statement by Col. Richard Kemp on behalf of UN Watch at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in 2009. He aptly (and quickly) describes the difference between Israel, and those she is working to protect her citizens from on a daily basis, not just in times like these: