By Sarah Groner, J Street Israel Program Associate
Hard times are upon all of us. These past few weeks have been extremely challenging, and I wanted to share some of my reflections. Since I know that many of you are up-to-date on what is happening in the news, I wanted to write about my feelings at this moment:
Many mixed feelings of fear, anger, frustration, disapproval and anguish.
Feelings of security and gratitude to Israel and the US that have invested to protect my life with the Iron Dome system. Uneasiness walking around these days, in fear that I will be caught off guard when a rocket comes. Will I know where to hide? When I was in Kibbutz Kfar Azza a few years ago, the residents told me that when they went for walks in the kibbutz, they learned to look for places of shelter every few steps, in case the siren went off. I realized I have now begun to do that too.
But even that sentence is hard to write. The threat of something terrible actually happening to me is extremely small and the discussion of the trauma Israelis are feeling now seems to me so minimal in comparison to the people of Gaza, the soldiers at the borders and the people at the centers of the riots in Jerusalem, the north and the south. Even in Tel Aviv the other night, at an anti-war protest, some right wing activists attacked and injured the left wing protesters. When I think about it rationally, the danger in the streets is more threatening than the danger from the air. But emotionally, when the siren blasts - you run, hear a few booms and hope it will end soon. It shakes you.
The threat on the streets, from racism and hatred on both sides, beats me up inside. It seems like both sides are pointing fingers to blame someone for the current violence, but unaware of the greater political context of this conflict. How can we take back the conversation? How can we decrease the tension and raise up the moderate voices? How do we deal with the hatred and sworn offenders? Do we really have a strategy to counter-balance Hamas? Will the current situation ever change?
Times of war are exhausting. Carrying around all of these emotions and ping-ponging from fear to calm and even having some joy in between (I went to a wedding on Thursday night and another tonight) is tiring. Ultimately, I feel that my presence here can contribute something to the dialogue. I care deeply about the future of my state and I want to be a part of the moderate voices that I hope will rise from this wreck.
I pray for this to come to a peaceful end. Speedily, in our days.
To the supporters of J Street: thank you for the work you do to help make that a reality.