Our trip to Israel was scheduled months before the world would hear of a war in Israel and Gaza. The initial stages seemed like it would be over quickly, like other times in the past. So we decided to go as scheduled and meet our daughter and her boyfriend traveling from Australia, and our other daughter studying in Jerusalem. Family togetherness and visiting friends during this time seemed so appropriate and important.
We began our trip with a siren and call to bomb shelters and nearly two weeks later, our last hour before leaving for the airport, was in a bomb shelter with 20 other people of all ages. Luckily we were able to travel the roads to the airport with no incident, yet our “Red Alert” APP on our iPhones, kept sounding off alarms of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas, some near Tel Aviv, the direction of the airport. Bizarre, yet somehow, there was a feeling of victory and of pride that Hamas bombs would not put fear in us or deter us. We felt brave in the face of this “evil,” and whatever would happen, we would put on our “rose colored glasses” and perceive this as what was meant to be so that terrorism could be stopped, not just in Israel, but everywhere.. This sense of importance overrode any fear. Tragically we understood innocent lives would be lost or impaired, and it could be us……
Getting back to perception. One can easily take sides in a conflict, if one has limited knowledge, and is programmed to see one way as the only reality. I was not brought up that way, thank the creator, and so my life has been lived in somewhat of a confusing paradox, feeling the pain of many perspectives, and also knowing that sometimes painful positions can produce healthy “births”. The life that we create on this earth knows no boundaries in our capacity to experience compassion for those who suffer, even if they perceive us as their enemy. But an enemy whose intent is to kill me at all costs, is unfathomable.
I pray that all Israelis be allowed to defend themselves from those who perpetuate hatred and violence against them. May those enemies be transformed to give up their evil intentions instead to help create a true and lasting peace. May those who suffer be healed on both sides. May coexistence be the goal, instead of hatred, jealously and violence.
It is tragic that my friends and their children must fight a war that they did not create or want. It is tragic that the Middle East Arab world, including the those living in Gaza and West Bank, have been programmed to generations of hatred and violence, not just against Jews and Israelis, but against their own people and families. This tribal violence is unacceptable in a world where it is entirely possible to create compassion, acceptance, and coexistence with enough healthy resources for everyone to live and thrive, if greed and blind hatred did not distort their vision. Imagine a world where $$$ for bombs are now used to purchase seeds to grow food, flowers and jobs. Where $$$ for films and books filled with images and words of hatred and violence, instead are invested into words of beauty, love, friendship, nature, and acceptance. Where $$$ for terrorist trainings and military operations, instead go to education and business grants for people to become artists, musicians, doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, farmers, engineers, and business owners, etc. to make this world a better, even more beautiful place for all.
But we must accomplish this together, for safety and peace to be maintained. No longer can one survive just for oneself or one’s tribe or one’s religion. A true spiritual path guided by a creator who promotes life is not relegated to one group or people. We must all teach each other to perceive, honor and respect the beauty and unique wisdom that our creator has given each of us: this awesome life together as a worldwide family.
That is the legacy I want for myself, my family, the Jewish people, and our world community.