Since war began again with rockets from Gaza into Israel we have seen how Israel struggles to exist against deadly attacks from Hamas and the opinions presented by international leadership. We hear much about those in Gaza– but what about the Israelis? Here is what they have to say.
“I am not afraid to live in Israel when there is war. I believe if something is going to happen to someone, it will happen when it is time- even if he is in his own house. My kids were both in the IDF [are now in the reserves and eligible to be called for duty in Gaza] and they believe the same because we raised them this way. Look, in war people die. But sometimes it is necessary to go to war. I am not afraid.”
–Hagai, Israeli citizen, former tank soldier
“I am in Jerusalem. A big violence was next to my house where I’m living, but we are only seeking God’s presence and looking for His Grace to His land and to His people.” -Yong gu, Korea, AHI Volunteer
“Every morning the first thing I do is open my computer and read the news to see what has happened in the last 8 hours. The past several days have been very hard as I have read about more fallen soldiers. I do not know any of them personally, but I read their stories and feel saddened as if they were close friends. I am also touched by the tears of their family and their declaration of faith that God is in control.
“At times it can be very challenging living in Israel with so many enemies around us. This time Hamas is firing rockets, 8 years ago it was Hizbollah from Lebanon. From time to time stray rockets come from civil war-stricken Syria. Other times terrorists shoot rockets on Eilat, Israel’s most southern city , from the Sinai Peninsula.
“God’s words to Joshua, “Do not be afraid,” [Joshua 1:9] are ever so relevant today. How can one live with these constant threats without the knowledge that the Creator of the universe is our Protector? Many still live in fear, yet times like these brings us back to God. My prayer is that our leaders would not lean on their own understanding, but trust in God in all of their difficult decisions.”
– Yonatan, Administrator of Israel, former IDF soldier
“This is our fifth year of volunteering in Israel with the purpose of showing the Messiah’s love among His people. It has been our privilege and honor to volunteerAHI for four of those five years.It has been our privilege and honor to volunteer and assist AHI for four of those five years. This summer has been more challenging than previous years due to the ongoing war in Gaza and the uprisings, attacks, and riots going on in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
“This is a tiny country; therefore, the sights and sounds of war are always near, 24/7. Thus far, we have had over 2,100 rocket attacks from Gaza in the past 17-days. Each time a rocket is launched from Gaza, if the IDF determines that it is aimed at your city, you get the Red Alert, an air raid siren that gives you 15-seconds to run for your life (to a bomb shelter or safe-room). All over south and central Israel, there is hardly a town that has not had its share of Red Alerts and rockets at all hours of the day and night. It changes one’s life.
“You begin to plan everything in your day around “what-if-the-Red-Alert-sounds?” When I want to take a shower at night, I think about whether or not it is wise. What if the Red Alert sounds? What would I do? I could not get out of the apartment in time. When we go to bed, we have to have an emergency bag packed, sitting on a chair just inside the door (our exit) of the apartment, with all our documents and valuables, just in case the Red Alert is sounded in the middle of our sleep. It is very difficult to describe the feeling that grabs hold of you when, suddenly, without warning, your life is interrupted by a Red Alert. Instantly, you tell yourself, “This is for real; a rocket is in the air right now, headed our way, to kill us!” You run to the door, grab your bag (that was pre-prepared) and head for the stairwell. All the while, you are praying, “Help us, Lord, to make it in time. Help all the innocents to be shielded from this missile of death.”
“With that in mind, imagine that you are a very elderly, battered, pain-ridden Holocaust Survivor, sitting in your apartment all alone in the dark of night.You recall the bombs being dropped, the explosions and the constant shooting, the shooting of Jews, friends and strangers and… your own precious family. As a Survivor, you try to think about pleasant things, to rid your mind of those past horrors;those last glimpses of your loved ones being murdered, the train cars, the extermination camps, the death-marches. As the elderly Survivor attempts to focus on today, on something beautiful-cruelly, TV news interrupts the Survivor’s world to tell her/him that a war has started once again and the enemy’s goal is to exterminate the Jews.
“Do you realize how this hits the Holocaust Survivor deep in their wounded hearts and how their mental scars begin to bleed again? Then, a familiar sound from long, long ago screams into their lives again, the horrifying sound of the air raid sirens. The terrified, semi-handicapped Survivor panics. What to do? What to do!?! They struggle to get up, and then search for…their glasses, the phone…or…”What should I take? Where to go?” The fear is giving them chest-pain. Their heads are spinning. Most of them never make it to a bomb shelter or a safe-room in time. They can’t. So, mainly, the majority of Survivors finally just sit in their apartment and… wait; they wait to see, “Will they kill me THIS time?” “Will those who hate Jews so much come back into my life and finish the job that they failed to do in 1943?” “Why does everyone want to kill us, the Jews?”
“But among the Survivors this summer, we find one after another whose nerves are frazzled. They ask us, ‘Why can’t they just let us live in peace? Nothing matters so much, our old age, our pains and disabilities, etc., IF ONLY we could just be allowed to live in peace!’ Some of the Survivors that we wanted to visit us told us, “‘Thank you, but no thank you this time. We are too nervous with what is going on and do not feel like talking with anyone. We are sorry. Maybe next time, if we have peace again.’
“One of the Survivors that we visited last week showed us her little rug that she keeps by the door. When the Red Alert sounds, she makes it to the door as fast as her pain-filled legs, knees, and back will allow, grabs her rug (to sit on) and heads to the stairwell of the building. This should not be the daily routine for a 85-year old woman who went through the hell of the Holocaust. It is so tragic for these dear souls!
“I have shared this in order for you to gain insight into the present plight of these Holocaust Survivors. They are suffering AGAIN. One sees the deep, intense ache in their heart, in the reflection of their wearied eyes and their pain-battered countenance. Would you, please, remember them now? Would you, please, take the time out of your day to pray for these precious Survivors. These elderly Survivors are having to re-live, in real-time, the fear of death by violence, once again.”
-J&A, Volunteers, US Citizens