These past two months have been emotional and physical rollercoasters. Each day holds some kind of surprise (usually not a good one). Each day the political statements are polar extremes going from one direction to the other. So much happens in a day here I can hardly stay up to date. More than 60 soldiers have been killed, one was supposedly taken captive, but it turns out he was also killed from a suicide bomber that left 3 soldiers dead. The army seems to think they have exploded all the tunnels, but we still have to stop the rockets. Israel is pulling out most of the soldiers from Gaza and they need to move on to the next stage. Very little news gets out, only on a need-to-know basis.
Our area goes from quiet to very active in the matter of an hour. We have missiles landing, sirens, exchange of machine gun fightstunnels being blown up, tanks shooting, helicopters, and airplanes flying over head. Then there might be a period of quiet. Then it all starts again.
On top of everything else our electricity is sometimes turned off for different reasons. A few times it was because there was an infiltration from one of the Hamas tunnels so they shut off electricity so not to help the terrorists and so that they don't see where people are at home. Even lights aren't allowed on cars coming to certain kibbutzim at times like these so Hamas won't shot with short range missiles at the car. One day a missile landed on an electricity pole in a nearby kibbutz and knocked out the electricity for the whole area . Another time there was an army operation and they needed to turn off the electricity. Some of these border kibbutzim share a fence with Gaza. Hamas snipers shoot through the fence at the farmers working in their fields . Many kibbutzim stand empty these past few weeks.. Many people from moshavim have also fled the area.
The towns and cities are almost empty. Stores and resturaunts are either open and empty or closed until the war is over. Businesses are failing, planes have threatened to stop coming, many people have cancelled their visit to Israel. Farmers and their workers can't harvest the crops. Those who do continue to work are usually risking their lives to do so. Many of our exports have been cancelled by misguided opinions of Israel in other countries. We are feeling the pinch. Despite all this Israelis remain optimistic. We have enemies all around and each has called Israel into war at one time or another, (Gaza, three times so far) so we know what it's like to have to bounce back after a fall. Israelis also have incredible sense of humor, however black it may be. They can turn a song of Hamas singing about killing Jews into a funny song about surviving it. They always keep their heads and spirits up looking forward to tomorrow.
We are also always the "first in the world " to have some latest technology to deal with Muslim terror: first suicide bombers, then missiles, now tunnels.
The next problem is Gaza. What to we do with Gaza? Back when Egypt and Israel made peace, Begin thought to give Gaza to Egypt, but it was a small place back then with only 200,000 people. We wanted peace so he didn't force it. But now it's a population of almost 2 million people, many of them terrorists. They are a weak people with no direction and no real goal or help from their Arab brothers. All their leaders have used them for their own gain. They have been denied every basic necessesity from their beginnng. Every other Arab nation turned a blind eye to their needs just so long as they caused us trouble everyone (but them) was happy. For some reason although Israel has never wanted it and the Gazans have never wanted to be connected to Israel, we have always been considered the "babysitter" of Gaza. We have to put up with their terrorism, their complaining, their laziness, their self pity, the mess they have made of Gaza and the mess they make of Israel. We have lost sons to their hate. They have completely ruined any hope of the Middle East becoming a travel destination or providing any economic boost to the area.
They have found a new profession though! Tunnels. They seem to be really good at it. And motivated. They should hire themselves out to dig tunnels for other countries or peoples who need them. Our army even found motorcycles inside some of the tunnels. Looks to me like they could really make a living from this. They have to careful though, Egypt now uses the tunnels Gaza dug into their country as a sewage dump. Perhaps they should just put their motivation and dedication into building a future for themselves .
While Hamas was threatening their people for leaving some specific neighborhood or Gaza altogether and buying their way into homes to dig their tunnels, the citizens of Israel gathered together for outpouring of love and support. People were coming from all over the country representing the whole spectrum of society bringing homemade cards and food, clothes, toiletries, and other gifts for the soldiers. The army made continuous announcements begging people not to come to the south because it was endangering their lives, but that didn't deter them. People were showing up in hospitals whereever soldiers were injured and recovering from the war to visit and bring gifts. We all felt that we had to show our guys and gals how much we appreciate and love them. This is Israel. This is why we survive. Love of Am Israel trumps all else.