Israel, Israel at war, Israeli Army, Israeli life

Terror, Tomatoes & Tomorrows

I’m a writer. I love to write about the small and lovely things that happen to us in our daily lives in Israel. Sometimes I also write about our struggles as a nation and our personal struggles as parents of six present and future soldiers.

But lately it’s just been so hard to write.

To find the words.

To even know what to think.

The world appears to be losing its mind.

We all lost ours on October 7th, but we thought the world would join with us after that; that they would understand the evil that has invaded our borders, that threatens our lives and our very existence.

And somehow that reality has been flipped on its head. Twisted on itself across the globe in ways that bring feelings of deja vu of our people.

How, I don’t know. I don’t even begin to know.

And as I watched my alma mater, UCLA, go up in fireworks, graffiti, barriers, intense harassment and finally a violent fight on the green, I watch my country continue to struggle to breathe.

My day typically starts by checking in on at least one friend whose son is fighting.

I check in with my colleagues to see whose husband is in, whose brother has gone back in, whose son is where.

I look at the news to see which hostage has been declared dead, murdered 7 months ago in October 7th and dragged into Gaza; I look at the news to see the smiling faces of soldiers and to know who was killed in battle overnight or in a targeted bombing in the North, in the South. My heartrate elevates as I worry that I know them, that my sons know them; and then my heart sinks as I realize that someone – many someones  – knew and loved them. And that they will forever be shattered after this.

Last night my son returned to Keshet, in the Golan, to continue his studies.

And at about 10:20pm when I realized that I hadn’t had confirmation that he was back, I wrote to him.

“Hey, how’s it going? You back.”

Within seconds, surprisingly, I got a reply.

It was a picture of all of them laying on the floor, hands over their heads, waiting for the drone attack signal to end.

Last night I wrote to another son to see how his intense learning week was going.

He sent a picture of the life-sized banner they had placed at the front of the school for Shilo Rochberger, one of my older son’s best friends murdered in battle on the 7th. This is how they learn now, in high school; in memory of their classmates, their friends, their classmates’ siblings and parents, their alumni.

Tonight, my army son told us he’d be home really late. I told him to take a certain bus rather than another, to which he replied, “Mommy, I’ve fought in Gaza City. I think I’ll be ok.”

And my soul shattered a little bit more thinking about what he’s seen and where he’s been.

But he also sent a picture of bright red, beautiful tomatoes growing on a vine in the South; tomatoes that he spent the day picking to help out a farmer.

And my heart sang for the harvest growing in the land, despite the hatred, bloodshed and attempt to snuff us out. And my heart cried for the produce left fallow and the harvests that won’t be this year.

These are my daily interactions while the US debates whether to aid us, whether to help my own children who are fighting evil that has come to, and invaded far over, our doorstep; or whether to turn a blind eye to us and side with terror.

My car was sideswiped today in its parking spot in front of our house. I was happy that, at least, the person wrote to me to apologize and to make sure to pay when I get the car fixed. What a headache, I thought. I’ll have to take time from work for the estimate, for the body work, for the retrieval. And then she wrote, ”I’ve got two sons in reserve duty and one in the middle of the fighting in Gaza right now. I’m not sleeping. I’m so distracted. I’m really sorry.”

We are falling apart. Individually and collectively, we are a mess.

We need our hostages home. We need our homes back for hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the North and South. We need terror eradicated from our doorstep so that we can live normal, boring, everyday lives without fear of the atrocities of October 7th. We need our reserve fighters to be able to return to their families, jobs, studies and lives. And we need our enlisted soldiers to have the chance to stop risking their lives every second.

We need a world that understands this and stands up for us and screams and fights and demands better.

Because we deserve so much better for ourselves, our children, our nation, our collective memory and our future.

2 thoughts on “Terror, Tomatoes & Tomorrows

  1. You’re so right, Romi. Israel needs and deserves all of our support. What is happening on college campuses is disgusting. Where is the common sense and humanity? I am so disappointed in the U.S. response to what needs to be done to eliminate Hamas. How can we refuse to send promised ammunition? Our lives don’t depend on getting rid of the enemy as do yours.

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