When terrorists in Gaza started flying fiery kites over the border into Israel, raining down danger and destruction, it underscored that terror is a constant in Israel – and an ever-evolving one. Merav Blum, a college student in Israel, has experienced this truth firsthand.
When Merav first moved to the Israeli city of Sderot to attend college, it was a place of relative peace. Several months ago, that changed. Red alert sirens warning of incoming rockets and the smell of burning fields are now her regular realities. In a moving essay in The Times of Israel, she grapples with her new normal.
. . . Even still, when people ask me how it’s going living where we live, I so badly want to answer like her and say “you know, it’s life. We handle it, we’re Zionists and we are brave!” But I don’t. I feel sad and scared that the apartment we spent so many hours transforming into our first home as a married couple doesn’t feel much like that right now. Sometimes I even feel that I may have made a mistake choosing to live in Sderot, because of the anxiety it causes me. Because of the emergency medication in my wallet for the panic attacks I know are bound to come when the next barrage of missiles begins.
But then, I breathe. I close my eyes and weigh all parts of this complicated reality. I imagine the hot summer afternoons, the DJ jamming in the main square of the campus, the popsicles that the student union passes around. I remember the first Sderot marathon a few months ago where the entire city – including me – came out and ran alongside the fear. I think about the resilience I need to prove to myself every single day there. I think about gratitude and how every quiet moment is never taken for granted. Every day with no siren is a gift, a day more appreciated.
. . . I am just one story – one student who chose during a time of supposed peace to move to a blossoming city, but who is now confused. There are thousands more like me. With stories of fear, bravery or both. We are the reason our country still thrives, because we don’t leave, no matter how scared we are. Because we know how to weigh the enormous benefits of life in the periphery against the equally enormous challenges.
Join us in keeping Israel and her people in our prayers.