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Fear, Threat, and Devastation in the Holy Land

Violence and stabbings on the streets of Israel make it difficult to remain hopeful. Sometimes the fear takes over, and people start to hold on to loved ones a little longer, imagining what they would do if a terrorist attacked their family or friends. The Times of Israel’s Nechama Eisenman writes a powerful essay describing the raw fear so many Israelis can’t escape from:As I walk down the street to catch my ride to work, I am suddenly aware that I have been mindlessly scrolling through my phone. Remembering the admonition to remain fully alert at all times, I put away my phone and focus, instead, on what my initial reaction might be if I were shot at. Would I crouch down? Would I fall to the ground and play dead? Would I actually be dead? I banish these thoughts as I enter my co-worker’s vehicle.Work. I try to focus, I really do. But with the constant news updates and refreshing of a Facebook feed that produces nothing but carnage and blood- footage not meant to be watched or experienced and certainly not committed — I am paralyzed with fear. Spreadsheets pale in comparison to the horror movie I find myself suddenly transplanted into…I realize that I have been staring at a blank email, with only the greeting written, for about ten minutes. I minimize it and glance over at my officemate. He is utilizing his lunch break to search for guns online — which weapon will best protect him in an attack? He debates between the magazine that holds 14 bullets and the one that holds 10. I dazedly observe what has become my existence and bolt for the bathroom. I need to be somewhere safe, somewhere confined…I return to my desk to see a trend of internet posts, urging us not to submit to fear, to not let the terrorists win. But guess what? I feel fear. I’m scared out of my mind. I’m scared OF my mind. I feel tremendous guilt every time I snap at my husband because what if I won’t get the chance to say “I’m sorry?” I’ll happily read my kid Dr. Seuss’s What Pet Should IGet? a hundred times because what if “tomorrow” never comes?...Because life isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow. And for the shattered families of the wounded and murdered, there is no happy ending.

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