Too Many Wars

The Fellowship  |  February 16, 2024

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(Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

Miriam Lock, a Fellowship staff member in our Jerusalem office, shares her remembrance of the October 7 attacks on Israel.

On October 7, I was staying with my son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren in Tzur Hadassah, a twenty-minute drive from my home. We were celebrating the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah, which is a holiday that kids love. There is always lots of singing and dancing, and the synagogue is filled with small children sitting on their fathers’ shoulders and waving flags. It looked like it would be a nice, warm, early autumn day spent with family. I certainly was not expecting anything out of the ordinary to happen.

About 8:00 AM, I was brushing my teeth when I heard a strange sound. It was so unexpected that at first, I did not recognize it for what it was – a siren indicating that a missile had been shot in our direction. “Quickly, get into the safe room!” my daughter-in-law said as I opened the bathroom door about to ask, “Did you hear that noise?” She herded my three grandchildren, ages 6, 4, and 2, into the safe room (which luckily is their bedroom), and I joined them.

Not knowing what was happening, I didn’t have any time to be scared, as I immediately went to “fun grandmother” mode. We took out toys and games from the shelf and began to play with the kids. But there wasn’t just one siren – every time we left the room, a few minutes passed and there was another.  We’d run back into the safe room and take out a different game for the kids. When they said they were scared, we reminded them that we were in the safe room, and that Israel’s strong army would protect us.

Learning of the Hamas Attack

We didn’t know what was happening at that very moment in the south of Israel.  We are Sabbath observant, so we didn’t turn on the news or make phone calls to get more information. In retrospect I am glad we did not know – for a few more hours, at least – about the horrors of the murderous infiltration of Hamas terrorists into Israel’s Gaza border communities.

The sirens eventually stopped. The kids played in the living room, and we even took them out for a little while, staying close to home. My son’s neighbor, a young mother of four kids, came over to say her husband received a call up notice from the army. My son went out to afternoon prayer services and heard about others being called up to the reserves. He was not called up himself. Something was happening in the south, but we did not know the details until the evening.

I guess there is some bliss in not knowing. But soon enough, of course, we found out what had happened. I remember reading the news on my cell phone. I couldn’t understand how Hamas terrorists had made it over the border and into the towns and kibbutzim near the Gaza border. It was the nightmare of all nightmares. I was in shock, yet still not completely surprised. The evil dragon Hamas had raised its head for all to see what they are capable of. On the one hand, it was terrifying. On the other hand I knew that the IDF and the people of Israel have the strength and the ability to fight back.

A War Unlike Any Other

Now, I thought that evening as I absorbed the truth of what had happened, the world will understand what the state of Israel is dealing with. I prayed that the people who make the decisions in this country will make the right ones to defeat the enemy so that we can go on with our lives. My heart broke for the soldiers and civilians who were murdered that day, and for the hostages who were so close and yet so far.

It was the beginning of a war unlike any other war Israel has fought, and there have been a lot of wars … too many.

Fifty years ago, during the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli singer Yehoram Gaon sang a song called “The Last War”. The song begins, “I promise you, my little girl, that this will be the last war.”

Could this be the war that will make Yehoram Gaon’s song come true?

Miriam Lock

February, 2024

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