‘I Want Them to Believe That Coexistence Is Possible’

Stand for Israel  |  May 4, 2019

Missiles are fired from Israel's Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on May 4, 2019. - Gaza militants fired a barrage of rockets at Israel, which responded with strikes as a fragile ceasefire again faltered. (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Here is a report on the day’s events written earlier today by Efrat, a Fellowship staff member in Israel who spent the day searching for safety with his family:

The first siren at Moshav Yad Natan was heard this morning at about 10:00 am. We ran to the protected area with our children and gathered our cats and dogs.

We decided to take a trip to a more remote area to save our children from a difficult and dangerous experience. After a short time, the Home Front Command told us to leave, and said that the site was closed due to the security situation.

As I listened to the news, I heard that about 100 rockets had been fired [editor’s note: as of this posting, more than 250 have been fired at Israel]. So what did we do?

We decided to go further towards Beit Shemesh, assuming that it was quieter there. We reached the forest near Beit Shemesh and sat down for a picnic with the children, sure we had traveled far enough.  Next to us was a Muslim Arab family, and everything was okay for about a half an hour. Then alarms started there as well.

We lied down with the children attempting to protect ourselves. The family next to us also lied down, and I thought to myself…what a split reality here. The possibility of coexistence and peace exists, but above our heads there is another dimension of a different reality: war. We cleaned up the picnic and went to my tiny car. The little ones were very disappointed. Just before we left, I asked the Muslim family next to us whether they were going or staying. And we looked at each other for a moment without words, but with an open heart.

I did not really know how to explain to my children who ask questions about the people with the kaffiyehs [an Arab headdress] next to us. In my heart I want them to believe that coexistence is possible.

The road home was fraught with sirens, uncertainty, and missiles crossing the sky over the nearly empty roads. There was the feeling that we were the only crazy people out of the house. I asked myself: Is there really a protected space anywhere? Anything could happen.

Deep in these thoughts of fear and survival, I raised my eyes to heaven and asked for peace, security, coexistence, and the belief that everything is possible — for us, for our people, and for the people of Gaza.

Now we are at home and the streets are quiet. We’re all in close proximity to the “protected area,” but I think of the families on whose home a rocket fell.

Good night.

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