What It's Like to Live Here

A text came in asking, “Are your kids all right?”


Life in IsraelJun 22, 2016

Life in IsraelJun 22, 2016


A memorial for the Sarona attack in Tel Aviv (Image by Bolter21 (Own work) [CC0 or Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commonsa)

By

Wednesday night, June 8, 2016. We were at home, watching a show on television. I was crocheting a blanket for my daughter in law's parents. The episode of the program was riveting, and a text came in asking, "Are your kids all right?" It was from a dear friend, who knows that some of my kids live in Tel Aviv.

I knew it had to have been an attack, so accustomed are we to this outrage in this part of the world. Not wanting to alarm my husband and daughter, I looked at YNET on my ipad and saw there had been a shooting at the upscale, trendy Sarona neighborhood at our favorite chocolate restaurant.

I texted my daughter, son and daughter in law. They were all present and accounted for. My kids’ friends did not answer and I began to worry. Neither did the principal of my school. Another friend's child did answer. She was o.k. Finally the other kids called and I heard from the principal. All of them were safe, but four people were not. The funerals have been held, and there were four missing at the Shabbat table last night. The pain of losing those who had been so vibrant and full of life and hope is excruciating for those who have survived.

I was angry. I was frustrated by the relentless onslaught that would wreak havoc on a lovely pre-summer evening. I was angry at the casting of blame. I was frustrated by the lack of progress toward any meaningful solution. I was saddened by the "yes, but" response of some Palestinians. The feeling of vulnerability frightened me.

The analyses poured in. The pundits and would be experts all weighed in with their opinions. I found myself embroiled, in the next day or so, with discussions that were pointless. Here, then, is my conclusion. This is based on over twenty years of living in the country and working with Jewish/Arab reconciliation. And, it came from an unlikely source. It came from an Australian who was visiting and bought a thousand dollars’ worth of chocolate to distribute from Max Brenner, the chocolate shop that had been the scene of the attack. He said we needed to buy out the store! We needed to buy a chocolate bar for ourselves and one to give away. This had been my initial response as well! When I heard, I said to my husband, "I want to go there, to eat at the restaurant!"

This, then, is the solution. Wherever and whenever there is darkness, infuse it with light! Infuse it with hope and infuse it with love. This is the answer. Choose life, so that you and your children may live. Choose life, and seek positive and meaningful ways to build, to uplift and to encourage. Choose life and eat chocolate.

Am Yisrael Chai.

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About the Author: K. J. Kruger is a mother of four and has lived in Israel for over 20 years. As teacher, life coach, writer, and speaker, she has been passionately involved in reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, and sees her role as being part of tikkun olam. More articles by K. J. Kruger

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