It is the middle of the night. My breath comes quickly. I grab a suitcase, throw in whatever my hands can reach, run to the children’s room and wake them, tell them to dress quickly for we must leave immediately. I take the baby in her sleep, I almost fall down the stairs, we run into the night, it’s cold, I hold the children close to me. My breath comes more and more quickly. My baby is crying, the older ones try to be brave, we run, in the distance I can hear helicopters, sirens, others like me running.. the sky explodes in a blinding, brilliant red…
And I wake, sweating...
For weeks now, this scene has repeated itself almost every night.
This is what we have come to.
The situation in the Middle East is today is frightening to say the least. Nobody could have predicted what happened in the last months, and nobody knows exactly where it is all going, but I can say one thing for sure: there were options… there were different roads that could have been taken. There were signs that went unheeded.
A wise man once said to me, when you point a finger to blame someone, remember, three of your own fingers are pointing back at you.
When the Arab spring started, there was hope and apprehension. Hope that these social-network incited demonstrations lead by young people who seek entry passes into the global community would lead to the toppling of dictatorships, the establishment of democracies and the improvement of living conditions for all; Apprehension that in the wake of the commotion , in lack of an alternate leadership, religious extremists (who always seem to be organized and ready for action) would hijack the revolution and pounce on to center stage, trampling hope and igniting the region to more violence.
Almost inevitably, both hope and apprehension have played out their predicted scenarios.
The Islamic brotherhood , Hamas ,Hezbollah, Assad, Ahmedinejad, Gaddafi and the likes, and their atrocities against their own people along with their denial of Israel’s right to exist are enough to instill fear and suspicion in the hearts of most Israelis and enhance the “never again” bunker attitude.
But, I will under no circumstances use their extroverted evil as an escape route into self-righteousness, letting my own leaders off the hook. This unfortunately seems to be common practice in Israel, starting with our government and seeping down into almost every corner of society.
I am tired of being politically correct. Now is not the time. Now I must fight for my home, for my children’s future, for their security!
Now is the time to say things straight.
No matter what side of the political fence you are on, there is no denying one simple fact: The present Israeli Government, led by Netanyahu, Barak and Leiberman, has led Israel to the cold isolation we are experiencing today, and to the brink of a political catastrophe that will very likely bring us to war.
From my point of view, the blame for this terrifying state we are in lies squarely on this government’s shoulders.
I have a whole arsenal of adjectives for the Netanyahu-Barak-Leiberman coalition, most of which I will leave to your imagination, but I will say this: they are extremely dangerous.
This government has consciously chosen the safe path to oblivion rather than the dangerous path to hope!
I am so deeply disappointed by the majority of my compatriots for allowing themselves to sink into a comfortably numb, comatose state of being, as everything we hold dear is systematically destroyed. How can it be that we will march the streets in the hundreds of thousands demonstrating against the high cost of living, but not to oust the government which is endangering our very lives??? What disease has thus blinded an entire society??
In just a few days, the Palestinians will go the UN to ask for recognition of statehood. Just as we did all those years ago.
I say: good luck Palestine! Good luck President Mahmoud Abbas!
(by the way, here is a quote from President Abbas that I find to be admirable: “Our first, second and third priority is negotiations. There is no other way to solve this. No matter what happens at the United Nations, we have to return to negotiations. We don’t want to isolate Israel but to live with it in peace and security. We don’t want to delegitimize Israel. We want to legitimize ourselves”...)
I say to the Palestinians: if you are recognized, as well you should be, I congratulate you! I wish you all the best for your new state. I wish for fruitful collaboration between us on every level, for peaceful borders and constructive relations. Let us quickly sit and resolve all our issues: we are already so close, the solutions are well know, let’s sign a treaty and get on with our lives alongside each other.
What a shame that this moment comes without negotiations, without an agreement, without a blessing from Israel?? How have both sides managed to avoid the inevitable for so long? How has Israel’s government missed every opportunity presented to it, ignored the numerous invitations, implorations, desperate cries of its allies and neighbors, to take the road of dialogue and compromise? How can this be accepted??
So since this is a democracy (at least for now), I, Noa, am raising my lone voice to say: this government does NOT represent me!! I find their behavior to be shameful and ineffective, and the consequences, detrimental , even catastrophic, for the state of Israel and for the security and future of every citizen here, including my own children!
I say, “Love your brother as you love yourself”. I believe there is no substitute for dialogue and compromise. I believe that if we courageously and responsibly begin a dynamic of peace, it will grow exponentially and seep into the hearts and minds of every individual in the Middle East. I believe it is in our power to change our reality. I refuse to succumb to the politics of fear and loathing, the poisoning of minds happening everywhere in our region and in my country as well. And if peace fails...well, we can always go back to war, can’t we? We seem to be good at that in the Middle East.
War is the cowardly choice of men who lack the courage, the integrity, the elegance and wisdom to make peace.
I am a woman and I have plenty of the above. So here I am, raising my voice for whoever will listen.
If there is a God, or any other power of love and kindness in the universe, I call upon her now. She is desperately needed.