Sunday, July 30, 2006

An Israeli Perspective on the War
by a Friend

My answer to the email that follows this one:
Hi Maria,

I'm happy to hear you are ok. Why are you in
Israel? Are you with the World Bank or the UN?

Before you leave would you like a perspective
from the Palestinian side? I'm sure I can get
you an invitation from my in-laws on the West Bank.
They're nice, highly educated, warm, friendly
people. One niece is an attorney, another a
medical doctor. Her husband is a government
minister. It would be most enlightening for
you. They have cousins and an uncle who were
tortured in a "most disgusting way and then
killed” by the Israelis. If it's feasible let
me hear from you and I'll try to arrange it.
Arabs are the world's most hospitable people
provided you're not stealing their real estate
and I'm sure you would enjoy the visit.


Received from the List Serve of my Meeting
house today:
Currently stationed in Tel
Aviv I can offer an Israeli perspective:

...Let me start by thanking everyone who has emailed
to make sure I'm ok. I can't even begin to tell you
how much I appreciate knowing that people are
thinking about me or worrying. ...For those that
are worrying, no need. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
where I've spent most of the past 2 weeks),
are in about the middle of Israel. So far, the
bombs are only going off up North. Of course,
distance is > all relative since the country
of Israel is about the size of New Jersey.
We know Hezbollah has bombs that can hit us.
But right now, they don't seem to want THAT
kind of war. It would truly escalate things if
they bombed Tel Aviv. However, the country has
been through this before and is prepared. They
have an air raid siren system throughout the
country and can usually give you a minute to a
minute and a half warning if a bomb comes in...
Some of you may remember that in my first update
I commented how startling it was to drive
through a city my first day that looked like
almost any other city and arrive at my beautiful
apartment building. Then, as I walked through the
lobby, to see the sign for the bomb shelter.
It's interesting how life changes. The bomb
shelter startled me at first. Now most of us are
startled if we go into a building that doesn't
have one. But what I find truly amazing, is the
endurance of the Israeli people. Their country
is at war (for about the 7th time in 50 years).
And life goes on. They still go to work (even
people up north where the bombs are going off.)
They still go to the movies (in fact they were
sold out when I tried to go 2 weeks ago.)
And the beaches are full. They truly believe
in living life enjoying what you have.
...At the moment, I basically do everything that
needs to be done to help Americans. And we have
over 200,000 Americans here. (And 7 staff in our
department – two American officers.) So right now
we are very busy. And we do get a flow of
hysterical people... It's also quite startling
to sit at my computer in my living room -
looking out over the Mediterranean and watch
the military helicopters fly up and down the
coast. They come by about every 10 minutes. The
view has definitely changed in the past few weeks.
But I have had a lot of opportunities to work
towards ……. making a difference.

Some of you may be asking what I think of this war.
I finally responded, that I think its tragic. If
someone did the same thing to the U.S. that was
done to Israel, I would hope the U.S. would react
the same way. I find it funny how the news tends
to slant things. If you watch Fox its one way.
If you watch CNN its another. But what I don't
see many of them saying is that it's not just that
Hezbollah invaded Israel, killed 8 soldiers,
and kidnapped two soldiers. It's not just that
Hezbollah is notorious for killing all hostages
in an obscenely disgusting way. They have been
bombing Israel for years. It's a weekly occurrence
in the North to have towns living in bomb shelters
because of the rockets. And have small incursions
into Israel. And this is after Israel moved out
of southern Lebanon about 6 years ago after
pressure and assurance from the international
community that Hezbollah would not do this.
This was not a singular instance. It was just
the last straw. ...if you happen to be saying
any prayers, please add one for this region.
There has been so much death. And there is the
chance for so much more. I'm sure God is
watching. But a little message once in awhile
can't hurt.


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