November 12, 2012 | 9:43 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
This weekend, once again, the people of Southern Israel were under attack. Missiles fired from Gaza exploded in the middle of cities, and people were wounded, both physically and mentally. This weekend was also the formal beginning of winter time here. After an everlasting summer, the rain started to pour and the smell of winter filled the air. The people of the south did not smell the rain. Instead, they smelled smoke, and the mold-scent of the inside of shelters.
While the people of the south stayed inside the shelters, we, who live in central and northern Israel, stayed inside our blankets. This is the reality in Israel- some are under attack, while the rest read about it in the newspaper. This reality, however, is not new to us: In the 1991 Gulf war, the sky above Tel Aviv and central Israel was covered in red, while the southern and northern skies were all blue. In 2000, during the second Intifada, I was not allowed to go on a bus, or sit in a restaurant, because of the fear they might explode. At the same time, my northern friends were drinking chocolate milk at their favorite restaurant. In 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, my southern friends and I could both lie near the pool and enjoy the summer, while our northern friends lived inside their shelters.
It's a bit weird, isn't it? How such a small country can be so disconnected and run a very different daily routine...I do not remember the last time the entire state of Israel was under an attack at the same time. But the thing about us is that even though the reality is different in the different areas, the rest of us never close our hearts and arms. The gap between one reality to another just makes us grow stronger against the ones who want to destroy our lives as individual and spirit as a nation. Every time one area is struck, the people who live there know they have a place to go. In every single strike, some of those who were under attack found shelter in a safe place. Strangers opened their hearts and houses and hosted with kindness those whose houses were brutally destroyed by terrorists.
Those terrorists think they can wear us out, burn out our flame. But while they can destroy houses, and scare children, they cannot destroy Israel's most powerful weapon- solidarity. I don’t know every single state in the world, but I have a very good reason to believe Israel is the most solid place on earth. True, we have no idea how to stand properly in lines, and we can sometimes be a bit hot-headed when we think someone is trying to rip us off. However, when needed, we unite into one powerful wall of people that no one can break, especially when it comes to security. When one is unsafe, another will reach out. That's just how it is, and how it will always be. At times, it is easy to be angry with those who continue to live their lives while others cannot, but in our case, it is a proven fact that this gap between one city to another is an advantage in our war against our enemies. The fact that there are people who still enjoy the first rain proves we cannot be broken. We will never give up on our spirit, and will never leave a fellow Israeli without a safe haven in times of need. This reality, under which the people of the south are living, should not exist. I have no idea why it still does, but I am sure our decision makers will soon know what to do. Terror must be stopped, and the only way to do so is to unite against it. Until the heads of the states of the world will find a way to do so, it is up to us, the people, to maintain our flame and to not let our wall break.
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