I'm tired and haven't been sleeping well. There are a lot of things on my mind. When I was little, I would get this way and my parents would ask me what was wrong. I'd start explaining everything, listing all the things that would bother me and somehow, they'd figure out the one or two things that had really brought me down. Later in life, when I tried to help myself find the cause of these moods, I noticed that if I made a list, the things that really bothered me would simply appear more often than others.
It isn't working today. Perhaps there are too many, perhaps it is the weather. But here's a list anyway:
Hamas fired a missile at Ashkelon early this morning, just as children would be leaving their homes to go to school. I heard about it as I drove my younger children to school. Can you imagine being in a car and hearing a siren; desperately looking for a place to hide? One mother had that experience a few weeks ago. She followed instructions and pulled to the side of the road, got her small son out of the car and ran for cover. She didn't make it to safety and her precious son was badly injured. Had she kept driving, she would have been fine. This time, the rocket landed in the heart of Ashkelon, causing damage and shock, but no serious bodily harm. They fired a mortar later in the day; no reports of injuries.
Yesterday - more rockets, one interrupted a matriculation exam, sending the kids to the sheltered room...yeah, I'm sure they did real well after they returned to the room to finish the test. My son took a matriculation exam last week and believes he did well. He entered the room, took the test, and left. The thought that a siren might sound at any moment never crossed his mind. He focused on the test and believes he did well. Don't the children of Sderot deserve this simple reality too?
So, is that it? The core of what is bothering me? It certainly would be enough to depress anyone and yet, it isn't that. In a sick and sad way, I've come to expect the rockets and the mortars, our government's inaction, the world's apathy. There will be no condemnations from the halls of the United Nations...at least until we respond again.
I think it is depressing that after all that happened in the last month, Hamas still doesn't get it. They didn't understand, didn't believe that Israel would really finally reach the breaking point and declare that enough was enough. Now, having fought this war, Hamas is stupidly miscalculating again. It is enough to depress, and yet, I don't imagine that this is the issue.
Elections here are one week away. We choose between leaders who don't really focus on what is best for Israel; they are too focused on world opinion. We stopped this war, most of those involved in it believe, too early. We'd beaten Hamas back and down, but not out. Stopping the war will simply give them time to re-arm. Within a day of our stopping, Iran was promising to send missiles that would hit Tel Aviv. We already know that Hizbollah can hit Haifa from the North. That leaves a small band of land that, so far, seems to be outside rocket range. Very small. It's enough to depress anyone, that's for sure.
Iran put a satellite in orbit today using a missile - quite impressive - both France and the United States express concern. No offense...but that isn't going to help much. Iran is, as many of our leaders have told us, one of our greatest worries. There is little doubt they are working towards developing nuclear weapons, and little doubt who they plan to aim those weapons towards. The missile that took the satellite to outer space could easily hit Israel - all parts...there goes that tiny little strip of safety in our country. Of course, that same Iranian missile could also hit France and most of Europe (thus their sudden concern).
Hizbollah is posturing; Hamas is still shooting; Iran is threatening, and in the middle of all this, as if it weren't enough, the Pope welcomes a Holocaust denier...yeah, that went over real well. It's bad enough the Pope was a member of Hitler Youth and yes, I know that he says he was "forced" to join and "voluntarily" left the organization in 1945 (as the war ended, the Nazis were defeated, and the group disbanded). He says he is a friend of the Jews and condemns the Holocaust. So how in the world did he think Jews would understand his decision to lift the excommunication of a British bishop who denies that Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers?
That too is a depressing thought. I've been in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Maidanek. I've felt the evil, the hatred that chokes you in those dark and damp rooms. It's so hard to breathe there; pressed by the souls that still linger and find no peace even generations later.
I spoke to Elie in the evening, hoping that would lift my spirits. He's fine, even warm. They are setting themselves up on the new base, ready to be there a while. This will be our new reality for the next few months. It was a nice conversation - he's busy but calm. He's safe for now, though I am concerned that Hizbollah will start something somewhere to mark the one year "anniversary" of an arch-terrorist who was assassinated in Damascus last February. For now, it is a concern, not even something that has reached the level of worry. Elie says Hizbollah would be stupid to start something now; that Israel learned so much from the last disastrous war. In truth, I believe Elie is correct - just look at the Gaza War as proof that Israel will not so easily allow what happened three years ago to happen again.
"The army doesn't listen to the politicians," Elie told me again. That's his way of saying that the army understands that it is the army, and not the government, that is ultimately responsible for how a war is fought. Until the war breaks out, it is the government that rules. But once war becomes the current option for dialogue, it is the army's weapons that speak; the cannons and planes and tanks that tell our enemy of our determination.
Another war in the north...with Elie up there? Yes, that too is a crippling and depressing thought. But it's warm and sunny outside - ah yes, that too is depressing. Israel is in the midst of the worst drought we've ever had. The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are evaporating before our eyes. We need rain desperately...and the sky is clear and beautiful, the sun shining off the golden buildings in Jerusalem.
And finally, as if all this were not enough...I'm almost out of diet coke.