Filed under: opinion | Tags: gaza, Hamas, IAF, idf, Israel, Jewish high school, posted by jpachefsky, Rocket Attacks, Travel
Two weeks ago we returned home from our ‘Senior Israel Experience’ – an educational trip where the senior class at the Jewish school I attend spends 3 weeks experiencing Israel. We left for Israel a day after Israel invaded Gaza (by air) due to the increased number of rocket attacks promoted by Hamas, and returned two days before the ceasefire.
Being in Israel during war time was a new experience for me. Throughout this trip, our group was getting security updates by the minute. One of the sadder moments on our trip, was when our beloved madrich (counselor)/medic/security guard, Didi, was called into active duty. It was sad to see him go, but we understood he needed to fulfill his duty to our country. Our original itinerary included visits to the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Kiryat Gat (Chicago’s Partnership 2000 – P2K – city; however, all of these visits were cancelled due to riots in eastern Jerusalem, and katushas falling on Kiryat Gat. While visiting Ir David (the City of David), we received a call from our security outlet (which gets constant updates from the IDF) telling us we needed to leave immediately due to a security concern in a neighboring Arab town. Our final security encounter occurred while we were in the Knesset – someone accidentally triggered the security alarm in a part of Jerusalem. During our tour, a security guard rushed over and told us we needed to head towards the bomb shelter immediately. About a minute later, we heard the all-clear, and understood that accidents happen. But it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Besides for several visits or events that were changed or effected by the war in Gaza, Israelis carried on with their lives. Israel has been in war or foreign induced peace since 1948 – Israelis understand that all the terrorists are not going to settle and they just need to keep on living their every day lives. Throughout the trip, I received calls from my family and friends telling me how horrible the war looked on CNN, Fox, and other media outlets. Granted we were not in a “war zone” – which som Americans automatically assume Israel is during a war – we saw clear blue skies (and the occasional rain storm) almost every day. I knew I could walk through the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and feel perfectly safe, knowing the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the IAF (Israeli Air Force), and all Israeli citizens, were working and living in Israel and beyond at every moment to keep our Jewish Homeland safe.
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