Monday, July 21, 2014

Do you need me to die?

Dear world,

Do you need me to die? That sounds like a silly question. Of course, you don't need me dead. Please God (funny, coming from me), in two months, I'll bring into this world a son, and teach him to be a good, kind man. I spend my days fundraising for an organization that aims to end racism and discrimination in the land in which I live. I vote in elections. I tip right, I follow the rules of the road. Why would you want me dead?

Here's the thing: every time I read the news, there's a casualty count: X Israelis dead, several hundred Palestinians.

Therefore, they're right, and we're wrong. Because more of them are dead.

So I ask again, do you need me to die?

Do you need my blood to justify Israel's reaction to rockets falling everywhere?

It's clear that my fear is not enough. My friends sending their husbands off to fight, my husband's family sending his relatives, my leaving a robe and shoes next to my shower in case Hamas sends a rocket while I shower, that's not enough.

It's not enough that I sleep with pajamas on that would be presentable to the neighbors, or the fear that ran down my neck last week when I was driving and a siren went off and I had to run for cover.

You see, dear world, I don't run so easily these days. My belly is swollen with child, and so I would think perhaps my fear would be enough to satiate you.

Do you need me to die? How many of us would justify our response to the rockets raining down? The sweet child who lives upstairs with the curly hair--the one who's always attached to her mother in the shelter? Or the little girls who play ping pong as we wait for the booms? What about the awkward pre-teens on our floor? Do you need our whole building to die, before you'll get it?

We're not dying because we've built a society designed to help us LIVE. We've created an Iron Dome to stop rockets, and ensured that there are shelters or safe spaces nearly everywhere. We're not dying because we and our leadership have chosen life, despite the PR death would certainly bring. In the nine years since Israel pulled out of Gaza, Hamas has chosen death.

I am devastated for the people of Gaza. They, too, deserve shelters from attacks. They, too, should be able to prevent civilian casualties. It's not fair. I shouldn't value their children more than their leadership does.

And if you care about them, and that casualty number which is all important to you, you should be ANGRY.

Angry that their democratically elected leadership fire missiles from their homes, making them legitimate targets for war. Angry that they don't value their children enough to tell all parents to take children to safe spaces. Angry that they would plant missiles in a school.

But you're not angry, dear world, not at the Palestinian "leadership" of Hamas.

You're angry at us--Israel. At me. Because I'm not dead, I'm just scared.

And most of the time, I don't even have to be scared, because I have all those shelters and an amazing army fighting to defend me while not raising that casualty number, and I know that I'll probably be ok.

But I'm not going anywhere. We're not going anywhere. You can trend a hashtag on Twitter with Hitler's name--you've tried before, and you won't wipe us out now, either, despite making my husband's grandfather with memories of Auschwitz run for his shelter.

And I've got news for you. If you're not as angry about what's happening in Syria as what's happening in Gaza, don't delude yourself that you're about human rights. Many more people are dying there, with no efforts to minimize casualties.

So let's call it what it is. You're paying close attention to Israel's action in Gaza with no regard to people being massacred in Syria, or Iran, or North Korea or Sudan. You're trending Hitler on Twitter, and you're publishing casualty reports as though they mean something more than mere numbers.

You hate Jews. You're an anti-semite. If you weren't, you'd care about these other issues--you'd care about people starving, and dying, you'd post about that, too. It wouldn't just be about the Jews, for the umpteenth time. There would be an uproar over what's happening in Syria.

So let's call it what it is, dear world, and then please accept my apology.

I'm sorry.

I'm not leaving.

This is my state.

And if you need my blood to show you that Israel isn't wrong or power hungry or crazy?

That's just too bad. I have work to do--ending discrimination against Israel's Ethiopian community. I have to grow my baby and make sure I eat right. I have to sit in cafes with friends, and go to movies with my husband and eat Shabbat dinner with my family. I'm a little busy.

So you'll have to forgive me, dear world. I have no intent of dying, no matter how badly you might wish otherwise.


  1. Yes, yes, yes. Excellently said.

  2. Bless you, Rachel. May the God of Israel protect you all.

  3. Shalom Rachel. May you and the child you carry, and all you love in Israel be blessed forever more, as it is written. Amen.

  4. Thank you for your encouraging words, unknown but lovely commenters, and thank you for reading.

  5. Rachel....your words are so eloquently and powerfully written. Here we are, in Canada, in Toronto, living a peaceful life, with no fear of rockets falling on our homes or on our children. I am beyond angry with the media; the constant attention to the dying Palestinians and the aggressor Israel. But I am so very proud of our Prime Minister, standing side by side with Israel and it's right to defend it's country. I am proud to be a Jew, proud to be a Canadian and I no longer care to defend myself to those who wish us dead. I pray that G-d will protect you, your child, your family and our country of Israel.

    1. Thank you, Philip! I would note that the dying Palestinians are also a full and terrible tragedy; ours is not lessened by sharing in their sadness. Thank you for your prayers, and I hope you'll keep reading!

  6. Many blessings and a special prayer of protection for you and your family.

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