The Middle East has been on fire for months. Years, really. Country by country. Revolution by revolution. Army by army. Person by person.
I have watched the tweets go by since the beginning of the Arab Spring. Atrocities and triumphs. I feel disconnected, but aware. Horrified, but hopeful. Somewhat informed, but neutered in my ability to help anywhere in the world.
This week attention has once again shifted to the Middle Eastern country closest to my heart and full of personal friends. Israel. The rockets from Gaza into Israel were greater in frequency, then the IDF retaliated.
Rockets. Missiles. Missile defense. Air raid sirens. Leaflets falling. Running to bomb shelters. Tweeted propaganda. Through it all, each side is doubling down on old tropes. Dehumanizing the other side and detailing generations of fighting.
I have friends across the political spectrum with regards to Israel. I continue to follow friends far to the right and far to the left of me. I think it keeps me properly unbalanced and that’s where I want to be. I don’t want to be certain that anyone has the right to kill anyone else. While I believe in the right to self defense, I don’t want to believe in a world that needs to much of it.
I don’t want to double down on an old story that dehumanizes the enemy. I don’t want to see my friends in danger. I don’t want to see the silence as friends get called up from reserves back into the army. I don’t want to cancel my vacation to Israel that is scheduled for Thanksgiving break.
As I sit down to Shabbat dinner with friends tonight, we’ll pray for peace. We’ll gingerly talk about Israel and Gaza. We’ll hope for a meaningful cease fire when we wake up on Saturday morning.