When Standing With Us Is Not Enough

Hey there, my diaspora brothers. This one is for you.

I’ve been watching you intently on social media during my terror filled days. Clinging onto every single post of support. Savouring every sentence of strength sent my way. Cherishing every outcry for truth and honest reporting in the face of blatant bias and unprofessional journalism.

I have always been a believer in the power of the written word. I have always been moved by words, driven by rhetoric, fueled by the power of the pen. And in times of diplomatic war, words are often the best weapon.

But aside from the vicious war of words, we here in Israel are fighting something else: a war of survival, pure and simple. You, my constant supporter, don’t need to be told what we face here daily. I know that you know.

And while my heart fills with gratitude for your ongoing posts and blogs, there is something you need to know. There is no easy way to say this. Not in times like these, when unity is so desperately called for. I do not want to open a Pandora’s Box. But I cannot stay silent when my brothers and sisters in Israel are bleeding.

The following is a glimpse of a closed Facebook group I am proud to be part of: “Women of Efrat”. Its members are my friends and neighbours. Some are the strongest women I know. Victims of terror. Mothers of soldiers. Motivators. Initiators. The glue that holds me together in these toughest of times. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart for allowing these somewhat private sentiments to go public. Because you must know:

“All our friends/ family/ friends of friends on FB these days are so great about posting support for us and for Israel, disgust at our enemies, the unfair press, the world (non) reaction. They seem to really care, to feel it, to want to help. But I have to ask – where the hell are they??…Do we really need their FB posts filled with exclamation marks if they can’t put their money where their mouth is and show up here to give some real emotional and financial support to this country? ?…Maybe I’m just sick of ”taking it for the team” once again while they just sit in the stands.”

”Israel is not Disneyland, it’s our Mother Land. It’s home. The time to come is not just when the weather is great and the lines are not too long. ”

” I do not understand why I keep seeing people from the US posting video clips of piguim (terror attacks)…writing ‘no words’ to anything…and blasting their support from AFAR. Just come home, otherwise, I’m not really interested in what you have to say in our ‘support’ ”

”…but when they do come on vacation, it still kind of pisses me off. It’s like the country that we sacrifice so much for is an amusement park for their personal enjoyment. ” ”And another thing, I’m tired of holding down the fort. Why are their kids any more special than mine? Why do my kids have to live thru this and one day soon serve while theirs get to party and be carefree teenagers? !?!??!”

I can see you shifting in your seat uncomfortably. Maybe you’re already reaching out for your list of reasons and circumstances. Or maybe you’re shaking your head in indignation at the seeming lack of appreciation for your efforts at making our voice heard to the world.

Put down your list. Stop shaking your head at me. And hear me out, my brother and sister. It’s not that we do not appreciate your support. It’s not that your outcries, your war of words, your holiday visits and your donations do not mean the world to us. It means everything.

And yet – it cannot be everything. Not this time around.

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Just over a year ago, when an entire army turned over every stone here in Gush Etzion, looking for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali hy”d, I learned something about this country of mine.

I learned it while signing up for a Google spreadsheet stating what I would bring to the dinner BBQ that Efrat was hosting every evening for the soldiers based here. I learned it while reading how the local mikvahs would open their showers to these soldiers. I learned it while witnessing my best friend create care package after care package for them.

There is no other country in the world, where the home front is so inherently connected to the battle front. And there is no other country in the world where the home front can so easily become the battle front.

And now, the entire Israel is one big battle front. Whether it’s here in Gush Etzion, Jerusalem, Raanana, Be’er Sheva or Kiryat Gat, the entire Israel is waging a war of survival.

You see, we are now the battle front – your battle front. And you, my brothers and sisters, are needed as the home front. Our home front.

And from my experience, home fronts don’t just post and like. They DO. They organise, initiate, nurture and care. They are the driving force behind the battle front.

So next time you want to post something in our support, by all means, do so. But don’t just stop there. See if you can help someone organise a basket for a soldier. Gather some friends and say tehillim for the wounded. Buy online from an Israeli business. Plan your next holiday here.

And for those of you still shaking your heads at the above sentiments, rest assured. We are neither bitter nor resentful. We have no inferiority or superiority complexes. But sometimes we are tired. Sometimes we feel extreme pain. Sometimes we feel a bit lonely when we are burying loved ones while you are posting pictures of your kids’ Halloween costumes. Yet at the end of the day we feel privileged to be the ones holding down the fort.

And for those of you who feel able to join us here, there is no better time come. We are waiting for you. And if you cannot, for whatever reason, then do whatever it takes to connect with us.

Because the home front never forsakes the battle front.

Don’t just stand there.


Image from Seth Werkheiser.