Air Force Base
Day 14 of the war
This morning we drove Sara back to base, then stopped for coffee. Sara told me she had to sleep through the sounds of screaming jets when the IAF sent nonstop planes up to make sure the Syrian’s civil war next door didn’t spill over. It hasn’t, though Syrians are still killing each other, 170,000 and counting. Makes the current (wait, they are both current), the nearby (wait, they both border Israel) the southern border conflict seem puny. Small it may be, but the Gaza conflict engulfs all of Israel in it. Physically, the rockets hit south to north. Emotionally, because when we stop off the road for coffee and try to adjust to the sound of the loud the planes booming even from here, I remember that one fallen soldier came from this town. I wonder which house on the hill is his. There are no readable signs, such scars are invisible from the main road. It has been a week since that soldier, so the official visiting and mourning period just ended; day one of a new reality for that family.
Sara is cool as a cucumber in this conflict, though she is related to a soldier, knows dozens of others and spends her days living and working on an air force base large enough to have entrances in two towns, as a physical trainer to pilots and others who fly and manage the planes we hear that roar louder than the booms of the intercepts we heard at 3am in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, even though sound travels better at night. No wonder the new Wonder Woman is Israeli, ladies here are heroes!
We continued after coffee to a moshav farm community, like a kibbutz, in an area of Israel where Jewish and Arab communities dovetail. Mall next to minaret. Residents know each other, work together, buy goods from each other, share food. It is not the first time; Jews and Arabs have lived together over the millennia. It is not a different time or a different place. It is now, in Israel. This morning. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Before this war started. After it will end.
Coming away from this pastoral area where Jews and Arabs both live, I realize that day 14 in, I don't know what this war is trying to achieve.Why do we let the agenda be hijacked by those who want a fight? The air force is darn impressive, but letting peaceful masses dominate would be more impressive, and the pity is, that is most of us. But here we are.