Trails of smoke from Gazan rockets 390.
(photo credit:Amir Cohen / Reuters)
Walking down the street, I see news reporters interviewing civilians on their
experiences and reactions to the sound of sirens and the rockets flying above
their heads. I think about my own emotions, about what I might say if one them
asked me for an interview.
“Here we have Renaya Anbar, a new immigrant
from Chicago – Renaya, how do you feel about the current situation in Israel?”
“Well, that’s a pretty broad question, but in short I feel that it’s unfortunate
and frightening. And yet, my entire perspective on moving here has changed
“How so? Do you regret your decision to move here?” “On the
contrary. Whatever fragments of Zionist values I have acquired throughout my
life have suddenly become my central purpose for staying here. I never truly
understood my reasons were for moving here. I constantly fought with myself and
reminisced about the comforts of ‘home,’ and the temptation to move back and
away from this country of constant struggle was always in a corner of my mind,
penetrating my thoughts.
Overnight, the thought of being anywhere but
here has become completely inconceivable. Whatever doubts I had about creating
my life here, with all its challenges and frustrations, seem meaningless
“Well said, thank you, Renaya. Another siren beginning just
now over Tel Aviv!”
I AM a Jewish person and I am choosing to live in Israel. I
do not believe that the imminent danger we face in this current struggle against
Hamas will suddenly disappear from my life if I were to live in a far-away land.
The danger we face here is insignificant compared to the danger of a world
without the existence of Israel and the Jewish people that inhabit it.
cannot escape the fact that Jews have more than a right to exist on this earth,
we have an obligation to do so – and to the highest of human standards. Up until
four days ago, I was completely ignorant of the existence of a world where one’s
safety is threatened. No matter how many stories you hear about past wars, full
of victories and losses, nothing can prepare you for the moment you are suddenly
in the midst of incoming rocket fire.
It is in those moments that you
look around and the see the world through a completely different
Suddenly, you don’t question your feelings. You know you feel fear
and anger and no amount of political jargon can blemish your desire to get rid
of the people threatening your life and the lives of the ones you love. The
world has been turned right side up and the truth becomes the focus.
was not raised surrounded by Zionism. I was not persuaded to move to Israel. I
was raised in a simple Jewish home, where I was proud of my Jewish faith, but
not entirely observant of it. I enjoyed discussions about the wonders of the
Torah, but never read it from cover to cover. I believed that the Jews needed to
fight for their land and their lives, but never realized to what
My point being, that despite the fact that I was raised Jewish,
it was never my passion for Judaism and Zionism that drew me to Israel. I was
not one of those very self-aware Jews that came here with a mission and felt the
pride of having made their decision to leave home and create a new life in the
Jewish homeland. I was a floater. And I floated to the place that I had any
semblance of a connection to, if only for the simple reason that I am
Lucky for me that I did, because here I found my pride and my
place in the world. I know now that no matter how beautiful the mountains or how
tranquil the ocean is on the other side of the world, I will never be able to
settle for anything less than ISRAEL.
The writer is a 24 year old and a
new immigrant to Israel. She is from Chicago and made Aliyah with her family
under 2 years ago. She is currently a student in Tel Aviv, at Reidman College.
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