The Highs and Lows of Life in Israel

 One thing is for certain- life in Israel is never boring. The climate here is characterized by conflicting highs and lows.
With security threats and terrorist acts occurring routinely, it is easy to sink into a low. With each terrorist act, the country mourns together. News channels change to disaster mode and radio stations replace upbeat songs with quieter melodies.
If you stay here long enough, you will eventually know someone affected by terror in one way or another.
For me it happened during Operation Protective Edge. I was enjoying a Euro-trip abroad, as many college students my age do, when I heard that someone I knew from high school was killed. To hear that someone you knew personally was killed in war- is inconceivable. To realize that he never got the privilege to go to college, travel or do any of the 'normal' things someone his age should be doing is both shocking and devastating.
Yet I have found that out of these terrible lows, something seems to grow. The contrast of daily tragedies generates many 'highs' as well- moments of unity and solidarity. Israel's memorial day for fallen soldiers, for example, always occurs right before the celebrations of Independence day.
One way of dealing with constant tragedies is a feeling of togetherness. Israeli culture is characterized by it's warmness, openness, and 'family like' nature. Israelis seem to stick together in tough times, generating a strong sense of belonging. Only recently, a story came out about a random man on a train who decided to pay a solider's large debt to the electricity company because he overheard her phone conversation. These acts appear to be rarer in other countries.
As someone who has served in the Israeli army and is now studying at an international school in Israel, I see how much support is offered to Olim, adding to this connectedness. For many here, the word 'lone solider' is sacred. Lone soldiers are highly respected for their choice to leave everything and join Israel's cause. From endless donations to families inviting them for Shabbat, they are not so alone after all. Through this solidarity, a strong community is formed.
I have also noticed that people here seem to know the meaning of the saying “live in the moment.” Walk one day in the streets of Tel Aviv and you will understand this. A few days after there was a shooting on Dizengoff, a main street in Tel Aviv, Israelis organized an event of solidarity at the same pub where the shooting had taken place. Because of the surrounding security threats, people seem to have become stronger. They tend to follow the motto “seize the day” (maybe this is why Israelis are also known as one of the most frequent travelers worldwide).They have taught me to take life day by day and not take things for granted.
The complex situation in this little Middle Eastern country produces a one of a kind environment which you are probably not going to experience anywhere else in the world.