It was a sunny afternoon, it was actually Jerusalem Day which is a festive day celebrating how Israel regained control of the Holy City, the Jewish Capital after 19 years of brutal Jordanian occupation.I sat down on my couch with a cup of coffee after enjoying a hot shower.
I had been at the Damascus Gate reporting to my followers on social media after Arabs had once again turned the Temple Mount into a war zone, attacking Israeli police.
My plans to take part in the beautiful flag parade that was going to take place down through The Old City was brutally interrupted by a sound that made my blood freeze: For the first time since living in Jerusalem, I heard an actual siren sounding through God's Holy City. I could barely believe it. It must be a mistake; I quickly ran to my balcony, and I froze.
Yes, the siren was real, I fumbled with my phone and went live on my personal Facebook page.
I can’t remember what I said but I felt my eyes getting wet and I felt a huge lump in my throat when I heard the loud bangs.
It turned out Gaza terrorists had sent at least six rockets towards Israel’s Capital on Jerusalem Day.
It took me by surprise that I got so emotional. For years and years, I have had the red alert app going off on my phone every time terrorists inside Gaza were firing rockets at Israeli children in southern Israel.
But this was the first time it happened in my neighborhood. I didn't think for a second to take cover; the journalist in me needed to share what was happening.
Since Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup, they have fired more than 20,000 rockets at Israel.Firing at Jerusalem started an 11-day escalation with more than 4,600 rockets fired at Israel. The world condemned Israel for retaliating.
I barely slept because the red alert app went off constantly, day and night terrorizing the people living in Israel.
Rockets were also fired at Tel Aviv and 13 Israelis were killed and hundreds and thousands of people were traumatized by this, including me.People were running for their lives every time the red alert app went off. Some people did not have even 15 seconds to find shelter.
I was reporting constantly on all my social media channels, going live reporting to the entire world about the truth. I barely slept and my heart went out to the people living in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip, which were receiving most of the rockets.
'The Jewish people are home'
Fast forward to March 2022. It was pouring rain in Jerusalem; not the weather to go outside.
I’m currently living in an apartment with a short-term lease that ends April 1. In this apartment I have Netflix, which is new for me, and I stumbled my way into watching the mini-series based on the life of Eli Cohen. He was a famous Israeli spy who was sent to Syria.
Getting to know the right people in the military and in the government, fooling everyone for years, Cohen was able to provide Israel with invaluable intel. Every day he risked his life doing what was needed for Israel.
Eventually he was caught and was executed in a public square in front of all the VIPs that he had fooled for years. Of course, it was a great embarrassment for them to learn he was actually a Jew.
This was the first time I really got to know more about him, and I was sitting watching this show with the rain pouring down in the Jewish capital. I was crying watching Cohen being arrested and then killed. What a hero he was, his remains are still being kept in Syria.It made me think about Israel today, with the Jewish people being home in their God-given homeland, thinking about all the spies and undercover agents working for Israel today, putting their lives on the line for the safety of the Jewish nation. What a group of heroes they are, including the army, police officers, navy, border police and the list goes on.One of them stole my heart the following day when the sun was out again, and I was walking home from the local market.It was a young soldier in full uniform bearing his rifle over the shoulders that caught my attention.Not because he was a soldier in uniform, I see them every day, but because he was walking down the street singing loudly with the most beautiful voice. I didn't expect that, and I simply had to stop and just watch him, he could not have been more than 20 years old.The funny thing is, when he stopped singing, two girls walked in front of me and looked at him, and then one of them continued singing the song he had just finished.He couldn't help laughing, and so did the girls, and my heart just took an extra beat thinking how blessed I am to just witness this moment. The Jewish people are home, prophecies are fulfilled, but yet even to this day, evil is rattling against them.Just like on March 6, when a terrorist attacked border police officers in the Old City, injuring two police officers. So even when the Jews are home in their nation, they have to be on alert.
'It's that love connection'
Let me end by sharing what happened on Sunday, as it hit me unexpectedly, I did not see it coming. Especially because it's not something new, since I basically see it every day. However, for whatever reason it struck me, and I was touched deep within my heart and soul.I stepped out on my balcony, and I suddenly found myself gazing at a huge Israeli flag a few blocks over that I had not noticed before. And it instantly brought a deep, deep twist in my stomach, kind of like when you are in love and your tummy twists with excitement. It is also a sense of deep inner gratitude and appreciation that is solid and unshakable – no matter what. I know it's a feeling many tourists experience when they arrive in Israel and see the Israeli flag. It's that love connection you cannot explain, it's just that longing and yearning to be in the land of the Bible.And even though I have lived here for so many years, walking out on my porch and seeing this incredibly beautiful flag brings so much hope to me.It supplies hope: Hope that anything is possible and hope that God indeed is watching over His people. It also provided comfort for all of the despair, trauma and pain that has ripped my heart apart – the heinous terror attacks murdering Jewish children, mothers and grandfathers; thousands of rockets flying in from Gaza; arson fires burning Israeli farmland and forests; Jews being evicted out of their homes for living in Biblical Judea and Samaria; and the list goes on.
So, in that moment, watching the Star of David blowing in the wind in the united capital of Israel, was like it was speaking for all the Jews murdered just for being Jewish.It just made everything stop for a second and reminded me that God will always be the defender of Israel and so will I.Additionally, Israel’s flag symbolizes the only democracy in the Middle East.Well, it just took my breath away.For me, at this stage in my life, after living so many years in Israel, the Star of David means home, a feeling of deep love and belonging.
Jane Kiel is a Jerusalem-based journalist striving to tell the truth about Israel on her social media channels. Learn more about Kiel.