It’s exhausting living in Israel right now - opinion

Will the violence ever come to an end, or will Israelis have to live on edge forever?

 PALESTINIAN GUNMEN and mourners attend a funeral of Palestinians who died during a raid by Israeli forces, in Nablus, last week.  (photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)
PALESTINIAN GUNMEN and mourners attend a funeral of Palestinians who died during a raid by Israeli forces, in Nablus, last week.
(photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

Another week goes by with another flare-up between Israelis and Palestinians. Living in the region has become mentally draining between the back-to-back terror attacks and the toxic situation with the government.

Last Wednesday, the IDF entered the old city of Nablus in yet another counterterror operation. Nablus is one of the most ancient cities in the Middle East, with a dense population of about 157,000 Palestinians. Israel has conducted several raids in the city since the newly formed Lions’ Den terrorist group started operating there.

The group, which was formed in August, has grown in popularity by regularly sharing videos of their attacks on TikTok and Telegram.

At about 10:00 am, Israeli undercover forces entered Nablus and surrounded a house to arrest suspects hiding in the building. This was generally a rush hour, so the streets were filled with civilians. An exchange of fire erupted, and video footage shows the Palestinian terrorists firing in the middle of the crowds. During the raid, one of the militants recorded a WhatsApp audio saying: “We won’t hand over our weapons. I’ll die as a martyr. Keep carrying weapons after us.”

The end result

In the end, the Palestinian fatalities included eleven people, six members of the Lions’ Den, and two of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (including a commander). About 100 Palestinians were injured during the exchange of fire, and two of the civilian fatalities were elderly men. The reports state that they cannot determine if they were killed by Israeli or Palestinian fire.

In the Gaza Strip, the terror group Hamas issued a warning, stating they are “running out of patience.” The next morning, six rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Sderot, Ashkelon, and adjacent communities. The Iron Dome system intercepted five rockets, and one rocket landed in an open area.

The next day, the IDF Home Front Command issued rocket safety measures for Israeli citizens. 

So now what?

Israelis are bracing themselves for what’s coming next. In the past, escalations like these have led to retaliation and violence that leave innocent Israelis and Palestinians dead. Are we safer now that we’ve eliminated these terrorists? Or will retaliation from Palestinian extremists lead to the same deadly attacks?

The Defense Ministry is preparing for possible revenge attacks and rocket fire in response to the Nablus operation. Since the beginning of the year, these back-to-back escalations have left several Israelis and Palestinians dead. While there is no moral equivalency between the IDF counter-terror operations and the vicious attacks in Neveh Ya’acov and Ramot, innocent people suffer from both sides.

THE REALITY is that living here (while, for the most part, it is a dream come true) can be mentally exhausting. My time here has included several rocket escalations, including Operation Guardian of the Walls, where about 4,400 rockets were fired into Israel. That same period included several lynchings, which meant that getting caught by a missile explosion was not the only threat, so was stepping outside your door.

Last May, we also saw back-to-back stabbings and shootings in major cities like Beersheba, Hadera and Bnei Brak. Around this time, I needed to head to the doctor’s office and had to ask myself what the best route was in case I needed to run away from an attack.

A week later, I was in a restaurant in Tel Aviv when a terrorist walked on Dizengoff Street to Ilka Bar and shot three people dead. Since the shooter managed to run away and hide for nine hours, my friends and I were stuck in the restaurant, watching soldiers, police cars, ambulances, and helicopters encircle our entire city.

Anyone who moved to Israel knows that a life of uncertainty comes as a packaged deal. The flare-ups that we have had from time to time can quickly turn into a full-scale war. Nothing, however, can prepare you for how terrorism can reshape your brain. Thunder can sound like an explosion in the sky, the loud gust of the wind can sound like the beginning of a rocket siren, and a loud muffler can sound like a gunshot.

Now, the same feeling of terror emerges again. The fear of retaliation brings the same emotions of needing to watch your back. With the mess going on with our government, one can’t even trust them to take the right measures to keep us safe.

Unfortunately, this is part of our reality. The best thing we can do is remember that Israelis and Palestinians are human, and we deserve to live in a world free from terror and violence.