Shaul Amir

Summer 2014 Diary of an Israeli – Part 9

Shaul Amir
Shaul Amir

August 23, 2014 

Frustrated with raw nerve ends, this is how I feel.

I guess that if I will be able to poll the citizens of Israel, regardless where they live, I would get a very high percent of people who identify.

It is Shabbat now, a day of rest, supposedly, my “color red” application doesn’t stop sounding the alert. Does it have to become part of our life???

I corresponded with my old friend at my old kibbutz, was worried about him, we just heard about the 4 years old kid who was killed in one of the Kibbutzim on the North Gaza Border. He told me that unfortunately it was in “our” Kibbutz. A few hours later, another mortar bomb hit the dining room at the kibbutz, nobody hurt this time.

I asked him if by any chance I know the parents or grandparents of the kid, Daniel, and his sad reply was, no, they were new to the Kibbutz, they came as part of the move from the City to the countryside to give their kids quality of life, better education and free of stress of living in the big city.

Daniel will not grow old in the Kibbutz, he will not be able to walk his kids and grand kids in the paved trails of the Kibbutz. Daniel will not hear the birds singing nor will he enjoy the open space of the green lawns of the Kibbutz. The people of the Kibbutz left only a very small skeleton of people in the kibbutz to take care of the animals, milk the cows and feed the chickens. The rest left for a safer place, to rest from the constant shelling.

The kids in neighboring Gaza will keep on playing in the ruins of their homes and parents on both sides will keep on burying their children.

Where does all this madness lead to? The first reaction one has is rage, revenge and anger. We cannot destroy Gaza, they cannot uproot us from our rightful homeland.

It looks like the only solution will have to be diplomatic, political or any other solution which is not brute force. It looks like the world will need to unite for a change to solve the problem once and for all instead of helping perpetuate the problem by creating a special agency to deal with the Palestinian refugees, UNRWA that only exacerbated the situation rather than solve it.

At long last the world will have to truly and honestly recognize Israel’s right to exist in security and act upon it. The alternative is more of the same, death, bereavement and no hope.

Today was not a good day for me, maybe tomorrow I will be more optimistic, a new day with new hopes.

Signing out,


August 25, 2014
Another day of Red Alert sounding every few minutes to the people in the south and around Gaza. Another day of air raids to try and stop the launching of the rockets and the firing of the mortar bombs which proved to be our weak spot, no way of intercepting it (yet) and a very short (seconds) warning time. Hamas targeted the Erez crossing yesterday while they were taking wounded Palestinian for treatment in Israel. Five people were wounded by the mortar bombs.
I had an epiphany, a surge of optimistic and possibly non realistic illusions. May be it is the manifestation of anti reaction of my pessimistic overdose of last week.
Clear your heads from all prejudice, forget for a moment about the global Muslim threat. I know it is difficult almost like stop breathing but try!!!
Supposedly, Israel comes out with a statement as follows, but read it to the end before you erase it with disgust, some positives at the end.

In order to end the cycle of death and destruction in our area, the futile death of the innocents and the trauma inflicted on so many, on both sides of the border, we suggest the following:

1) The Palestinians get a seaport and Airport
2) The Borders between Israel and its neighbors in Gaza and the West Bank will be open for free movement of people and merchandise.
3) Israel and the international community with rebuild Gaza’s homes and industry, build a water desalination plants to make sure they have enough drinking and agriculture water.
4) The border between Egypt and Gaza will become the main crossing border for the Gazans and will be open and monitored by appointed and trained personnel (accepted by both sides)
5) In return, Israel and the international community will disarm and demilitarize Gaza
6) Appointed international observers (accepted by both sides) will monitor any movement of goods to the Gaza strip to make sure it remains weapon and explosives free.
7) The Palestinians will declare the acceptance of the State of Israel, its right to exist in security with discussion over the territorial land exchange which will involve Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel.

Who would reject such a plan and be able to say it is a bad plan, I cannot accept it? Maybe then, the world will be able to start dealing with the real problems, such as ISIS, growing racism, Global warming, annihilation of threatening diseases and many more unfinished tasks.
I woke up sweating all over!!! Was it a nightmare or a wishful thinking vision that will never be realized?
Who is a pessimist now???
August 27, 2014
14 hours later and the ceasefire is still holding. Entire country would like to take a deep breath but is afraid that right in the middle, somebody will knock the air out of its lungs.
We have to wait a few days to see if it is working. The new school year is about to open Monday next week. For the sake of the kids, their parents and grandparents we all hope that it will open under hope and not under fire.
In any asymmetric war, there is never a clear and undisputed victory. As long as the “weak” side has one person left, holding the flag and it is not a white flag; it is at the most a draw, a tie, a standoff or any word you want to call it.
What we need now is perspective of time. After the second Lebanon war, we were all on the weeping side of the pendulum. Eight years later, we have quiet on the Lebanese front, a fragile one that can break at any moment, and if it breaks, it will most likely be as a result of external forces intervention (ISIS, Syria).
I believe that after the massive destruction in Gaza, the relatively high death toll, the elimination of three or four of the top Hamas leadership, we will have a long term quiet on this front. As I said, we will be able to judge this operation only in perspective of time.
Today we are mourning the death of two of our best from Kibbutz Nirim , Zevik Etzion (55) who was in charge of the Kibbutz security, who left a wife and five children, and his deputy Shachar Melamed (43) who left a wife and three kids. They were both killed during mortar bombs attack on the Kibbutz an hour before the ceasefire came in effect.
The Hamas is celebrating in Gaza, reality and shock will sink in in a few days, when 160,000 people who had to leave their homes will get back to ruins, when they realize that water is scarce and electricity is almost non-existent. When they will look around and start asking if all of it was worth it. If what they got now could have not been achieved by simply accepting that we are here to stay and much as they are.
I think that this war also proved that the ever going argument of Nature Vs Nurture is heavily leaning towards Nurture. Here are two people from the same vicinity (some even say from the same origin) and the same DNA. One people value life and the other value death as much as the other value life. I rest my case!

Signing off while it is still quiet (-:

About Shaul Amir

Shaul Amir has served two terms as Shaliach to the Denver area from Israel, the most recent combined with directing Allied Jewish Federation's Israel Center from 2002 to 2007. He and his wife Kika now live outside Tel Aviv and enjoy welcoming visitors from Colorado to Israel.

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