to be Israeli
To be Israeli. To turn on the TV at night and see that instead of "Rambo 3" they broadcast a local action film, and we are all on it. To hope that there is no one you know on the screen, to be happy that there is no one you know, and to be ashamed of being happy. To keep looking at the screen even though you know exactly what the next picture going to be like. To say, "two weeks ago I was there, it’s unbelievable". To feel you survived even though you weren't close. To go around the house at 2 am, to quietly watch how the kids sleep. To think that just like that, under the blankets, they somehow look so small again...
To be Israeli. To know that something happened by the songs on the radio. To contemplate, on your own, that only after attacks they play the most beautiful songs. To understand that if the anchorman says, "people were hit", he actually means "people were killed", and that "critical" means struggling for life. To ask yourself what exactly "hit by shock" means and to understand on your own after a couple of seconds of thought. To call the family even though it’s late and to ask how they are doing as if nothing happened. To go to the mall like you left for the army, to go to the army like you went to war. To say, "if I had a brain, I would move to Australia", but not to mean it. To argue a little bit more with your life partner, but not to admit it’s because of the strain.
To be Israeli. To say "we need to get them", without knowing who. To say "it can't go on like this", but to fear that maybe exactly “like this” it will go on. To say, "we need to take over Gaza", just to hear yourself say it. To understand that there is no simple solution, but to hope that maybe there is. To listen to a radio show when people call to say horrible things, to think it proves how low we have sunk, but to want a bit to call yourself. To remember that in your life you trusted too many leaders who let you down, but to convince yourself that there might be someone else. To tell yourself that the time has come to write your will, but not to do it.
To be Israeli. To feel an unexplained tiredness in the middle of the day, that starts in your shoulders and goes down your spine. To be a secular Jew that asks what's with god, or a religious Jew who asks what's with the army. To say, "people die more in car accidents", without being sure it’s still correct. To calculate that after Jerusalem and Haifa it’s time for Tel Aviv. To get angry when they say "a sophisticated terrorist attack", because they don't even deserve that complement. To meet a friend that asks you if you heard that George Harrison died and to think he lives on Mars. To know, a clear and paralyzing truth, that in a day, maximum two, you will find out you knew one of the casualties. And if not that, then someone who knows somebody.
To be Israeli. To say, "I am fine, the country is shit". To start sentences with the words "except what’s going on". To cancel trips because it’s not the time, and then still go because everything be damned. To remember Rabin for no reason at all. To find out that your never talked with your son about that war and to swear to find the time for that. To want to go to the Georgian-Israeli film everybody is talking about, because you want something Israeli. To sleep a bit more than usual, to get up late and then run, to notice that lately everybody is telling jokes. To know it means something, but not know what it means.
To be Israeli. To feel this county is a bit too big for you. To exchange familiar sentences with strange people, to hear strange sentences from people you thought you knew very well. To hear your Prime Minster talk about the "strength to stand" and understand, lately, that he means you. To find comfort that this year at least it is raining. To stand by the window with a cup of tea and think, for the first time in years, how nice it is of God to clean the world like this. To accept a post dated check, because of the situation. To sit at night with the bills and decide you have to cut corners. To look at the pictures instead of reading the newspaper.
To be Israeli. To be a little bit better of a person than what you ever thought you could be.
From: to be Israeli by Yair Lapid