Spiralling out of control

07.13.06

This afternoon, while baking in the hot sun waiting to get into Parc Jean-Drapeau to see Bon Jovi, we received a panicked phone call from a friend whose entire family lives in Israel. “They’re attacking Haifa!” She calmed down a bit after speaking to her family and being assured that everyone was safe, but the fingernail-biting nervous tension didn’t exactly dissipate.

Nor, I fear, will it for a while.

To say that the matzav has heated up would be putting it mildly. Nobody was injured in the Haifa attack, but sadly, in the North, people weren’t so lucky; rocket attacks killed 2 people and injured at least 120. Meanwhile, Israel is attacking Beirut, targeting Hezbollah stronghold areas. Israel may be after Hezbollah, but it’s Lebanon and Israel that are now engaged in what can only be called war.

Even as things escalate with the Palestinians, Hezbollah, and Lebanon, it’s not ending there. Hezbollah’s primary backers, Syria and Iran, are dancing close to the flame as well. Iran is threatening to retaliate if Israel strikes Syria. Meanwhile, Israel claims it has intelligence that Hezbollah is trying to transfer the kidnapped Israeli soldiers to Iran, which, of course, Iran is denying. The chances that Syria and Iran could get dragged into this mess are looking high.

Nor can Israel count on the unqualified backing of the United States. Bush is giving his cautious support even while Condi Rice is urging “restraint” – an all-too-familiar ploy that will end with Israel being falsely painted as the aggressor even by its allies.

Tonight, my friend’s family is doing the only thing they can: bunking down, biting nails, and waiting. Millions of Israelis and their friends and loved ones around the globe are doing the same thing tonight, and, I fear, for far too long to come.

This isn’t a song and dance about how war is never the answer. I’m not urging anyone to sit down and sing kumbaya. Israel needs to defend itself, and everyone here knows I support her actions 100%. But I can’t help the fear, the trepidation, the sense of dread. Unlike Israel’s enemies, who go straight into every war joyously envisioning wiping the “Zionist entity” off the map, Israel has never and will never go into war happily. Every war fought by Israel has been because there was no other choice, and every decision made by the Israeli government primarily considers the safety and security of the Israeli people. All I can do is echo the statements made in editorials and on blogs around the world: Israel will win because there is no other choice.

But I can’t help being afraid.

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