What do you hope for? When I was younger, I hoped for things like a nice car, an artistic job, a higher salary, more vacation time and a little bit of a tan in the summer. Today, I hope for very different things, like a parking spot, a tiny garden space, health and happiness for my family and friends. I hope for the success of Doron and my businesses, for a wider variety of organic fruits and vegatables in the organic market where we shop. I hope for peace, even though I think this sounds like a very beauty pageant thing to say, living in Israel makes hoping for peace a daily thought.
When Lili was 6 or 7 years old, I was driving her to school and out of the blue she asked me what a bomb looked like. I told her I didn’t know exactly, but that I did know that we shouldn’t pick up bags, packages, toys or dolls that were left on the street or on a bench because there may be a bomb inside. I remind my three girls of this often.
Emili was born in a hospital in Tel Aviv (do not get me started on that experience). A religious man walked into my room (without knocking) and handed me a box. Inside the box was a gas mask for babies, basically a big plastic bag looking aparatus with a breathing device connected to it. I think it was because the gulf war was going on that I recieved this thoughtful gift, I’m not sure if they give out baby gas masks on a regular basis. We picked up our masks for the two older girls from a distribution center. A mask for children looks like a space suit rather that a mask like you always see in the movies. Lili was 6 and in the first grade, Elli was 3; the night before the war started we all had to test our masks to be sure they worked. Elli was too little to test her mask , but we put Lili’s on her and that is an image I will never forget. Everyone had to travel around with their masks once the war started; they have a shoulder strap attached to them. All the school children decorated their mask boxes. You could see everyone heading off to school in the morning with their backpacks and a decorated gas mask box hanging off their shoulders.
A customer at my store told me that the little boys in her son’s class at school were playing suicide bomber. “What do you mean?” I asked her. I couln’t imagine children playing such a game. She told me that they wrap something around their wastes (a rope or belt ) and they pretend to blow up.
We moved to Israel nine years ago and the intifada started two weeks later. There were many buses that were blown up during that time (to this day I have never taken a bus here and I forbid the girls from doing so). The sobering fact is that most people here need to take buses to get to work. A bus blew up about a mile from the kindergarten where Lili was. You could tell that something bad had happened because all of a sudden, you could here radios everywhere. Every store, school and house, turned on the radio and you could feel a tenseness in the people on the street. I asked someone what was going on. “They blew up a bus on Allenby Street” a lady told me. I hurried to Lili’s school, people were yelling in the street and helicopters were buzzing all over the area, looking for the bomber. I started to breath very heavily and a sound came from my throat; I new I was starting to panic and I tried to calm myself. Once I was inside the kindergarten, many of the children were crying. I took Lili’s hand to take her home and a woman yelled at me that we couldn’t leave. I thought this must be procedure, staying put after a bombing till everything had calmed down, so I just stood there with Lili. An Israeli mother yelled back, ‘we’re leaving! and everyone pushed past the guard at the gate. I went too and we went home.
My children attend a French school in our neighborhood. The pupils are from all over the world and speak many languages. There are Catholics, Protestants, Jews and a few Muslims (usually from Egypt) at the school. It gives me hope that my girls will understand people from many different places, that they will learn to be respectful and sensitive to other religions and cultures and races.