We are in day 14 of Operation Protective Edge. The Israel Defense Forces are battling in Gaza to restore peace to Israel. Two-thirds of Israel's population is under threat of rocket attacks. Even though it is difficult to put into words, we will try to explain how we are feeling at JesusBoat.com and what it is like to be an Israeli at a time such as this.
First, the staff of JesusBoat.com is safe and secure on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. We are out of rocket range and have had no 'code red' alarms. Yet, this does not make us immune from the situation in rest of Israel.
Israel is a very small country. Here everyone is directly and personally affected by Operation Protective Edge. We understand the safety and continued existence of Israel is what is at stake. Most Israelis believe this is our chance to oust a terrible terrorist organization that torments Israeli and Gazan alike. It is the time to destroy the tunnels and dismantle the weaponry that is so ubiquitous in Gaza.
So we send our sons and daughters to do a job not of vengeance or antagonism, but of necessity. However, all of Israel realizes there is a price. It is the heaviest price – the lives of our loved ones.
Each time a casualty is revealed we freeze because they are our sons, our husbands, our fathers, our friends, our neighbors and our colleagues. They are all ours, as even those we don't know. We collectively mourn for each and every soldier who falls for Israel. We learn their names, ages and hometowns. We read news stories about them, about who they were as individuals and the parents, wives and children left behind. We honor them with our thoughts and prayers. Each soldier. Every soldier.
Our hearts ache for the loss and our thoughts always turn to those we personally know in battle – and everyone knows someone. We pray for their safe return and to see them again soon.
This is what it is to be Israeli.
And we are proud of it.