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A view from Israel, Part 2: Safety guilt

July 15, 2014

DEFENSE%3A+Iron+Dome+missiles+intercepting+rockets+sent+by+Hamas+toward+Israeli+population+centers.+According+to+jpost.com%2C+Iron+Dome+shot+down+735+missiles+of+3%2C659+that+were+fired.

Israel Defense Forces

DEFENSE: Iron Dome missiles intercepting rockets sent by Hamas toward Israeli population centers. According to jpost.com, Iron Dome shot down 735 missiles of 3,659 that were fired.

We are on our way to Jerusalem!

Along the way, there are only two designated safe spots to stop in order to use the bathroom. Our tour guide just told us that the safety protocol has changed. If we are on the bus and we hear a siren we must get down below the windows. The bus will slow down but not come to a complete stop.

Our guide then played a siren so that we would know what it sounds like if the siren happens.  As Israel gets safer — safe enough for us to travel south from Hodayot — everything ironically is becoming more real. There is a chance that we will have to just stay on the base all day in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, my counselors are constantly talking about the guilt that they feel. They know that their families are being shot at, running for protection. Both the tour guide and one of my counselors are from Beersheva. They talk about being here with Ramah Israel Seminar knowing that eight times a say their families are running for cover.

They talk about the guilt of being here knowing that their friends are being called up everyday. I think they feel like they are not doing the service to the country that others are doing. I feel bad for them. They feel like they are shying away from what everyone else has to experience. It really is a beautiful thing. They feel bad about not being there to comfort their families or to fight for their country.

Israel has clearly instilled a strong sense of community and patriotism in its people, and it is beautiful to see this first hand.

Related story: A view from Israel, Part 3: Surreality

Related story: A view from Israel, Part 1: Who am I, who are we?

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A view from Israel, Part 2: Safety guilt