My Gaza war numbers

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Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP (via) Editor’s note: Jennifer is actually a non-Jewish American graduate student finishing a college degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. After completing a bachelor’s degree centering on Islam and the Middle East, she thought we would seek her master’s degree in Israel, where she’s lived during the last a couple of years.

15. 761. 3. 17. 2. These are my war numbers.


The international news right now is very focused entirely on the “numbers” of the war. As soon as is also focused on paper, or more commonly, online, blogs, or Twitter, there’re made obsolete by new rockets and new air strikes, new death and new destruction. They’re arranged in morbid little competitions: 779 dead Palestinians versus 35 dead Israelis; 2,323 Hamas rockets versus 3,454 Israeli air strikes. Three Israeli teenagers murdered in an automobile versus one Palestinian youth burned alive in a Jerusalem forest. Everyone is very much searching for the grotesque numbers, the sad numbers, the despicable numbers, those which can be added and arranged to convince others that they’re supporting the “right” side.

We downplay each other’s pain to legitimize all of our. Fifteen may be the amount of times I ran to a bomb shelter before weeks. It is a small, pitiful, unimportant little number to the majority of others but myself and his dad. It’s not necessarily shocking enough for news outlets. It’s unworthy of attention when X Palestinians in Gaza City are suddenly homeless and X Israelis in Eshkol are treated for shock from constant bombings. I’m just an American, and so i just have 15 , but 15 could be the center of my world this month.


I’ve lived in Israel approximately two years now. The anniversary mimicked the arrival: untold hours spent sweating in a heaving and shuddering Tel Aviv metro bus. Couple of years is really an odd period in overseas, occupying that opaque space between tourism and residency. Somewhat, I’ve paid my dues. I’m able to successfully negotiate my way to avoid connected with an overpriced bag of pita. We have sweet-talked the notorious Vicki into numerous visa extensions with the Secretary of state for the medial side, universally called the best wretched administrative office in greater Tel Aviv. I’ve got such a perfunctory amount of Ikea furniture in my small Holon apartment. I’ve participated. But I’m not assimilated in most of the strategies matter.

I’m not a citizen. Hell, I’m not even Jewish. I’m not fluent in Hebrew (yet). We have no personal stake inside goals of Zionism. I don’t prefer to spend warring here. I haven’t endured by 50 % years those things Israelis endure inside a lifetime; I just need two military operations under my belt.


I didn’t come just for this. Could I’ve predicted that every year of my master’s degree can be accompanied by a war? I came for your degree, and quite accidentally, fell in love. It didn’t find that an option.

The number of times my itinerant downstairs neighbor has chastised my boyfriend and me for wearing flip-flops, screeching in rapid-fire Hebrew that we will surely surface necks while scurrying along the stairs to the building’s basement as air-raid sirens wail over our head. She’s probably right, but there’s absolutely no way I’m wearing sneakers to bed.

A girl stands when camping praying under her breath, with all the Torah in a hand plus an asthmatic puppy in the other. Boom… boom… boom… If the Iron Dome interceptors have inked their job, we wait a number of extra minutes in our dust-covered basement if any shrapnel or debris should find its method to our street, then plod back upstairs to complete dinner and alternate between frank, graphic conversations with the domestic friends along with the soothing, unspecific messages we send our families home.


The times that your speed-loving, teenage motorcyclist has raised me rate to the fever pitch recently, unintentionally replicating the escalating wail of any air-raid siren when they rev their motors to accelerate. Necessities such as things not easily quantifiable, but which shift my little life dramatically. Snapping within my boyfriend for scaring me by watching videos of a rocket attack, not realizing the sirens were only wailing over the computer’s speakers and never through my windows. The guilt to get a perpetually distracted nanny, getting caught by way of bouncy ball for the temple because I was staring out of window, imagining rockets falling within the Tel Aviv skyline. Staring blankly when my four-year-old charge excitedly explains how his kindergarten class practiced for your “emergency fireworks.”

A normally quiet morning journey to a nearby children’s play-place has become a cacophony of some 40 children’s voices, since the basement-level facility has attracted countless fearful parents. They are playing underground now. I spend hours alternately isolating and immersing myself while in the lurid comments elements of any news article regarding the Middle East. I transpose every “Death to Jewish Zionist scum” message on the mental images coming from all my students here. I think anxious.


The variety of times my boyfriend so i have converted. Mine came first: messy, soggy, and wailing as being a wounded animal after having a fruitless exchange of political opinions and insults using a Facebook thread. Scenes from the Gaza gore and accusations of my “complicity” in Israel’s military campaign stung me. I didn’t come with this. Could I’ve got predicted that each year of my master’s degree is with a war? I came for that degree, and quite accidentally, fell for each other. It didn’t feel like a decision.

My boyfriend’s meltdown was less explicit, more internal. He’s more frightened than me, I think. His fear has roots. His first memory of rockets arises from age six, sitting in the mamad (reinforced room) wearing a gas mask, when Iraqi scuds were the terror while in the skies. We’re both quick to anger and slow to seem one another within the eye. I silently wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. He can’t choose where he was given birth to, even so chose him. The deepness within the hate Someone said online provided to my lady a result of the menorah on his passport terrifies me. Pundits, scholars, and keyboard warriors still question the reality of the Jewish nation, arguing about its to certainly exist. But time never stops for theory. My boyfriend’s childhood, a sense home, his memories — just about all linked here identical to the grandparents of my Palestinian friends. How many generations of will feel like their homeland is under constant siege?

It’s an unfair thing, I’ve decided, to have yourself and private safety obsessed with a conflict over which you exert no ownership or control. But stay quiet. Stay grateful. Because it’s less unfair compared to alternative.

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