Not long after getting out of the army, a friend and I drove down to Eilat to relax for a couple of days. We were sitting in our hotel room after an amazing day of hiking and snorkeling, and there was the news. A suicide bombing. Twenty people were murdered, dozens more injured. It was the “Childrens’ Attack.” I stared helplessly at the TV screen, I prayed for the injured, and I prayed to see an image of the new prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, distraught, upset, denouncing the violence. As the night rolled on, more people died, the army made plans, but Abu Mazen never appeared. My friend and I were shooken up, we couldn’t stay and swim any longer. We packed our bags and headed home.
The next morning, on the drive back, we stopped by an army base where my old unit was stationed. There was a good friend of mine, now an officer. Roi was doing some work on a tank, and he was alone. I climbed up with him, and we sat down to talk. There, on that hulk of steel we cried. We were sorry for ourselves, we were sorry for our country, we were sorry for the victims, we were sorry for the Palestinians, and we were sorry for the world. Niether of us had ever wanted to fight, but we did. We did it because we needed to, because there was a war, because we had a responsibility to keep our friends and our families safe. But, every day, we prayed for peace. We prayed for an end. Every day that we fought in the territories, every day that we caused Palestinian suffering, we understood just how much we shared with them, and how hurtful it was for everyone for this all to go on. The past few weeks had been quiet. Roi’s company was able to leave the front. We thought it was ending, that perhaps things would change, but the night before had shattered everything once again. So, we sat, stared at the sun, and we cried. We were tired.
That was nearly five years ago. Since then, wow, things have changed, right? Arafat died, the Red Sox won the World Series, the disengagement hapenned, I went to school, Arik had a stroke, Facebook, the Lebanon war – and we’re still fighting the Palestinians, and terrorism keeps on going. You know what? I am tired.
I am tired of fighting, I am tired of death. Yes, I will go on. I will continue to support Israel, I will continue to fight for peace. I will continue to draw attention to the genuine suffering of the Palestinian people, and I will continue to serve in the reserves, and God forbid – in another war. But, I am tired of all of this i am tired of trying to fight my way through this horrible moral thicket, and I am tired that for every thought of doubt I have, someone is questioning my character. Blaming me for the holocaust, blaming me for the death of Palestinians, blaming me for the death of Jewish citizens, and blaming me for ignoring Torah. All of this is complicated, it is exhausting. My thoughts have grown so jumbled and confused, that the beginnings and ends of conversations and arguments are hidden beneath so many layers of rhetoric.
I am lost, I am confused, and I am tired.
by Josh Frankel