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  • Writer's pictureOmer Eilam

In Times of War

Updated: Apr 26

For several months after the Hamas attack on October 7th and the following war in Gaza I felt quite frustrated and angry about the levels of insanity in the world. A mental picture that has been accompanying me ever since is that of a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean where instead of trying to seek refuge the sailors are busy making more holes inside the deck. These three short texts were born during that period.


 

October 10, 2023


The Courage for Peace


Last Saturday Hamas made an unprecedented attack on Israel, infiltrating through the Gaza border, slaughtering hundreds of people, kidnapping families, and committing other violent deeds which are completely incomprehensible to any sane person. My heart goes out to all those whose lives were shattered by this heinous event.


Some voices claim that this event is "Israel's 9/11" and that may well be so. But what if we continue this line of thinking further and try to learn from history in order not to make the same mistakes. The events of 9/11 prompted the United States government to declare the "war on terror" which led to the invasion of Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and the formation of ISIS, to name just some of the consequences. All of these claimed the lives of millions, the displacement of tens of millions and caused an overall immeasurable amount of suffering.


When someone punches us our immediate reaction is to want to punch back. It takes a moment of inner calmness to allow for reflection: What will happen if I punch back? Is continuing the cycle of violence what I really want? Or does my innermost soul yearn for peace?


Both Hamas and the Israeli government have failed their people terribly. Did we have enough? Are we ready to change course? If we are then let us be part of a mounting international call for both ruling parties to step down and make way for others who are still willing to work in the service of peace. Knowing full well that it will not happen tomorrow, and that there will still be many casualties along the way, let us build an inner courage and determination that peace is our vision for the long-term and that every day we are doing a little something to draw closer to this vision.


Pace e bene

שלום ואהבה

السرعة والفائدة


 

November 11, 2023


From Gaza to Berlin


The situation in Gaza is worsening. A few days ago I read that every 10 minutes a child dies. I also talk to my mom on a daily basis and hear about her experiences from the "Hostage Square", where 240 empty chairs are waiting for the hostages to safely return. And yet the media (and people) pronouncing the first are not the same ones discussing the second, and vice versa. It is again the polarization – the taking of sides – that blinds one person to the reality of the other. And it is again this polarization that on the one hand is so hard for me to bear while on the other I have a deep longing to bridge.


An idea came to my mind: I should make a sign which reads "Ceasefire Now" on one side and "Free All Hostages" on the other, and I should carry it to both "pro-Israel" and "pro-Palestine" demonstrations (I put quotation marks here because I do not think that such disclaimers are serving either side). And so it happened that yesterday I ran into a friend of mine at the museum and she told me that she is planning to go to a demonstration organised by Jewish people calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. I immediately said that I wanted to join and told her about my idea.


At the demo my friend called my attention to someone who was holding a sign exactly like the one I thought of. I went over to them and said that as an Israeli living in Berlin I really appreciate the message that they are calling for. It turned out that they had another identical sign and offered it to me. And so I was standing there, raising the sign which I thought of but didn't actually make in a demonstration that I wished to but wasn't planning to go to.


If our deep wishes are guided by love and truth then sometimes the world gives us a helping hand.



Left side: "Ceasefire Now". Right side: "Free All Hostages".
 

April 14, 2024


Israel


He was just a child

Born of necessity

Carrying centuries-old scars

So deep

He wouldn't recognize himself without them.


Old wounds

They tend to itch

Inviting hungry nails

Scraping an all too sensitive skin.

Blood flowing

   and gushing

      and drowning

Any hope for peace.


With one finger He wipes a tear

With the other He pulls a thousand triggers.

The shudder

   of the wing

      of the aircraft as it drops the bomb

He is already too insensitive to feel.


His Brother's blood is screaming from the soil

But His own blood screams louder.

Funny thing about blood...

The right amount lets us know we're human.

Too much turns us into killing machines.


They say that peace sells...

But He knows his scars sell more.

And so He uses them

To rationalize His entire existence.


Yet the market today is all about Fresh Blood

And while people are tired of fighting

They are not yet tired of selling weapons.

And He is all too eager to buy.


So now He is the neighbourhood bully.

They cannot see He hurts;

He cannot see He is hurting someone else...


Israel,

you endured great suffering

and inflicted them too.

In this twilight hour,

may your pain transform you,

may it break your heart

and reach deep into your soul

to find the seed of eternal love

extending to all

   through all

      in all...

May you be free to end this cycle of violence

and choose the road to peace.

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