The war seems to be over. It’s not called peace. Just a cease-fire that appears to last so far. It will start again, we all know that, we just hope as late as possible.
In the mean time, things got back to a certain normality. After a month of delay, exams will finally take place next week and students are slowly coming back to town. Restaurants and bars are reopening with normal schedules, the traffic is back, the shopping malls and the beaches are crowded again. The most surprising changes are more subtle: I don’t think of putting clothes next to my bed anymore, or look for places to hide when I am walking. Even the conversations are different; we can finally talk about other things than war and politics, work instead of watching the news and actually do things in our free time. And I can wear heels again!
However, as cliche as it might sound, some other things will never be the same again. First it’s impossible not to think about those whose son, brother, father, boyfriend, husband, friend will never get home. If we don’t know personally one of the fallen soldiers, we all know at least one person who knew one of them, and we can’t help to feel close to them and feel their pain. That’s why it was impossible not to be sad every time we were reading that a (sometimes not even) twenty something year old died. And when all those people gathered for the funerals of a lone soldier, when everybody tried to do at least a little something to help those who were in need during that time, I understood that despite all the differences and disagreements, we are really only one Family. Second, the outburst of hatred we have felt and witnessed against not only Israel but also Jews leaves a very bitter taste. To have the weird impression that in not such a distant future, Jews in Europe will be less safe than us here under the constant threat of a war, is something no one could have envisioned before.
Something else has changed, and I would have never thought it could be so intense, so fast and so strong. I can understand Israelis much better now and feel even closer to them. This war made me realize how lucky we are and how much we take for granted some very important and precious things: the health and safety of our friends and relatives, a peaceful night of sleep, a house with a roof. And suddenly many things loose their significance. I caught myself thinking one morning while I was standing in front of my wardrobe: “Who even cares about what I am wearing?”. Most of the normal Facebook activity during that time seemed completely surreal: I couldn’t comprehend how people could debate about a new app or share “the Ten Tips to be more productive at work”. During the war, while the alarms were resonating and we had to run to the shelters, we actually felt grateful to have those sirens because when the planes were taking off a few minutes later, we knew that the people in Gaza might not have a place to hide and all we could do was praying for their security.
I wish I don’t forget those lessons. But I hope we won’t have a booster shot too soon.