Israel Journal

Israel Journal, written May 8, 2008, by Annie Nissim Yesterday evening/ today was remembrance day for those who have died in the army. There was a siren in the evening and in the morning. I wasn't expecting the morning one and it made me jump out of my skin - I was just about to grab Rachel (three months old) from her sleep and run to the shelter when I realised what it was. The same siren sounds on Holocaust remembrance day, which we had just a few days ago; I was standing by the window when that siren went off and saw all the cars come to a standstill; drivers come out of their cars and stand in reverent remembrance, right in the middle of the road. Then the sirens fade and it's like pressing 'play' again: the drivers get in their cars, the cars start driving again, everything comes to life again. This evening, however, is a happier occasion; it's independence day, which is continued tomorrow. We went for a walk down Ben Gurion Street (in Haifa) and it is absolutely packed with people. Seeing Israel out on the streets just made me think of the tribulation, the flight of the nation to the wilderness and the nation as a body, repenting before the Lord. Amazing to see Israel in crowds on the streets. There are flags lining the streets, fireworks, music. At 10.30 there will be a light show in the sky, so we'll stay up to see it. It's very emotional to see these things. On the one hand, we're happy for Israel and for the people, and on the other hand there's such sadness in our hearts for them. Ironically, all the celebrations bring back such strong memories of the war (the last war of 2006 when Hezbollah’s rockets rained on Israel from the northern border with Lebanon) - the sirens of remembrance and then loud fireworks and blackened windows because everyone is out on the streets (in the war the windows were black because a large proportion of the city had fled). Tomorrow there's the final round of a national Bible competition that's held in Israel every year. A Christian girl got through to the final round and there's been a huge stink about it from the religious Jews, who are terrified that she might win. They tried to disqualify her on all kinds of grounds, but she's still there and will be competing alongside the others. It's quite a testimony, because the believers represent such a small proportion of society. She's already received the prize for being the best out of all the secular schools in the country. That's it for now.


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He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth - the Lord God of hosts is His name.
Amos 4:13

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