Monthly Archives: July 2014

And so it is

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I am rarely lost for words.  Ask anyone, I can talk…a lot.  I can also write reams and reams.  But I am lost for words.  I am just so angry and frightened, horrified and sorry, terrified and just plain sad that for the last week or so I just haven’t known what to say.

Three days ago I was dropping my twins at nursery when the alarm sounded.  I ran back to the classroom and accompanied 30 4-year-olds to a shelter.  The boom came seconds later.  We waited and then we all trooped out again.  Normality resumed.  Or our reality at least.  This experience affected me more than any of the other sirens, any of the earlier experiences of this messed up situation. I saw the faces of the children who just carry on as this is normal.

I have read a lot, a lot about the situation.  I have listened to Israelis, Palestinians, British, American, European points of view but it just makes me more angry and more sad, it doesn’t make any more sense.  Because that’s just it, the situation doesn’t make sense.  The suffering, the deaths, the injuries, the terror, it just doesn’t make sense.

All I ask is that everyone does as I do.  To listen to all sides.  To try to understand that this is not a black and white, goodies versus baddies, David versus Goliath situation.  In today’s warfare there is nothing simple.  And who pays the price?  The citizens, the innocents who are unable to control their own destinies, who often don’t know what is being done in their names’, right under their noses.  Haven’t the people of this region suffered enough?

Nobody wants their children to grow up in fear with terror a part of their everyday world with bombs and rockets and hate as part of their everyday language.  My 4-year-old son told me that we go to the shelter because ‘people want to kill us’, he told me he dreamt of something long that came from the sky and gave him a bump on the head.  My 6-year-old can explain how the iron dome system works, my 4-year-old daughter doesn’t like being trapped in the shelter, as we go in and close the door she wants to get out.  I don’t want to try to compare what we are experiencing with others.  I know there are people on both sides of the fight who are suffering far, far more.  I also don’t see why I have to apologise for my fear for the future and the days ahead for me and my family.  It may not be as bad but is this a normal way to live?

And so it is and it looks like it will be for the near future and who’s to say that if peace comes it will last for more than another couple of years.  I look to those who hate, to those who make the decisions to make the right ones, for once.  To end this.  To stop the killing and the bombs and the rockets, before there is no going back.

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When will it ever end?

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I watched an episode of the fantastic series Mad Men the other day in which the character Roger told his shrink that life was a series of firsts and once you realised the firsts were few and far between you realised your life was almost over. Well I am certainly feeling very alive right now.  This week was the first time I readied my bomb shelter and the first time I heard a siren telling us to get into that shelter.  I thought I had it covered after the last time.  Nope.

I try to take the news in bite size chunks, it’s easy to work yourself into a panic if you are wired like me and watch too much.  I have read a little bit on the internet and then shut it down.  I don’t want to get into a political debate.  I know what I think and that is enough for me.

I imagine the days to come will continue to hold some firsts for me and that thought chills me.  So many innocent people are suffering in this never ending conflict.  My thoughts are with all those affected both in Gaza and in Israel and hope, once again, that a  speedy, diplomatic resolution brings us all some peace and perhaps plant some seeds of hope for the future.

Daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow

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It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s the end of the school year. Schools are out for summer and the summer playschemes/school camps or as we know them here, kaytanot, are in full swing for the smaller kids. This can only mean one thing for a mother of three younglings; arguing, short tempers, over excitement followed by extreme boredom, in short, stress. So what better way to spend a Saturday but to drive up to the slightly less humid climes of Jerusalem (aka J’lo) to visit the zoo.

The Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem is an oasis of calm on a Saturday afternoon and due to the tensions in J’lo at the moment it appeared that last Saturday people preferred to stay at home and the zoo was all but empty.

Kids love zoos. They love the idea of a zoo often more than the reality of schleping around sleeping animals in cages, so the excitement when Daddy announced we were going was at fever pitch on Saturday morning.

I am not a fan of zoos as a rule but because of the setting, the gardens, the enormous enclosures and the general well-being of the animals (so it appears) Jerusalem zoo gets my vote. The chimps live on an island in the middle of the lake, not a cage in sight, the kangaroos live in an open enclosure, the lemurs walk on a path in front of you and you can pop your head out right next to the meerkats (albeit under the cover of a plastic dome).

Number 1 son said he liked the penguins best, Princess Daughter liked the crocodile and the fish and no.2 son was scared of the snakes, the crocodile, the tiger, I could go on, but liked the monkeys best (takes one to know one?). I liked the fact that the kids were happy, we were in no rush, there was wind (unlike where we live), low humidity (unlike where we live) and apart from no.2 son having a small incident when he fell into the disabled loo, bottom first, we managed to get through the day accident free.

Earlier in the year we went to the Safari near Tel Aviv and I came away feeling that zoos were cruel, people were rude and my shoulders ached because I’d had a small child perched on them for most of the trip. It was fun…up to a point. If you ever need to decide between the two, go to Jerusalem.

Due to the amount of time we were there and the age of our kids we probably only saw a third of the animals. We’ll save the rest for another trip.

With only a few weeks to go before we escape to the UK in August it is trips like this that keep both myself and the children from heat induced hysteria. No. 1 son cried when he realised the day that nursery broke up for the summer that we weren’t going to the UK the following day. If we can fill the next few weeks with special trips and family time hopefully we’ll make it through the July heat and the general exhaustion before we are cooled by Cheshire’s weather and warmed by Granny and Grandpa’s welcome.

http://www.jerusalemzoo.org.il/len/