By Hannah Reich Berman
My heart is with Israel. It always has been and it always will be. But it is no longer accurate to say that I stand with Israel. That’s because I don’t do much standing these days. My new position is sitting.
Since the start of this horrific war, which so quickly followed on the heels of the kidnapping and slaughter of those three beautiful young Israeli boys, I have done nothing but sit. So news-hungry am I that I can focus on little else. I sit in front of the television day and night, hoping to catch the latest breaking news. Every television in my house (there are three) remains in the “on” position and tuned to the same channel. This is so that if I have to walk from one room to another, I won’t miss a thing. And I am an equal-opportunity viewer. I watch any and all news programs. Mostly, I watch CNN and then I kvetch about the fact that their reporters are biased. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, even to me, but that is what I do. For that matter, I read the New York Times despite the fact that I am often enraged by what I read.
Some of what is on television, even news programs (maybe it is especially news programs), gives new meaning to the term boob tube—a term meant to imply that one cannot learn anything from watching mindless sitcoms. These days it is much the same when we watch the news—mindless reporting. Anybody with a working brain has to know that Israel, as always, is fighting for the lives of her citizens; but, to hear some of the questions that are posed by reporters, one would have to conclude that they do not know!
The sitting that I do is not related exclusively to television viewing. I am also seated when I read newspapers and when I am in front of my computer monitor attempting to read and respond to online information that comes my way. Some of the information brings unbridled joy, such as when I saw uniformed Israeli soldiers, still in face-paint and camouflage, singing and dancing before heading back out into the streets of Gaza where they knew they would face certain danger.
Another comfort was the Joan Rivers airport interview. It was pure nachas to watch and listen to the well-known comedienne as she sounded off against Hamas and at the same time chided the media for one-sided reporting. I was never a Joan Rivers fan, but, watching the interview, I could have jumped through the screen and kissed the woman. Anyone who didn’t have the pleasure of seeing it yet should search for it online.
No less heartening was the interview of the son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, as he praised Israel and warned that Hamas doesn’t just want to destroy the state of Israel, but wants a global caliphate on every inch of land around the world. He said they will kill as many Palestinians as they need to accomplish this goal. It doesn’t get much clearer than that, and one can only hope that millions of people saw it.
All of this watching, reading, and listening consumes an inordinate amount of time each day. And still there is more. I don’t want to forget about the car radio. I am not isolated, I do get out of the house, but it takes time before I leave the car even after I have arrived at my destination. The radio, always tuned to a news station, goes on as soon as I enter my car, and it stays on. As a result, I often remain in the car to hear the end of whatever news I was listening to. That accounts for more sitting! All in all, I am rarely standing upright.
I am not alone. Everyone I know is just as concerned and many are as obsessed as I am. The online communication is endless—and worthless. Why do we bother sending out e‑mails in support of Israel? I receive e‑mails that tell me what I already know, and I forward these e‑mails to others who also already know! So, exactly what is the point? With the exception of writing to a senator and calling some politicians’ offices, there is not much purpose. But for the fact that it gives me something to do, along with an opportunity to vent, it is an exercise in futility and one that gives new meaning to that old line about preaching to the choir.
The news bulletins change every day. Last week we learned that 95% of all Israelis are in line with Netanyahu (an unusual happening in a country where no two people ever agree on anything) and favor continued bombing. Two days later we got the heartbreaking and terrifying news that a young Israeli captain had been kidnapped, and on and on it goes. Regarding the 95% who agree with Netanyahu, my only question is, what happened to the other 5%?
These days I am standing a little more. My heart is still breaking and I remain terrified for the soldiers. But reading and forwarding e‑mails is a thing of the past. There is no point, and my time is better spent davening. Still news-hungry, I stick to my televisions and car radio and no longer bother with the newspaper, which can’t tell me anything I don’t already know. Besides, some of the columnists just frustrate me.
Normally when one writes for a newspaper, he hopes that the news will not be obsolete before it appears in print. But not right now! Now, my hope is that it will be. And it will be old news if (when) every last tunnel has been destroyed and when peace has returned to the country.
Since Israel was supplying millions of dollars’ worth of cement to Gaza and providing them with electricity, why did they not monitor the situation? It is true that Israel has a lot on her plate and so many pressing issues to attend to, but knowing that Gaza is filled with Hamas terrorists determined to destroy the country and kill every Jew, someone should have been minding the store. How difficult would it have been to determine if all that cement had actually gone towards the building of even one hospital or one school? Let’s face it, we dropped the ball and we were outfoxed. And that’s the way it is. ϖ
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-902-3733.