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this is how my day has gone so far:

i've really wanted to go out to dance for a long time now. for a couple of weeks i've been planning on going out tonight to a place called 'cyan'. it's a nightclub, and it's outdoors and it is supposed to have cool 80's music. i got really psyched up to go. i was with my girlfriend at her house until about half an hour ago. i came home to get dressed while she got dressed to save time, and then i was supposed to go pick her up.

so i get home, and put on a shirt i hadn't wore since last summer - it's quite cool, and i had been looking forward to wear it for about a year. this was supposed to be the first summer thing i go to.

then my mother called. to make sure i was okay. you see, there are 2 main areas for outdoor nightclubs in tel aviv. in the other (not the one i was going to go to), a terrorist just blew himself up. my mother was listening to the radio, and wanted to make sure i was alright. the terrorist was standing in line to a popular nightclub called 'pacha'.

i'm now listening to the radio. naturally i'm not going out dancing. it just feels too close to home. i mean, i'm scared to go dancing today, and probably will be in the next few months. fuck. i really don't know what the hell to do. you just can't go to any public places anymore. people always say "we won't let them get to us, we'll keep on having fun". but that's just crap. when they start bombing nightclubs on friday night, nothing is safe anymore. all i can think of right now is that i really have to get the fuck out of this fucking country.

i don't know how many injured or dead there are, but the reporter was trying to ask a girl if she had seen what happened, and all the girl could do was scream "what are you talking about? there are dead children here."

in the same newscast i heard that a bomb went off in the city where i grew up, on the street where my best friend used to live. his parents still live there. i called him up to make sure they are all right, but didn't get through. they would have said on the radio if anyone died, but i still hope they're all right.

my dad just called to make sure i'm all right.

some parents aren't going to get through to their kids tonight.

I don't know if I should post this but I honestly feel to much emotion on this subject to resist.

I was raised Jewish and I place a strong emphasis on my Hebrew heritage. It's not that I'm a religous man, but those bonds are my blood. If you were raised Jewish like me, you know that the emphasis is more on morality, tradition, and antiquity.

Israel is a place my family always made a point to visit. Around age 13, after the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah, the teenager was encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. To breathe the air. To touch the Western Wall. But more than that, my family wanted me to see the land promised to the Hebrews in Torah, or Old Testament.

By the time I was old enough to make this journey, the violence had erupted fresh and anew. My grandparents were there in the early 80's I believe. A battle broke out down the street. Gunfire, explosions, death, horror. My grandparents, the sweetest people ever known to mankind, caught right in the action. Thank what had to be God that they weren't killed, either by a stray bullet or terrorist action. If that was the case, I do not believe I would be as strong or dedicated as I am today.

After I joined the American military, I was sure I made a mistake. I went to my Lay Leader and begged her to find a way for me to transfer to the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). They are reputed to be one of the toughest militaries on Earth. I went to services on Sunday with two Israeli citizens that had come to America and joined the US Army, for whatever reason. They were Counter Intelligence Agents. They told me stories of their relatives, and things about Israel. God, how bad I wanted to go. You see, every registered Jewish person has automatic citizenship in Israel. How bad I wanted out, whatever the consequence. Needless to say, it did not work out like that, and I've never seen those 2 again.

As I was home before I left for training, I began this battle with myself about moving to Israel for the military. As I watched the news, live pictures from the club and bus bombings in August of 2003 came on. I watched as paramedics came running by with a stretcher. They had a little girl on it. She had cute little black shoes with ribbons, and a frilly little white dress stained red with blood. Her face was covered. I prayed it was by blood, not because there was nothing left. I cried. At that moment, I wanted genocide. I wanted to murder anyone that was envolved then murder their families. I sit now and recall my reaction. How I tingled with bloodlust. I was on fire. I still wonder everyday what it would have been like to follow my dreams.

Now, Israel is being called a terrorist nation, and so is America. Everything I know, everything that I embody is attacked daily, called evil. I'm an American Jewish Soldier, and that combination adds up to be, probably, the most hated combination on Earth, as it stands right now. How can I be so wrong, when I feel so right? How can I be so evil, when I religiously believe that I am contributing to a higher good. How can the venom and bile, to coin a phrase, of someone else's pointed hatred towards me make me question the validity of my entire existence? And in the end, I feel resolve. But if everyone in an argument knows they are right, when there is no factual answer, then who can say they are right? The side with more passion? The side with more people?

How can I question my country when I am sworn to defend its decisions. It isn't that I've been lied to. I know the consequences of my actions. I know that every day I wake up, I face an entire globe of hatred and criticism. We were told recently that a possible Al Qaeda cell is camped near our base and watching our moves in the village outside. Why is my country so evil?

It's Not.

My country isn't evil, people are evil. And I suppose the only true way of telling if something is good or bad, is how many people believe it at the time.


To clear a few points:

I don't mean people on the other side as being evil. I mean the people that abuse politics or the military for personal gain, fraud, and concealment of the truth. That is evil.

I don't deplore killing, it is part of humanity. There will always be war, because there will always be radical variance in the way people think. You cannot abandon battle as an option, although it should be a tentative choice.

By questioning things, I mean, I'm trying to gain perspective. I'm asking, "Am I the one that is wrong?" "Would I think I'm wrong from other angles?" "What is really going on?"

It gets so, so much worse once you leave.

All of a sudden you're not on top of it anymore - your acquired defences are stripped away almost immediately. You don't automatically know that something's appened from the sad songs on Galgalatz; you find out on the Ten O'Clock News like the rest of the world, and by the time you've scrambled to call your parents and see they're OK they're in bed and over it already. To you it's a major drama, which is weird because it's never been that before. To them it's just another weeknight.

In time you forget how quickly events move there. You write an email to a friend the morning after hearing something on the news and get a bewildered response - that was a whole two days ago for them, after all. Gradually you get left behind. You fall out of the loop. You don't live at the same level of intensity anymore and they can't slow down enough to include you.

Making the customary round of calls after each attack to see that your friends are all safe is now a major financial investment that you can't make - so you get left behind with the fear, thinking oh well, I'd hear about it by now if someone had been hurt, and the guilt, the terrible gnawing guilt that you are here safe and sound and they are getting killed, blown up, shattered, riven, torn, mutilated...

You can leave it behind but it doesn't make life any easier. In some ways those of us who are dealing with it on the spot have it easier.

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