1 a.m. JPost red alert: Sirens in the south.

Check my phone and the news.

1:30 a.m. JPost red alert: Sirens in Ashdod.

Check my phone and the news.

2 a.m. JPost red alert: Sirens ...

And so on and so on has been my nightly lack of sleep, monitoring what is going on over the past week in Israel. I am sure those reading this will say just turn off your phone, but that will not solve the churning in my mind, my stomach and my heart.

In 1986, I visited Israel for my first time on a staff trip from BBYO and fell in love, and that love affair has continued through over 60 visits, the last in 2019. During that first trip we met members of the Israel Defense Forces, and today I am honored to continue that relationship with Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. But this column is about my family in Israel, over 7 million family members under siege, as I write this.

Every corner of Israel is on high alert as our homeland is surrounded by others that wish to attack us without warning, forcing citizens to head to shelters with incoming rockets. While we are fortunate to have the Iron Dome, it’s not 100%, and that places my family at risk. Unfortunately, during these trying times there is loss of life, severe injuries and challenging mental health concerns. Now, many will say Israel is not blameless, and I am certainly not playing politics here, but I can certainly say the Jewish people value life and show it.

How, might you ask? When we are going to retaliate and attack, it is with cause and purpose and from much research where to target very specifically, and we give warning, giving them time to relocate and get to shelter. Hamas just wants us dead, and they do not care about their citizens either.

As a Zionist, I feel for Israelis and Palestinians as innocent people are being rushed to shelters because of Hamas’ barrage and hateful agenda. Our friends in Israel are sleeping in bunkers and are truly afraid.

And I can’t stop thinking about our brave, young soldiers, especially those lone soldiers. They are also protecting our country. Lone soldiers make the difficult decision to leave their families in the United States and around the world to serve Israel. They are always in our hearts and minds, and especially at this time.

The FIDF is in emergency campaign mode to raise money in order to provide essentials for all soldiers, essentials that are now needed more than ever. If you want to participate in this much-needed emergency campaign, visit fidf.org.

This is the week of miracles, and we must pray, all of us, this will be another miracle for the Jewish people. God gave us the Torah this week. He made us the people we are – strong, determined and stubborn, blessed, grateful and joyful.

If we can somehow have a miracle, our families, friends and loved ones can return to normalcy. No more sirens, no more shelters and no more rockets.

If all of this can happen, I can be sleeping with less worry in Lyndhurst.


Lane A. Schlessel is director of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Ohio.

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