Mommy, Why Are We Moving?

Soundlessly, her mother bent down, hugged her tightly and kissed the top of her head. The soldiers, eyes averted, continued packing.

Contact Editor
Isaac Kohn,

Arutz 7
10:00am. Morning of August 17, 2005. One of Gaza's settlements.

The little girl sat on the steps descending from the back porch. Her mother stood at the railing, arms folded. Tightly clutching her favorite doll, the little girl watched the soldiers packing the family's belongings into the ugly, gray trailer. Soldiers, continuously, kept entering and leaving the house carrying boxes, toys and clothing. Back and forth, back and forth the movement continued. And the trailer was beginning to fill up.

Looking up at her mother, the little girl asked softly: "Why are we moving, Mommy?"

Her mother didn't respond. Her eyes had a certain far-away look and a sadness Tamar never noticed before. Maybe she didn't hear.

"Mommy?" she said again, finally catching her mother's attention. "Why are we moving, Mommy?"

A sad smile spread across Mommy's quivering lips, but she didn't answer. The bewildered child noticed tears rolling down her mother's cheeks. Shaken, she asked: "Why are you crying, Mommy?"

Soundlessly, her mother bent down, hugged her tightly and kissed the top of her head. The soldiers, eyes averted, continued packing.

Little Tamar looked around. 'There he is!' She smiled happily as she saw her seven-year-old brother standing beneath the blossoming cherry tree. He, too, was standing quietly and watching the movement in the yard. Maybe he knows, she thought as she rose from the steps and slowly walked towards him. She almost collided with two soldiers who were carrying out her father's favorite arm-chair. She stopped for a moment to watch as they loaded the chair into the trailer and turned back towards the house for more furniture. A young soldier, his arms laden with pillows and blankets stepped out of the house. 'Why are we moving?'

"Ofer!" Her soft voice startled the boy. He's been standing there, unmoving for two hours or so. He seemed rooted to the spot. "Ofer! Why are we moving?" A sadness of sorts seemed to rest on his face.

"Go away!" he hissed at her. "Leave me alone." As he turned his head away from her, she caught a glimpse of his face. His eyes, too, she noticed, were wet. 'Why is he crying?' She wondered. But Ofer walked away. 'He was never like this before,' the thought crossed her mind. 'He's always a happy-go-lucky, teasing brother. What happened to him?'

There, near the swings, stood her two older twin sisters, their foreheads resting on their hands, which held on to the chain-link fence. They were watching the policemen across the street. The officers were half dragging a woman who was crying hysterically. 'What was she yelling about?' Tamar wondered.

Yael and Shira didn't say a word to her and she stood there for a minute or two before she spoke. "Yael? Shira? Why are we moving?"

As if on cue they both responded in unison: "We don't know, Tamar. Go ask Daddy. Maybe he knows." They seemed agitated, their faces drawn and tired looking.

"Yes. I'll go ask Daddy, because he knows everything," she decided. "But where is he?" She looked around. She suddenly realized that there were other ugly, gray trailers. There, in her friend Giora's back yard, and one in Tara's. Two ugly trailers stood next to each other in front of Hilla's house. And other soldiers, many soldiers, were packing those trailers, too. 'Why is everyone moving?'

Tamar's father seemed very agitated. She heard him speaking loudly with a policeman. She ran over quickly and tugged at his pants. "Daddy! Daddy!" He looked down at his little daughter and scooped her up in his arms.

"Yes, little one?" He stroked her face.

"Daddy. Why are we moving?" A sudden cloud seemed to wrap around her father's face as he struggled with a response.

"I don't know, Tamar. That's what I'm asking this nice policeman. But he doesn't have an answer."

'Daddy doesn't know?' she wondered. 'How could that be?' Her Daddy always knew everything. Her father always had answers whenever she wanted to know something.

Daddy put her down gently and, disappointed, she slowly walked away. Daddy watched her go.

The center of town was humming with activity. Army vehicles drove by back and forth. Hundreds of soldiers were spread out through the town, each seemingly occupied with the task at hand. Across the street, a policeman was shouting into a bullhorn. She heard him say "...get out now..." but the rest of what he was shouting wasn't very clear. She didn't completely understand what he meant, but suddenly she became frightened. A naturally curious child, the little girl was perplexed. 'Why must we get out? Why are we moving?' She had to know.

Near the flower patch she noticed a soldier playing with one of the family's three kittens. Gently stroking its fur, the young-man picked up the tiny animal and held it in his arms. He was deep in thought and was startled by the tiny voice that spoke up to him.

"You like my cat?" She looked up at him, her big, black eyes open wide.

He smiled; a soft, sad smile. "Yes, I do. What's her name?"

"Her name is Kushi... because she has a black nose."

The soldier chuckled in amusement. "And your name?"

"Tamar," she responded.

"My name is Amichai," said the soldier.

"Amichai, maybe you know why everyone is moving?"

"No, Tamar, I'm sorry, but I don't." Bending down onto one knee, he handed her the kitten. Without another word to Tamar, silently, he too walked away.

Tamar was perplexed. 'Why isn't anyone answering her simple question?' she wondered. She doesn't want to move. She loves her home, her kindergarten and her friends. Everyone was always so happy. But today, all she sees are sad faces. And tears. Why?

Frustrated, she too began to cry. The little kitten nuzzled closer and deeper into the crook of Tamar's arm, as if she alone understood the child. Softly, she purred as if to say: 'Don't cry Tamar, don't cry.'