I return home from shul and Eicha to a very quiet house … no TV, no phone callers, just silence.
It’s just me alone with my PC checking on the past day's events in the only place in the world I really care about.
I’ve watched many wars play out in Israel, but never felt as involved and joined-at-the-hip as this time. Maybe it’s the sheer impossibility of fighting an enemy which shoots from hospitals, hides behind children and counts its own civilian casualties as war gains. Maybe it’s because of the anti-Semitism it has unleashed here once again in Europe.
I am reading an article about the Hamas charter and its absolute and explicit commitment to the murder of all Jews, and how this was spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood’s collaboration with Hitler in the Second World War.
‘Gong-gong’ breaks the silence in the house.
It’s the Code Red app on my smartphone. The readout says two towns in the south of Israel are again under rocket fire.
I see it’s 1 a.m. Israel time and I think of kids being dragged out of their beds into shelters for the umpteenth time.
It gongs again. More rockets. No peace even on our saddest national day.
A third gong goes, and I realise that it’s not the asymmetry of the war or the local anti-Semitism that has us all so much more closely involved in this conflict. It’s the app!
That Code Red that’s been gonging away for over three weeks now, at all times of the day and night. Each one jolts us out of the complacency of our diaspora life and daily pursuits, and reminds us that our brothers and sisters are under fire and that their children are being traumatised night after night.
And why? Simply because they are Jews.
The Hamas charter seems so clearly to be just a continuation of Hitler’s work, along with the fascism in the streets of Paris and London.
And I wonder about something else.
Imagine if there had been such an app in the Holocaust?
Imagine all those American Jews hearing a gong every time a single Jewish life was extinguished half a world away in Europe.
Six million gongs.
At one a minute, it would have taken eleven and a half years.
על אלה אני בוכיה - עיני עיני ירדה מים כי רחק ממני מנחם משיב נפשי
For these I weep - mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me.