Ever since this horrible war started, I keep getting dozens of daily notifications that fresh produce from Israel’s southern farms is being picked by volunteers and distributed in our street and town. People are going out to pick the crops so it doesn’t rot on the vines and trees for want of farm workers, so that the farmers don’t go bankrupt. There is always someone hawking delicious cherry tomatoes, avocados, tangerines, oranges, pomelos, hydroponic lettuce, and much more.
People are sharing tips on how to buy local, and how recognize and avoid imported tomatoes from Turkey like sold in the supermarket. Buying local is part of the war effort, and we are all making it.
You also get notifications that a farmer is bringing in fresh eggs. From the south. Or plants. From the south. I will buy anything if it’s from the south! I will do anything to help those poor farmers who went through such a tragic time. And everyone else feels the same way.
People I know of all ages are heading down south to help with the harvests. Teenagers, retirees not used to physical labor, soldiers’ moms who just need a away to use their time to keep from worrying. I saw on the internet that the Chassidic Rebbe of Karlin has instructed all his Hassidim to go help the farmers with the harvest. And so you’ve got all these hassidim climbing up ladders and picking fruit! I even saw that people are coming from overseas. Yesterday, a bunch of young men in cowboy hats arrived at Ben Gurion Airport from Arkansas and Montana (not Jewish!) to volunteer to help the farmers!
Truthfully, what a lovely country! What wonderful people Jews are, and Israelis in particular. They would, literally, give you the shirt off their backs. I’m going to read you some of the notices I got just today on my WhatsApp group for the street I live on:
- “You can buy big pomegranates, sweet and juicy, coming from the Gaza farms, Pick up at my house!”
- “Dear Neighbors, my childhood friend, the artist Dondi Schwartz from Kibbutz Be’eri, is having an exhibition of his work on main street this Friday. We don’t have any flyers to give out, but I’d be so grateful if all of you will please come and spread the word!
- “Gabi the farmer called me this morning, almost in tears. The group that was supposed to come help pick his strawberries didn’t show up. Please go to help him!”
- “Here is the list of ways to volunteer at the Eden Inn hotel which is hosting displaced families from the south… equipment lists, volunteering with the children, social workers can volunteer, psychologists….”
You get the picture. The entire country has become a ceaseless hub of unselfish activity for the benefit of others. It’s amazing to see, and to be in the midst of it.
If there wasn’t a war on, and if my grandson wasn’t trained in explosives and in Gaza blowing up tunnels every night, I think I could almost learn to enjoy this!
The Gazans were so lucky to have us for neighbors all those years. We gave them water, electricity, jobs, treatments in our hospitals. I know to all the haters that must sound ridiculous, but you and I know it’s absolutely true.
Rabbi Rowe makes the excellent point that there are so many conflicts going on in the world, so many countries that are murdering civilians, in the millions stealing and occupying whole countries, like China did to Tibet, and yet the entire world is watching Israel with a magnifying glass ready to pounce on fictional sins they accuse us of. Rabbi Rowe says this is because those filled with evil and darkness are enraged by the light in the Jewish people. Hitler said it right out: The Jews brought the idea of conscience to the world. Of Godliness. And so the more evil people are, the more enraged they are at the Jews, the more they want to destroy, degrade, and punish us to prove that we Jews are just as evil!—no, immeasurably more evil!—than they are. Or anyone else.
But I see that the good people of the world, in their Montana and Arkansas cowboy hats, come to help us with open hearts, attracted to that light they see in us, and have come to Israel to share it. And one day, as Rabbi Rowe points out, the Jews will join together with all the good people of the world, and we will beat our swords into plowshares, and nation will not raise its hand against nation. And the Jews will be recognized and loved for the beautiful people they are. And the lowest dregs of mankind who perpetrate evil, and go out into the streets to celebrate it, will simply be destroyed, or will die out.
The work our soldiers are doing in Gaza, is spiritual work, ridding the world of people who have absolutely no reason to exist except to bring misery and pain to all who come into contact with them. Do you think mass murderers and rapists are kind to their wives and children? To their neighbors?
It did my heart good to see the great exodus of Gazans from Gaza City during the window of opportunity the IDF gave civilians to walk out of the danger zone without being harassed by Hamas. Could you imagine? Our soldiers have to protect them—our enemies—from their freely elected government who is using them as human shields!
But then I came across the video of the Gazans reentering with their truckloads of Jewish hostages on October 7. How they exulted, how they savagely beat their captives and spit on them! Savages! To watch them walking meekly now, with their hands up, waving white flags as our soldiers monitor them, is such a surreal experience.
We are kinder than they deserve. We are saving them from leaders who not only don’t care if they live or die, but are actively trying to get them killed.. But I don’t expect they’re going to send us a thank you note any time soon. Nor will the howling, braying mobs that fill the streets of Europe. But at least now we can put it into context.