§277 Daddy, why is there war?

January 14, 2009

Today the alarms sounded in Jerusalem. It was just me, the boss and a volunteer in the office. We went downstairs, then back up. Tried to check the internet, tried to call municipality (busy). Turned on the radio. What’s going on? The war can’t have reached here, right? It must be some sort of drill… but no one notified us. A quick check with my wife confirmed that it’s the same home in Ma’ale Adumim. She was just on her way to pick up the kids. She wrote about her experience here

Turned out it was a mistake. A pretty severe mistake.

On the bus on the way home I heard other passengers discussing it. Apparently  all schools and kindergartens brought the kids to the bomb shelters. No risks taken, responding immediately to an unexpected situation. Hats off to all teachers. A quick check with my wife confirmed that our kindergarten teacher had done the same.

I checked with the kids. Yes, there had been a sound in the air, and they all went to the “store room” (which is what they use the bomb shelter for). I explained that it was just pretend, but that in the areas near Gaza where there is war, they have to do that all the time. Now here’s the trick. How do you explain the very existance of war to a child, and how do you explain this complicated situation? I grew up in Sweden, I learned about it when I was around 10 (and then I was still convinced that “all arabs are terrorists”).

I explained to him a simply as I could that there are countries that are dangerous to Israel because they don’t like us. They think that there shouldn’t be any Israel. And sometimes they even shoot at us. My son expressed an opinion that all those people should be thrown in the sea… that’s where it came in handy to explain about “forgive them, because they know not what they are doing”. I explained to him that Yeshua teaches us to love and pray for those who hate us. If we don’t do that, and we are angry back at them, then we become just as dangerous for them as they are to us.

Not an easy thing to explain to a child. But I think he has to know. Who knows if we might need to run to the bomb shelters one day. If Hamas conquers Ramallah, or if they get missiles with further length, or if Syria or Iran attacks – anything could happen.


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