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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Israel and Eilat

I love Eilat for short periods of time when it is just me and the sea, the fish, the glorious heat of this city and, to some extent, the innocence of believing there could be a terror-free zone in Israel, or there should be.
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“Did you hear about the rocket that hit Ofakim three weeks ago?” he asked me.

“I hear about every attack,” I said to him. “Was your house damaged?”

“No, it hit down the street,” he explains. “We’re a messed up country, that we don’t stop this!”

“What will be in September?” I ask him. What a funny world that I am asking someone Elie’s age what he thinks the future will be.

“We’ll hope for good and know we have the ability to stop them all, but will we?”

He heard sounds of explosions coming from the Egyptian side of the border and looked up, “what were those booms?” he asked. I had no answer, and never found out. The entire three days of our vacation, an Israel naval ship.

Several years ago, while vacationing, I saw the navy ships in the Red Sea, but I had never seen one stand, as this one did, every day, all day.

“How long have they been here?” I asked the young man.

“They’ve always been here,” he answered, “and they always will be.”

Maybe that’s the part that got to me. So young and already he knows – we have always been at war, and we always will be. We have always needed our young men and women to protect us, and we always will. And most important, we, the Jewish people, have always been here, and we always will be.

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About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.

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