TIF: Awakening to national security

TIF: Awakening to national security

Gabe Freeman

Staff Writer

Reporting from Israel – Tiferet provides us an opportunity to learn the history of Israel, live independently, and build unique relationships with our classmates. In addition to the experiences and memories we are creating, we are also developing our own ideas and opinions about Israel. Prior to living here, my knowledge of Israel and opinions of the country were based only on what I was taught and what I saw on the news; however, living here has presented me with the opportunity to see Israel in a completely new way.

Photo by Samantha Simon.

A few weeks ago we were sitting in our core class when a loud siren suddenly went off. Unlike a typical fire alarm, this one could be heard throughout the entire city and we immediately knew it was something serious. The students were caught completely off guard, but as we jumped out of our seats, the teachers reacted very calmly. We quickly received notice that the government was testing the alarm system across the country in case of emergency; however, this served as more than a test for me. I started to understand the constant threat that surrounds Israel and that all the people here must be prepared for the worst.

I can hear stories and read newspaper articles about Israel, but these tangible moments have helped me understand what it actually means to be a part of Israeli society.

A week later our teacher announced at the beginning of class that we would be going into the city that day to participate in a national five minute period of prayer for Gilad Shalit, a kidnapped Israeli soldier. Each minute represented a year that he has been held in captivity. We stood on the sidewalk and watched all the cars promptly pull over to the side of the road at 11:00 a.m. People got out of their cars, and then five minutes later, continued their days. I found it to be very powerful that an entire country could stop to remember a single man in his suffering.

While these two events of the last few months were not planned by the Tiferet Staff, they left a strong impact on me. I can hear stories and read newspaper articles about Israel, but these tangible moments have helped me understand what it actually means to be a part of Israeli society. Living here has better enhanced my constantly developing ideas about Israeli politics and culture, and will continue to help me understand the devastation that Israel and the Jewish people have experienced throughout history.