Dear James, we will win

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Dear James, thank you for the email you sent me last night following the phone conversation between us. You brilliantly expressed your empathy with the suffering on both sides of the current "conflict”. You expressed your support for our hope for better times and summed up in that you are praying for quick and just peace for everyone living in our long suffering neighborhood. Your writing was beautiful and balanced. I thank you.

I want to apologize, James, that we had to end our conversation a little earlier than planned and hurriedly; that was completely rude. You see James, the sirens that sounded throughout our city, towards the end of our phone conversation, compelled us to run to the protected area in less than 90 seconds, which doesn't leave much time for polite good-byes. We kind of have this thing, James. We may not be polite, but we desire to live. When we are shot at, we have an interesting habit: we tend to protect ourselves and our children. We don't want to get hurt. Our country invested countless resources in protecting all of us. Normally, our Government does not expect us, the citizens, to defend with our bodies against the attacks that occur periodically, every few years. We believe that self-defense is the responsible and correct behavior.

And therefore, dear James, our “conflict” does not show well on TV and social networks. It does not appear to be "balanced". Because we are careful to survive the salvos of hundreds of rockets systematically aimed at our homes and our children. I am aware that many people around the world would like to see here a balanced number of victims on both opposing sides. Some draw, such as at the World Cup, with one side only winning in a penalty shoot-out. People would probably prefer to hear about several hundred Israeli civilians dead and wounded and may then express a little more solidarity with our endless suffering. But I hope you understand me, James, I prefer to look bad on screen but stay alive and breathing, together with my family, as abnormal as our life may be.

And I am not going to apologize for this, James. Not at all. I am also not going to apologize for expecting my Government to instruct our military to not leave a stone standing in a house from which rockets are being fired at my children or from which our soldiers are being threatened. It is even somewhat personal, James, you know? Because I really don't like to see my children running to a bomb shelter to survive a rocket attack intended to murder them and many other citizens. Besides, my son Lior right now is somewhere in the Gaza hell. He was sent there with his friends to protect the citizens of Israel, amongst them his brothers and his parents. And really, but really, I have no problem, neither conscientious nor ethical if IDF artillery turns into rubble every structure from which he or his friends, or my children or any other Israeli children, wherever they are, are threatened. Even if the result is not balanced, even if it does not look good in pictures.

But do not worry, James. Our cooperation, which we discussed in the last few months, will remain completely intact. You don't have any reason to reconsider your joint investment with us, since the rockets raining on our heads these days will switch very soon, as it has happened many times in the past, with the quiet after the storm. And when the long-awaited peace arrives, you will feel very comfortable coming back here for your traditional annual visit. We will go to the best restaurants of Tel Aviv, visit promising high-tech companies, discuss the market trends, and consider many varied collaborations. And you will return to your country, distant and quiet, and wonder about these strange Israelis, who can invent the world’s most innovative technologies and build around them substantial high-tech companies, but are unable to grow brave leaders, who will create a new and better reality around them, instead of returning time and again to familiar patterns of behavior, which are outdated and losing.

In the meantime, dear James, we are here. We continue to work, to develop and to dream about a better future. We have no intention of going anywhere else, James. Your investment with us is a very good move. We will stay here forever. Justice is on our side. And we are going to win.

(Published by "Globes", July 22nd, 2014; English: Gershon Schatzberg)

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