Howard Cohen relates the story of one of his students at an engineering college in the Negev struggling to keep up with his studies after Israeli police killed his father, demolished his home: “He had used the word killed, it was me who had used the word murder, but the words were irrelevant at this moment. He wasn’t interested in making a political statement to me, he was making an existential one. That was clear enough. ‘You see it’s so difficult for me,’ he went on, wiping away the tears that had welled up at the corner of his eyes and which threatened to stream down his face. ‘Everything was under the rubble. I even had a workbook for the class but that too was under the rubble together with my ID card and all our other belongings. They didn’t give us any time to leave. They bulldozed the house with all of our possessions in it. I’m trying to return to my studies. It’s important for me to continue, in spite of everything. But it’s so difficult for me. My head just isn’t there. And it’s going to be difficult for me to attend all the classes and prepare for the presentation.'”
“On the first night of the bombing, the Israeli navy shelled Beach Camp to the north, firing explosives into a thickly populated refugee camp that had no weapons to return fire. A few blocks inland, members of my team taught their children to dance to the peculiar backbeat of naval fire, to distract them from their fear. The colleagues living nearest me wanted to leave their families, to pick me up and shelter me in their homes,” writes Marilyn Garson, who worked for Mercy Corps and UNRWA in Gaza between 2011 and 2015, where she lived through two wars. Read her incredible memoir of that tumultuous time, which included her coming to understand her connection to Judaism while under fire from Israeli warplanes.