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Letter: My trip to Israel ... a vacation in a war zone!

I just returned from a trip to Israel where I inadvertently entered a war zone! My husband, son and I went there for my eldest son’s wedding as he had met an Israeli girl.

Unfortunately, shortly before we were scheduled to go, three Israeli boys had been kidnapped and killed and things had heated up exponentially between Israelis and Palestinians.

Immediately before our son’s wedding, a rocket was aimed at Israel. Luckily it was stopped in the sky by the Iron Dome rocket protection system! Nevertheless, some of the guests who were late and had not yet left home decided not to come as they were too scared. Nevertheless, the wedding went on as planned and was a joyous event with much dancing and wonderful music.

The next day we were awakened in our rented apartment by sirens. We had been told to go to the center of the apartment building, which is supposedly safest from attacks. I was very frightened and told all my family members how much I loved them.

It’s a lot different being under attack than seeing such things on CNN! The children of families in the apartment block were crying; it was obviously traumatic for them they did not understand why bad people would want to harm them.

Unfortunately, feelings of wanting peace seem to be waning in Israel and what I heard from Israelis was the desire for revenge. This saddens me as revenge when multiplied can only lead to a downward spiral. However, I cannot overemphasize that Israelis really are being attacked so it is easy for people living in the safety of other countries to comment suggesting this or that solution.

In the railway stations I saw numerous soldiers — they were obviously being called up for some planned action. This also saddened me as they were fresh-faced young people looking just like the students I see here from GCC or UMass, but in a few days they would have to risk their lives to protect their country.

Despite the stress, we did some “vacation”-type things. I visited Jerusalem which was beautiful with amazing old buildings ... by old I mean maybe thousands of years old or at least hundreds in many cases. There were still many pilgrims in Jerusalem seeing the holy sites of the Christian religion.

They told me, “We planned to visit the Holy Land and a few bombs will not deter us.” There was a couple from Nigeria with their family members who came to see the holy sites and get married in the Holy Land.

Overall, it was an amazing experience, but I am certainly happy to be back in Franklin County.

RUTH WITTY

Greenfield

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