I didn't really debate going to this wedding beforehand. I knew it was near Ashdod, I knew it was potentially dangerous, I knew there had been rockets earlier today. I've been keeping up with the news and was hoping the escalation would be over by tonight, but I knew the chances of that were pretty low. I didn't start panicking until I boarded the bus. Then the reality of the situation hit me and I started thinking about going home. I don't want to die, I thought. I don't want to be near a rocket when it hits the ground, I don't want to run to a shelter, I don't want to be scared for my life. Suddenly, everyone on the bus looked terrifying, every backpack and briefcase could've been holding a bomb, everyone wearing a sweatshirt was hiding something. I stood up and started getting my stuff together, ready to leave.
And then I realized what I should've been thinking the whole time. If I got off the bus right then and went home, they win. If I miss my friends' wedding, if I'm too scared to take a 20 minute bus ride, the Palestinians have accomplished their goal. They have taken control, the power is in their hands.
I've always said that I regret not going to the army. I say that I want to fight for my country. I want to show the world that I'm not afraid to die for something I believe in. I've argued passionately that Israel is something worth putting your life on the line for. I say these words all the time, but as I stood on the bus, debating my next move, I wondered if they were true. If I was brave enough to stand behind them. And I sat back down. Because I realized that THIS is the way I can fight back. I won't change my plans, I won't let my decisions be guided by fear, I won't jump every time I hear a loud noise.
I made a decision to make aliyah, and in that split second I went from being a citizen, a student, to a soldier. I don't have a uniform or a gun, I haven't been trained in warfare, but I can fight for my country by just living here. By not letting myself be afraid.
I went to the wedding tonight. There were three rockets that flew over my head, all intercepted by the Iron Dome. I didn't run when the alarm was sounded. I danced with the kallah and my friends, danced all night long until we were exhausted. We sang מי שמאמן לא מפחד and I closed my eyes and believed it. Hashem is protecting us. That's really all there is. We cannot be afraid.