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It’s 1 a.m. in Israel and I Can’t Sleep

jerusalem night

It’s 1 a.m. in Jerusalem, and I am awake, even though I have small children who will be up in a few short hours. I am not awake because I am a night person; friends who know me know not to call past 8:00 p.m. If it’s up to me I go to bed at the same time as my kids, 8:30, on a really tired night, or when I am feeling adventurous, sometimes I make it until 11:00.

It’s 1 a.m. and I am awake, and tonight isn’t even unusual at this point because I can’t go to sleep at a regular time anymore, because I am too upset, or nervous, or sad, or scared. That’s most nights, that’s normal nights, the new normal I mean now that Jerusalem seems to be under siege.

READ: What It’s Like to Be a Parent in Israel Right Now

It’s 1 a.m. and I am awake, because at 11:39 I heard sirens, and then more sirens, and my husband wasn’t home from work yet, so I ran to the phone to check if he was OK. Because I have learned over the last week and half what those sirens mean, that there was just another attack.

It’s 1 a.m. and I am awake, even though I am so very tired. Because I haven’t slept in a proverbial week. But really because when I heard the sirens a little over an hour ago, I knew it would take about an hour for the news to be updated on the internet, about an hour before there would be reports of what just happened only a few blocks from my house.

READ: 6 Ways I Talk to My Kids About the Political Climate in Israel

It’s 1 a.m. and I need to go to sleep, even though the adrenaline is coursing through me, and I have read the news, and this time it wasn’t a terrorist. This time it was a Jew, mistaken for a terrorist, because he got belligerent with a soldier who asked him for identification—a soldier who was just doing his job. But the man didn’t like feeling like he was being accused, so he attacked the soldier, and now he’s dead, the second man this week who was killed because he was mistaken for a terrorist by soldiers who were just trying to protect the people, who were trying to do what was right. But now this situation is so intense that it’s hard to know who is a terrorist and who is just in a bad mood. And I am awake, writing, because it’s the only way I know how to process what’s going on here. And if you ask anyone here what exactly is going on, he or she’ll tell you they don’t even know.

READ: How to Go About Your Daily Life in Israel in the Midst of a ‘Stabbing Intifada’

It’s 1 a.m. and my baby is tossing in her sleep, crying ever so slightly, like she’s having a bad dream, so I look over to her to see if she needs me, and I pat her back and say it’s OK. Sweetie, it’s only a bad dream, I say, and I wish someone would look at me and say the same thing.

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