By Galina Manya Eilyuk. Edited by David J. Chernobylsky
As she leaves him and heads back to America, her heart is empty. She has experienced fulfillment. She knows where home is.
Sobbing and wishing she hadn’t left, she looks at a picture of her dear soldier. She is proud. He guards Gaza, a true combat soldier. Holding his gun proudly, he is protecting his nation day by day.
The plane lands hours later and she is thrust back into her American life. Yet, already she is planning her next visit. Making plans seven months in advance, she books a flight and eagerly awaits the day.
She knows undoubtedly that her home was is not here. It is in the land of milk and honey, the Jewish State. She follows social media as it relates to Israel and is updated on every news headline that passes by.
Speaking to him every day, she gets to know her solider better. They giggle on the phone for hours, wishing away the time they are not together and hoping for the moment to come when they can see each other again. But that’s not it, is it?
Her love for him is strong. But for her country, her home, the love is even stronger. She realizes she needs to be there for herself. Aliyah is her dream.
She awakens to the news report of the missing students. She sits there in front of her screen, bothered and worried. It has only been two days since she had returned from her trip. Yet, it seems as though as soon as she left, the land was calling her back. The land lacked the peace it deserved. It lacked freedom is sought. The entire country sat in worry, waiting for the news on the missing boys.
Some time has passed, and all the while her soldier has constantly remained on guard at the Gaza border. The soldiers are now required to follow specific instructions, in order to protect the State that the Jews have fought so hard to regain.
Days of praying. News updates. Netanyahu consoling and speaking to the nation…the news has come out. MURDER!
The poor innocent students had been murdered. All she can do now is pray. She is in America and any ability to gain peace and help her nation is far away, across the entire world.
Making sure her soldier is okay, she realizes the world has gone mad. The war has begun. A war of power. A war of hunger. A war of peace. He tells her he has to go. He is going into Gaza. To fight. On the front line. She panics in her heart. She prays for his life and the lives of the soldiers around him.
Days go by and soldiers are being killed. The war zone escalating and is hitting its peak. Destruction is so real it sends innocent communities running into bomb shelters. When will the day come when the peace our nation yearns for us upon us?
Two or three weeks pass. Her eyes are always peeled on the news reports. Her heart always silently prays Shema for the fallen soldiers. Finally, he calls. He is alive.
He is damaged. He is suffering. He has killed countless terrorists. He has suffered blow after blow. A Gunshot here, a bomb there. He fears for his life. So young and yet still strong in his heart. Yet, he is suffering. Nightmares, tears, praying, suffering. We are all suffering.
The climax has hit its greatest—the war is over, isn’t it? No. It will never be. Is it safe to go? She has been told countless times her trip should be postponed. Israel is not safe.
Ignoring their words, she allows those months to pass by. All the terrorist attacks slowly dying down. The world seems to be living in a sort of unspoken peace. She is going home.
She touches the Kotel, finally after seven months. She sees his face, finally after seven months. She feels the warmth of the culture. She feels the safety of being home. She feels the love and the bond. It has never left her.
No matter how hard they try to kill us and keep us away from our country, she does not listen. She continues, immersing herself in the culture. The good and the bad. She wants it all. It is her life.
All she can will for herself is that Israel will one day be her home. Terrorists strike again. She doesn’t fear. She walks the streets with poise. She believes in peace. She believes in freedom. She believes in love. She believes in home—in Israel. Israel is home.
My name is Galina Eilyuk and I am student at Rutgers University. I am majoring in Criminal Justice and hope to one day work on a kibbutz as a social activist. I have visited Israel twice and will be going my third time this upcoming summer. I fell in love with Israel the moment my plane landed. I felt the spiritual sense and the emotion straight away. Israel became my home away from home and my plans to make Aliyah only reflect the love I have for Israel.