Going Home 1991
In between my bathtub revelation and my actual visit in June of 1991, Saddam Hussein decided to send 42 scud missiles to Israel during the first Gulf War. Miraculously, only one person was killed in Saddam’s scud attacks. In fact, it was only the observance of the Jewish Sabbath that saved the lives of dozens of Israelis that normally would have filled a Haifa mall, as a scud made a direct hit in the center of the shopping center. It is also interesting to note that Saddam Hussein was defeated on Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrating Haman’s defeat from the book of Esther.
We landed on a hot summer day at the old Ben Gurion airport. Today, Israel sports one of the nicest airports in the world, but back then things were different. It is hard to kiss the ground when you exit through a connector that takes you right to the terminal. At the old airport, you exited directly onto the tarmac—you left the plane and stepped down directly on Israeli soil.
Plus, once you grabbed your bags and passed customs, the next door you went through led you outside! Today it leads to a huge hall where relatives eagerly await to be reunited with love ones. You see, just about every flight that comes into Ben Gurion Airport is International. While people do sometimes fly to Eilat, it is very rare to take a commerical flight inside of Israel. You could more quickly walk!
My point is this. There is something so special about our airport. There nearly always 100 plus people waiting for love ones.
- A young Israeli returning after a year of traveling arrives to not only her crying mother, but the rest of her family and friends.
- An orthodox Mother and three kids coming home from a visit with family in the US, as the father waits with flowers.
- A young man, ring in hand, waits for his girlfriend to return to Israel from abroad, so he can propose.
- And then suddenly, 100 jet-legged, but adrenaline-driven teens from America exit into the greeting hall, as they begin a one-month adventure that will change them forever.
- A Christian tour group from Nigeria or Baton Rouge…
- Or in my case, you wait with about 50 other families as your teens arrive back at 3 AM from a 10-day school trip to Auschwitz.
There is no other nation like Israel.
- We were prophesied to be resurrected.
- We were born out of the ashes of the Holocaust.
- Our very existence is threatened everyday of every year.
- We are surrounded by radical Muslims and dictators who despise us.
- Virtually every war we have fought, has been for our very survival.
- We are made up for Jews from scores of cultures around the world.
- And we are the Land of the Book…there is a Presence in this country.
Israelis have a greater appreciation for their country than arguably the citizens of any other nation. We understand how precious every moment is and how precarious and fragile our existence is.