Letter to Israelis and Jews During Times of Stress

During times of emergency, whether we are from the Right or from the Left, live in Israel or in the Diaspora, the most important thing is for us to keep our spirits high, keep clarity of mind and purpose and lucidity of soul. We must do so to support our soldiers who are risking their lives defending us. This clarity is essential when the world seems to blame us; when worldwide chants and demonstrations clamor for our death; when criticism from an irresponsible media pours in; when lies and destructive narratives are spun against us and accepted as truth.

Here are seven essential rules for us to follow:

First rule: Healthy Survival Instincts. While many in the world would like to see us compromise, we must maintain our most essential need – a healthy instinct for physical survival – making sure our children, people and country survive, and survive as intact as possible.

Second Rule: Sound Ethics. Keep our sense of ethics by defending ourselves within the rules of law. If we have to use deadly force, we do it only in self-defense and not out of aggression. Our leaders called for restraint and showed much patience and a real distaste for military engagement. They did not call for revenge and were reluctant to engage militarily, both out of concern for our soldiers and for the loss of Palestinian civilian lives. Our sense of ethics asks us to have compassion without guilt for an enemy leadership that has a distorted vision, and for its brainwashed or captive population. It requires us to have compassion for their dead, while maintaining clarity that the enemy is responsible for those deaths by using civilians to shield their subversive para-military tactics. It requires us to risk our soldiers’ lives because we will not carpet bomb the enemy.

Third rule: Survival with Ethics and not ethics at the cost of survival (for which some of our very own people call). Israel is currently managing a legitimate war of survival, and it is pursuing its goals in an ethical manner, at the cost of Israeli lives. It cannot and must not sacrifice its survival to ethics. This order of priorities is crucial, as confusion about it empowers our enemies and endangers our people. Our natural tendency against violence can be a deterrent to our legitimate instincts for survival, aggravated by the double standards to which we are held.

Fourth Rule: Recognize Support. Tune into those who love us, support us and understand us around the world, and feel the strength of it in our body and soul. Use their support to reinforce our resolve and morale. Check in particular for new voices and awareness emerging. And connect to the resource of solidarity and unity.

Fifth Rule: Recognize Betrayal. Know that the allies who betray us do so out of weakness and economic interests, which obscure their moral fiber. Forgive their choices and, most of all, do not waste energy feeling disappointed and enraged by their betrayal. Use this knowledge to better inform your expectation of support in a conflict situation moving forward.

Sixth Rule: Maintain Emotional Balance. Make sure to keep your emotional balance! Remember your bigger mission is for the Jewish people and Judaism. Do not give in to fear or fatigue and make sure to keep your nervous system balanced. Learn to release stress on an on-going basis, after every piece of bad news, in order to keep the bigger perspective and not be overtaken by the dark moments. Use all the tools that you normally use to keep your equilibrium and learn the new ones available at: Seven Steps During Times of Emergency at http://www.traumainstitute.org.

These tools allow your nervous system to constantly regenerate and fight against the cumulative aspects of arousal, worry, fear and anger. And if you need professional help to discharge, seek it. Do not let stress accumulate.

Seventh Rule: Recognize Hatred and NEVER Accept it. Those who hate us because of their anti-Semitism, do not hate us because they know us, but because they were taught to do so from their mothers’ milk; because they know they denied our rights to land, history and religious position, and they cannot forgive us that we survived to remind them. The Holocaust was but a very dramatic manifestation of a most turbulent ancient relationship.

NEVER believe what they say about us.

NEVER believe in the justness of their hatred.

We know their hatred is not justified, because we also have an enemy, but we do not hate him. We know that if the enemy changes his mind tomorrow and becomes peaceful, we will embrace him. But we must remember that for those whose hate is ancient, their hate is not personal. It is collective and archetypal. It is in their very cultural bone and cell. They do not know any other narrative. We will keep trying to help them change this narrative.

In the meantime, we must make sure they NEVER succeed in compromising our sense of collective self; that we know whatever our faults and weaknesses are, our hearts are pure, guided by thousands of years of Torah. nurturing us and guiding us on the path of peace.

“Am Israel Hai!”

Let’s remember our history and our teachings to:

 confront war with ethics and justice, with defensive weapons and the preoccupation to minimize destruction;
 confront the brutality of war with humanitarian ceasefires, even when our enemy breaks them;
 supply the enemy with the very electricity they damaged and which they use to attack us;
 erect field hospitals to treat the enemy wounded.

We must continue to show what the sacredness of life means, emphasizing that all our sacred books teach us to care for all humanity. We must make the sacrifices of this war count. We must allow it to unite all of our different parts, to clear our confusions and to allow us to dialogue among ourselves about the issues at stake and the future we want for our people and for Israel.

Each of us holds a piece of the truth for our people. Each one of these pieces has a critically important value. In order to pass it on to the People of Israel, we will need to purify our voices from any anger, fear, mistrust or disdain. They just separate us. We need to speak with confidence about our part and with respect to those we are addressing. We will need to listen knowing that our heart is a composite of the heart of Israel; that each part presented to us is as essential as ours. We need to clean the gold of our truth from any silt, any “klippa.”

Our future needs it. The future of the world depends on it.

Gina Ross, MFCT, is Founder/President of the International Trauma-Healing Institute in the US (ITI-US) and its Israeli branch (ITI-Israel). Born in Aleppo, Syria, Gina lived in eight different countries on four continents. A specialist in individual and collective trauma, she authored a series of eight books “Beyond the Trauma Vortex into the Healing Vortex,” targeting 10 social sectors implicated in amplifying or healing trauma. She also created a “Protocol for Conflict Resolution and Successful Communication.” Gina focuses her analytical and advocacy work on the collective trauma behind politics, specifically the Israeli-Jewish/Palestinian–Arab conflict.

Trauma is an everyday event both natural and widespread. It impacts victims of “ordinary” events such as traffic accidents or falls, as well as “extraordinary” events, such as natural disasters, wars, and terrorism. ITI serves as an international resource center bringing continuing awareness to the issue of trauma being at the root of violence, and behind intractable conflicts. ITI also provides training models and materials, workshops, and trainers to heal stress and trauma, and develop resilience at national levels. ITI workshops in conflict resolution and effective communication help develop a special apolitical language to address all types of conflicts, from the personal to the international levels.
In the workshop, participants:

 Learn a universal language of communication and collaboration
 Practice with protocols for conflict resolution and constructive dialogue
 Learn effective mediation by deeply understanding all sides involved
 Use indispensable tools for emotional balance, while addressing conflicts
 Approach any type of conflict with a calm and thoughtful response

For more information about our next workshops, please contact us at: (323)954.1400
or email: gina@ginaross.com

You may reproduce (i.e., print, make photocopies and download) this information without prior permission for non-commercial purposes, on the condition that you provide proper attribution to the work of Gina Ross, MFCC, in all copies. More information at http://www.ginaross.com
and http://www.traumainstitute.org. Email: info@traumainstitute.org Tel: 323-954-1400

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