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Only a heartbeat away

'This is the hand that Israel has been dealt'

Marla Cohen is a freelance writer. She lives in Rockland County.

The sense that the Israel-Palestine conflict never will end was very much on Lauren Forman’s mind. Forman, who lives in Tenafly, has been keeping in touch with close cousins through Facebook and email on a regular basis since the conflict escalated.

“There’s this feeling that it’s never going to end,” she said. “This is the hand that Israel has been dealt – being surrounded by Arab countries that want them dead and don’t want to live peacefully.”

She has been in regular email touch with her father’s first cousin, Dovid Eckstein, who lives in Jerusalem and had served in several of Israel’s wars. She also emails with some younger cousins, Liam, Elinor, and Nir, who are in their 20s and 30s.

Forman, 35, has been amazed at how Facebook and other forms of social media have been used during the fighting with Hamas.

“Facebook has been a great tool for me to understand what’s going on. It even has a translator tool,” she noted. Her family, who also live in Tel Aviv, takes things one day at a time.

“My cousins are trying to look at the positive things. One took her bar exam and became a lawyer yesterday, so that was the bright side. And then there was the dark news that her husband was just called up to the reserves.”

After the 9/11 terror attacks, Forman recalled how worried she was every day. Still, there was a sense that life eventually would return to normal. For Israelis, she said, the stress that comes from living with daily missiles and warning sirens is normal.

“It’s upsetting to wake up every morning to hear missiles, and that this dark cloud hovers over this beautiful country,” Forman, who has two young children, said. “The instability in Israel is so unfortunate. It make me hesitant to bring my own family over there.”

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