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Listen to the mothers

We’re in the middle of a war.

It’s not a real war, not yet, my vatikim co-workers and friends tell me.

But they don’t live in the South. They don’t live in Gaza. And they don’t live on Twitter.

A real war is taking place on Twitter.

Instead of fiery op-eds in the New York Times, social media has become the new PR battleground for the Middle East Conflict.

As it should be.

Because the mainstream media is doing a poor job of telling it like it is.

To be fair, however, “telling it like it is” on Twitter also is pretty subjective. Even when it’s told by those of us with a traditional journalism background.

So what to do for a girl who wants to get the real story?

I say, listen to the mothers.

We mothers in Israel are keeping it real.

We mothers in Israel are having heartfelt, honest conversations with our children. We are keeping them calm.

We mothers in Israel might make up stories when the real becomes too real, but we share them only at bedtime and whisper them into innocent ears.

True, we aren’t always clear-headed.  We aren’t always fair. And sometimes we growl because that’s what mama bears do when they get scared.

But, mostly we observe; we ponder; and then we tell it like it is from a heart-centered mother’s point of view.

At least, those of us on the front lines of the social media war do.

* * * *

Politicians or military professionals, if they bothered to listen to the mothers,  would laugh at us. Belittle us. Keep us far away from the battleground.

We can’t risk opening our hearts too wide, the combat professionals  would say. We can’t allow ourselves to be too vulnerable.

And yet, what any social media expert will tell you is that the true value of social media is connection.

Don’t bother using social media — not for any cause, not for any business — unless you are prepared to be vulnerable. To share of yourself. To engage.

And this is why the mothers in Israel are a most effective tool in this social media war.

You believe us.

Why? Because our stories feel … real.

They feel real because you know us.

Or, at least you feel like you do.

Because we dared to open our hearts to you.

Yet, there’s a side effect to listening to the mothers …

Be prepared.

You might become susceptible to love.

Susceptible to love not just for your own child, but for another woman’s child.

(Even for the child of your supposed enemy in this not-quite-yet-a-war.)

When I listen to the mothers, my heart opens to other mothers.

Not just to the mothers of 19-year-old Israeli soldiers. Mothers who must be very conflicted: Protect my son? Or protect my country?

But also to the mother in Gaza, who might have a blog post ready to burst out from her heart, but no outlet through which to express it.

When I listen to the mothers, my heart opens

My heart…

Opens.

And it hurts. Like it should.

War should hurt.

War should hurt.

When war hurts, we are one step closer to being desperate enough to let go enough to end it.

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