Instead we traveled and visited friends and family for the two weeks that we had. We went to Jerusalem twice, spent a lot of time with my cousins in Kfar Saba, and went North and to the beach - everywhere away from Gaza.
One particularly interesting visit had us in Azor, a town southeast of Tel Aviv, where our family had a magnet on their refrigerator explaining how many seconds there were between hearing a siren and when the rocket would hit from the previous Gaza conflict. This was a bit jarring for me as the harshest magnets I had on the fridge growing up rebuked you for not clearing your dishes. It is unfortunate the this exists in the daily lives of so many.
During our two weeks we heard four sirens - one of which when we were driving and had to pull over to seek shelter with other locals. When we looked up we could see the rocket trails and the poof of smoke where Israeli's Iron Dome system had destroyed the rockets before hitting ground.
Much like with my Birthright trip, it was unique to experience this firsthand and think about all the ramifications of the current crisis. Hundreds of people are dying for a battle that many would agree they don't want but "need" to have, whatever that means. I have friends and family who are currently fighting in and around the Gaza Strip and I worry about them. The people living inside of Gaza are in a very bad situation and may not see hope in sight. I wish this conflict to end peacefully soon so that people from both sides can stop dying and begin talking to each other about what needs to happen to make peace.