War in Israel – Through the Eyes of a Deployed Soldier’s Wife

By Sophie Pochtar

Life in Israel conditions and prepares you for things like having your husband called into active duty on a moment’s notice. 

This is what happened to our family on October 7th, when only a few hours after the heinous Hamas attack on the south of Israel, my husband Sasson (along with thousands of other husbands, fathers, brothers and sons who are part of IDF’s reserve forces) was called into active duty. 

Sasson got the call, put on his uniform, packed his bag and headed out to his base, leaving me and our two little girls to “hold the fort” at home. 

When Sasson left for the army, and throughout the following 4 months of his service during this time of war, I realized what it’s like to be a single mother.

That October 7th pierced us all so deeply and changed so many things in us. I remember making the decision to take my little girls and going to stay with my mother while Sasson would be in the army. 

A 7-minute drive to my mom’s house on that fateful October 7th felt like the most stressful drive of my life. I kept going over every possible scenario: “What if there’s a siren?”, “What if the terrorists entered Ashdod?” 

I was certain I’d be going to stay with my kids at my mom’s for about a week, and that it wouldn’t take that long for the whole situation to be resolved. 

I ended up staying over a month at my mother’s apartment, feeling like I was responsible for everyone’s mental well-being.

Thankfully, I have an 8-year-old little sister who really helped me with my girls (Skye is 4 and Kim is 2 years old). However, after 3 weeks of staying with my mom I realized I couldn’t go back to our old apartment that wasn’t secure enough for us. I felt I had to change to an apartment that had a safe room, so I wouldn’t have to worry about waking up at night to the sound of sirens and taking the kids outside to the staircase, which was considered the “safest” place in our previous apartment building. 

God prepared an amazing brand new apartment for us, which symbolized a new and fresh beginning for us.

The move was entirely on my shoulders since Sasson was still deployed. He was able to get back just long enough to help me move our furniture, the rest I was moving myself over four days, bit by bit, box by box, in our tiny car. Thankfully, our little girls were able to get back to preschool, and I was able to haul our things in the mornings when they were at school. 

At times I felt so broken inside, I had so many questions for God, and so much anxiety over my little girls, being alone with them during wartime. 

I placed myself last and fought with everything I had to keep our daughters’ joy and routine uninterrupted. I prayed so hard for Sasson’s protection every day, that he would be safe everywhere he went. 

It’s a season that made me grow unlike any other before, and become even more independent. Now, four months into this war, I feel I’ve grown so much in strength that I can move mountains, which is basically what I’ve been doing for the past four months; working, raising kids, even starting my studies during the war, without any help. 

There’s no other explanation as to where I found the strength to do it all during such a heavy time aside from God giving me supernatural strength. I felt His fatherly presence, how He just took care of me the way I take care of my girls. He knew to send the right people my way at the right time and in the right circumstances. 

I felt the Lord cry with me, break with me, laugh with me. I remember a moment of silence, when I just broke down in tears, crying out in emotional anguish. It was only about 10 days into the war, and I was asking God “Why?”, I kept telling Him how unfair everything was, and the only thing I heard from Him in response was: “Did you notice how there’s no hatred in your heart towards them? Did you notice how you’re filled with love, just like you asked me?” 

Such an intensely emotional moment and encounter with the Lord just made me burst with laughter, the cleansing and purifying king. I felt it purged me from the pain and anguish I was feeling. 

Four months into the war, Sasson is finally being released, he will be free to come home in the next two weeks. We will focus on building our life together again as a family after these loaded four months in which we have lived a lot of things, together and apart. 

There will be a lot to unpack, Sasson has lived through a lot during his deployment, and I see he is carrying a heavy burden. At the same time, I see how God placed in his path people who helped him tremendously, supported him and gave him the space to be what he needed to be right now: hurt and angry at what he saw and experienced during his service. 

It’s remarkable to find this type of family in the Lord, who is not looking to fix you, but just accepts you as broken and hurting, just like Jesus would do. 

Today, as we’re picking up the pieces, trying to heal and return to our routine life, the hole we carry in our hearts is still enormous. However, God is slowly but surely taking this burden off our shoulders and is working at healing all of our hearts. 

Am Israel Chai — The Nation of Israel lives