That Song from the Bomb Shelter.


sara merson

No doubt we all remember the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, where Hamas rained down rockets upon Israeli cities, and Israel retaliated by attacking Hamas in the Gaza strip.

A number of related stories were trending on Facebook at the time, and I  remember landing on an Israeli Facebook page where someone had posted a young lady singing from an Israeli bomb shelter. Her song was very beautiful, both in the way she sung it (she had a great voice), but also in the lyrics.

Just the other day I thought that I might like to hear that song again, and so I asked Mr Google to find it for me…and it turns out that there’s an interesting backstory to the song. 

The song was sung by an American girl named Sara Merson, who was working in the Israeli city of Ashdod at the time (near the Gaza Strip). The Times of Israel reports the following:

To deal with her Operation Protective Edge-induced anxiety and inform about what is happening in Israel, Merson put together a video of herself in a bomb shelter singing Matisyahu’s international hit song “One Day.”  The video includes footage of her boyfriend Sagi Hassin’s family taking cover as the air raid siren sounds, as well as clips from news broadcasts showing the damage caused by rockets that landed in her city.

You can listen to her song here:


Interestingly enough, the song that Sara sings is a Cover called ‘One Day‘, by Jewish Reggae singer Matisyahu…who (coincidentally) is someone that I’ve been listening to a bit recently.

The song ‘One Day’ is a peace anthem, written by Matisyahu, declaring his hope and desire that that ‘One Day’ there would be peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

I think it’s very commendable that Sara Merson sang a peace anthem when Hamas was targeting rockets at her and her friends. To be perfectly honest, if Hamas was targeting rockets at my family, I’d be very tempted to sing a somewhat different tune! (And yes, deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime).

Thankfully, as her video clip shows, the new Israeli air defence system known as ‘Iron Dome‘ was able to intercept most of the Hamas rockets before any civilians were killed.

As I reflected on this whole story, it occurred to me that 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1: one of the most tragic and horrific wars in human history. (At this time, 100 years ago, my great-grandfather was fighting in the Austro-Hungarian army).

And so as a Christian, it got me thinking:

1) There is a time for war. And a time for peace. Wisdom is knowing the difference between the two. 

World War 1 should not have begun. There was no need for it.  Nothing was gained by it. Millions of soldiers fought, and died…for no real gain. (In fact, speaking as a Hungarian, WW1, and the ensuing peace treaty, would rate as possibly the greatest disaster in Hungary’s 1000 year history).

1914 was not a time for a war, but a time for peace.

However, by the mid-late 1930’s, the time for war had come, as far as the western Allies were concerned.

Had the western Allies taken a more forceful stance toward Hitler in the mid – late 1930’s, when he was blatantly contravening many of the Versailles peace treaty conditions (e.g. militarization of the Rhineland, Anschluss, carving up Czeckoslovakia etc), and had they confronted Hitler at that time, before he was fully mobilised for war, they arguably they could have stopped him before the real bloodshed began in September 1939.

Instead, we had the Munich agreement of 1938, where then British Prime Minister declared confidently that he had won ‘Peace in our time‘. It was a vain and pathetic hope.

The same goes for conflicts like the Rwanda Genocide: if ever there was a time for the UN to intervene militarily into a nation’s civil conflict, it was then. Instead, the rest of the world stood by, whilst 800,000 men, woman and children were butchered in the most horrific way.

2) ‘One Day’, there will be lasting peace. But not until the end of history. 

We can all hope and pray for peace in the various conflicts throughout the world. Songs like ‘One Day’ may well help inspire the move toward peace. However, the sad reality is that peace is very hard to come by. And it is fleeting.

Just prior to 1914, Europe as a whole had been at peace for around 100 years.

Sure, there had been regional outbreaks of conflict (e.g. Franco-Prussian war of 1871), but they were localised. There had not been a pan-European war since Napoleon’s campaigns, in the early 1800’s.

In fact, intelligent people were declaring that the age of war was over: that war was no longer possible: that Europe would never go to war with itself again.

How tragically wrong they were.

In the Christian worldview, there is no expectation of a lasting world peace this side of Jesus’ return. Sadly, war will continue.

The book of Revelation symbolizes this through the marauding ‘four horseman’ of the apocalypse, who currently wreak havoc on our world:

Revelation 6:3-4   3  When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”  4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

Nevertheless, ‘One Day’, there will be peace.

All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day

One Day, ‘there’ll be no more wars’.

One Day, ‘our children will play’.

One Day.

May that Day come soon.

Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

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