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    Posted August 27, 2014 by
    Eshkol Region, Israel
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    New violence in Israel and West Bank

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    As close as I hope to come to the Poop-Bucket Challenge

    A man from a neighboring kibbutz near the border with Gaza publicized a parody of the “ice-bucket” challenge on YouTube, in order to raise awareness of the shitty situation here in the south where we live with the constant threat of rocket fire and mortar fire.

    After a 4-year-old boy was killed by a mortar from Gaza last week, he made a video saying “...for 14 years now we are living in manure” - referring to the more than 18,000 mortars and rockets that have been fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and cities since 2001. So he came up with the “s**t bucket challenge” and had a tractor-shovel load of cow manure dumped on him. He was literally covered in it. Today I found myself as close as I ever hope to get to taking his challenge.

    My step-son is getting married this coming Friday. Due to this war, I have had to forgo many of the nice activities I WOULD have done to get into gear for it, but I had an appointment for a haircut in Beer Sheva (about a 50 km, or 30 mile drive), and I was not about to give up on that, too. There is a limit to how much I am willing to allow Hamas terrorists to run my life. The red line was drawn at the haircut. My son came with me, for an appointment he had in Beersheba, as well.

    The first 7 kilometers or so of the drive, while we were still in mortar range, were really tense. Then, after reaching the highway junction just past 7 kilometers, my personal tension-meter started unwinding. Once we passed the town of Ofakim, it went down another notch. I know how to deal with the 10 seconds’ grace period we have on my kibbutz to reach shelter once the alarm goes off warning that incoming rockets are about to explode. The 45 seconds we would have past Ofakim is a luxury.

    The time in Beersheba was pleasantly uneventful. Unfortunately, it was clear that we would be driving back home at the worst time possible: just around 8 p.m., the preferred Hamas-time for firing rockets during the prime-time nightly news shows. Again, on the way back the same biological tension-gauge built gradually, as we passed the same landmarks (just the other way around) and heard the announcements that cut into the radio station, announcing where alarms for incoming rockets were being sounded.

    As we drove into Nirim I dropped my son off at the bus stop where he had left his bike and continued driving into the kibbutz to the parking lot nearest my house. As I turned into the top of my lane, the sounds I most didn’t want to hear unbelievably pierced my consciousness: the sound of the radio announcing an alarm in Nirim and at the same time the sound of the alarm system blaring into the car through the slightly-cracked-open window, in that loud, calm, but very firm female voice saying: “Tzeva Adom, Tzeva Adom” (“Red Alert, Red Alert”). We always drive with our windows slightly open in times like these so we can hear the loudspeakers.

    In the hundreds of attacks over the years, I had never before been caught outside in a car and while I know in THEORY that you are supposed to kill the engine before you try to escape, I apparently did not remember to do so.

    I was right opposite one of the kibbutz childrens houses, which have a protective roof overhanging it to afford protection against rockets. I instinctively ran over to the wall, but unfortunately since I had been sitting in my air-conditioned car for the previous 45 minutes, my muscles were stone cold and I pulled a calf muscle in the process.

    Despite the fact that I knew all too well the ground there was directly under the spot where pigeons hang out, I threw myself on the ground next to the wall and covered my head. As I looked off into the distance I saw the flash and heard the blast of the rocket exploding in the direction towards where I knew my son would have been riding on his bike.

    I waited a minute or so, got up, limped back into my car and drove, still shaking, to my parking lot. My son was fine – albeit shook up as was I. The rocket had exploded between some of the houses, but no one was injured (physically) and no major damage was done to the houses.

    And that, my friends, is the closest _I_ hope to ever have to come to the “s**t-bucket challenge.”

    Note: I wrote this report yesterday morning. It is a depiction of an incident that happened two evenings ago. I was unable to upload it due to a barrage of incoming rocket and mortar fire which hit my house and knocked out electricity in my entire community, and the subsequent murder of two of my friends. But that is for another iReport.
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