- Posted October 24, 2012 by
Western Negev Desert, Israel
Life in the Shadow of Rockets
My name is Adele – and I live in the usually pastoral region of the Western Negev. My kibbutz is less than two kms. from the border with Gaza. We hear the Islamic holy men call their flock to prayer. That’s how close we are.
For the past eight years or so, we have been targets for Palestinian rocket fire from across the border. There are periods of calm, when my life looks very much like yours. However there are also periods of running for cover – like today.
For example, what do you think about while walking your dog? Is it about the chores you need to do? What to cook for dinner? How the meeting in the office went? Where I live, you think about those things, as well. But you also find yourself instinctively trying to calculate where you would run to if there were an incoming alert right now. I couldn’t even take them out this morning until after 9 am, since it was just too dangerous.
The mobile phone has become an integral part of our lives. In addition to the usual uses of communication between family and friends, ours are our source of information for receiving security alerts – instructions for going into the safe rooms, retaining heightened awareness for imminent attacks, where a rocket fell within our community or when it is all clear to go out again, and resume our normal activities.
When the phone buzzes in a text message before 6 am in the area surrounding Gaza, you know that can’t be a good sign. Then the helicopter hovers in the distance....and the fireworks begin. The real deal - not the celebratory colorful stuff that light up the sky to entertain and impress the crowds on the 4th of July. The kind the you know is actually being aimed at a living thing, coming from someone with intent to harm you, your family, your community, your people.
What's the connection between rocket attacks and yoga?
Well, there shouldn't be any- it should be an oxymoron, but when you live here, rocket attacks are connected to EVERYTHING.
I usually turn my phone off when in yoga class, but since my son was on his way home, and I was ready for the possibility that I might have to pick him up, I kept the phone nearby on silent mode. Which is the only reason I was aware of the incoming text message warning the entire region to go to safe areas. I showed it to our yoga teacher, who then did the responsible thing: made everyone aware of the directive, and left it up to our own individual discretion, to go to a safer area if we so chose. No one moved.
We all chose to finish our yoga lesson. At least if something fell on us, we would be the most chilled out and limber bunch of survivors the rescue teams would ever have come across. Sometimes you have to insist on keeping things sane. That is just an example of how some of us make it through these rough days, here on the border with the Gaza Strip.
And we do not go out without our mobile phones – it can literally be a matter of life or death.