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    Posted November 20, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Your stories

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    A Calgarian living in Tel Aviv


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     MeganGelmon is a student studying at the University of Tel Aviv in Tesol, Israel. This isn't the first time that she has been in Israel during a time of conflict, she was in the country during the Lebanon war, in 2006. Although Israel is not her home country, she continues to live there because of her connection with the Israeli people and the love for the country.

    'I feel proud to be with the Israelis during this time of heartache. If I were at home my thoughts would be here so while I am scared because the city I live in is a target for Hamas, I am content,' she says. 'It is very hard to articulate the feelings I have about Israel. I love it here. Even in times of war and horrible suffering, I somehow feel safe because Israel does not quit. This is the only Jewish state in the world and while I am not religious by any means I am spiritual and this country has a feeling like no other.'
    - Jamescia, CNN iReport producer

    November 15-19 2012.
    “All the soldiers say it’ll be alright we may make it through the war if we make it through the night, all the people they say” .
    Well, I can indeed say that those lyrics have taken on a whole meaning for me in the past six days. Where do I start? Perhaps an appropriate introduction. My name is Megan. I am only twenty-three years old. A naïve Canadian, if you will, that is until a few days ago. I never thought that humans were really capable of such hate and disregard for a stranger’s life. Unfortunately, I was sadly mistaken.
    Thursday evening, 6:40. We were preparing for my roommate’s birthday celebration/thanksgiving dinner. A siren. Disbelief, petrified and numb. That sound. That ghastly shriek. Was it real? In Tel Aviv? A siren? Why? Why did people want us harmed or worse, dead?
    I opened the window as the sound rung to make sure that it was so. I turned to see Yuval, his eyes as big as saucers. “Lo, ze lo yechol leheyot”. Silence. I don’t remember moving. I ended up trying to ration my medication for that night and the following morning. As I said, a naïve Canadian, what do we do now? Medication? HA. Out the door we went to the bomb shelter conveniently located in the basement of my apartment building. Hebrew spatters and phone calls. What are they saying? Listen Megan, pay attention, the words. Still, I couldn’t comprehend the situation, nor their constant exchanges. My landlord was smiling. “Al tidagi, ha kol yeheah beseder, yallah habayitah”. I cried, and as I was looking out the doorway I saw a woman walking. She looked as though nothing had happened, going about her night as usual, Yuval telling me not to worry. We returned to the apartment. Our guests arrived and the night was a quiet wonder.

    Friday afternoon, relaxing. Another siren. The residents of my apartment building congregated in the hallway on the first floor. My landlord smiling as usual, as if to assure us all, as he has lived through this again and again. BANG. “ze hayah karov”, my neighbour said and with that, we returned to our day.

    Saturday evening. Another siren. My landlord’s smile. To the bomb shelter for this one. I ran down, first one there, Maytal by my side. We smiled at each other, making light of the furniture that we encountered in that small, reassuring space below the ground. Two plastic chairs. BANG. Back to our apartment to continue our readings that had been interrupted by outside disagreements and war.

    Sunday morning, 10:40am. Fifteen of us sat in our pedagogical grammar and theory lesson when the siren sounded. We went to the hallway and sheltered ourselves between the two walls with no windows in sight. BANG. Another interception by the iron dome. Class ended, another began. Zoning in and out of another long day of class. Trying to keep my thoughts on subject matter rather than on the reality that awaited us outside of the Dan David building. Our school day concluded at 5:45pm. I went to the library alone to use the printer. When I finished I went to catch the bus and saw the 25 driving away. I had missed it by four seconds. A pit lay in my stomach. Laura, an older southern gal appeared and I embraced her. I knew that we would be in whatever was to come together. Sure enough, my gut did not fail me. It was a 20 minute bus ride home and at the stop before mine, another siren. Laura’s face went white. I sat near the door for a reason. We jumped up and I looked behind me at the stampede of young adults running for the doors. I don’t remember actually moving my legs. Laura kept repeating something, again, I was not comprehending words. I just kept telling her that it would be alright, not to worry, follow the people, just follow the people. We ran to into the entrance of an apartment building with the rest of the crowd. “Noo kvar, yordim! Yordim”! I saw the narrow stairs and an elderly woman staring at them. I helped her down as people behind us were screaming at us to hurry up. It seemed as though we had been in the shelter for less than 40 seconds before another massive explosion was heard. “Chazack” the girl next to me uttered. Laura was worried about her son. He was home alone, again. She was speaking but I couldn’t help watching those who surrounded us. Israelis conversing, laughing. I suppose I am beginning to understand what someone once meant when they said, “when you lose your sense of humor, it’s all over”. Those women smiling could have been crying but when you’ve lived in this country long enough, if you don’t smile you become numb. That’s my theory anyways.

    I am a lucky person. I have a lot to look forward to and a family to go home to, a safe country to go home to actually. I can’t pity these people, for pitying them would belittle them as well as the lives that they lead but I can’t help but wonder how they must feel. Why is it that they can’t live in peace? Why are there teenagers standing at the border waiting for orders to look death in the face? Israel will not quit. It will not withdraw from protecting it’s people, it’s right to exist and its right for freedom of fear. Wherever I stand, I stand with Israel. I am proud to say that I live here. They say that the best things in life are worth fighting for and until there is peace, Israel will be fought for by those who understand just how much a life is really worth.

    This week has forever changed my life. I guess that’s what Tel Aviv does to people. God bless those in the South and the innocent civilians on the other side of the border.

    That’s all for now.
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