It is Tuesday evening, on the seventh day of this "Pillar of Defense". We dash for cover numerous times a day. The Kassam rockets are heralded in by the haunting “Red Alert” warning. The mortars (which are even more deadly than the Kassams, due to the explosive materials they bear) don’t even have the decency to give any warning (albeit sometimes you can actually hear them being launched). Over ten of them have landed within the living-area of the kibbutz where I live, less than two kms. away from the border with Gaza. We are literally being targeted by the shooters.
Schools are closed. No one except for essential personnel (medical professionals, social workers, etc.) can go to work. We are supposed to be in our safe rooms at all times. There are NO children in the kibbutz – they have all been sent to a kibbutz up north – with one of their parents – out of harm’s way. It is amazing the way our community has organized itself. There is an emergency committee who meet daily and coordinate essential activities. They know who leaves and who comes. There are daily updates on the kibbutz website. Since we are not allowed to go to the store, we call in our lists to a few of the kibbutz members who have volunteered to do so, collect the groceries and staple items and deliver them to our houses. Life has taken up a new pace. This is not a situation you get used to. It’s a situation you learn to live with.
Walking your dogs – the simplest of daily chores, has become a life-threatening challenge. You need to calculate where you are walking and think about where you would run to if the alarm sounded now….
I deplore the fact that people are being killed on either side. But where is the value of life in all this? What country in the world would overlook even one rocket shot into their territory? Look at how Turkey responded just a few weeks ago, when Syrian rockets were fired at them. We cannot go on living like we have been until now – waiting for the other shoe to drop. Never knowing when or where the next rocket will fall. I believe that the IDF are doing surgical hits, as much as possible, to spare innocents. But why do the Hamas endanger their innocents by shooting rockets from urban neighborhoods, and hiding ammunitions in buildings that house families?
A little known fact: Israel provides Gaza with their electricity. Israel allows materials and supplies to pass through the border crossings. Where is that heard of – in the entire world? Supplying and supporting a population that yearns for your destruction?
The cultural divide is so vast, that it is difficult to understand the other side’s mentality. According to one Palestinian, their people “love death for the sake of the homeland”. In our culture, every life is a universe unto itself. Every life is precious.
Tonight there is talk of a cease fire from midnight. Often, before a cease-fire goes into effect, the bombardment becomes even more vicious – tying to get in as many more “hits” as possible before the “gong” rings. I hear multiple explosions in the distance. It’s going to be a long evening……
BTW: I had to run to the safe room four times in the space of time that it took me to write this.
“We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”