My friend Dovi lives in Be’er Sheva, the largest city in southern Israel, with a population of almost 200,000. I asked Dovi yesterday (November 19th) to write a guest post about life in Be’er Sheva.
I just finished college and moved back into my parents’ home for a bit. The home I grew up in has a unique room. It has a thicker wall made of poured concrete. It has weird doors and windows made of iron and overall is very different. We call it “The Miklat”, Hebrew for Shelter. When I was a kid, I didn’t give it much thought. It was just another room in the house. It was even my room for some time, and even when I grew older I didn’t realize the significance of it, but in the past few years it has become abundantly clear.
Every home built in Israel nowadays needs a bomb shelter in it, and the reason is one: a civilian home is a legitimate target for our enemies.
In the last few years my home and family have been targeted. For the most part, I hadn’t been around, but every now and then I was home and the air raid siren went off and we rushed to “The Miklat”. Last September, I had 15 friends over for a Shabbat and we all had to cram into “The Miklat” because Hamas decided that it was a good day to terrorize Israeli civilians.
In the last 2 weeks, even before Operation “Pillar of Defense” started and what led our leaders to say enough is enough, we were fired at day and night, tens of rockets going into the hundreds. In the past few days, two rockets have hit within 500 meters of my home.
I’ll tell you about today. Today I was at home, my Mother, who is a school teacher was at home too, because there hasn’t been school in quite a number of days. We decided to play a game of scrabble. My mother was winning with two seven letter words right at the beginning and then the siren went off. We ran to “The Miklat”. We hadn’t left it yet and the sirens went off again. Throughout our game the sirens went off 5 times. When the Siren goes off we run to the shelter. Then we sit and wait and listen. We wait for the siren to stop, then to hear if “Iron Dome” was deployed. It has a distinct sound that we’ve gotten used to, and then the booms, 1, 2 and more and then you wonder, where did it hit? Where is my father? He left the office not too long ago. Did anyone I know get hurt? Will I get hurt next time? Will it hit my home?
Sometimes, when a rocket hits, the reports indicate no one was injured and no damage done, but damage is done; severe damage. This is terrorism; people in the south live in constant fear and terror.
Everywhere I go I need to think, what building can I run into? Where can I take cover? Is my whole family safe?
When my brothers and sisters with their kids come and visit, are they going to get hurt? What trauma are they going to be in after sirens and explosions?
Operation “Pillar of Defense” is a necessary war against terrorism. It is not an assault on the Palestinian people, but on Hamas. One must remember that we target terrorists while Hamas targets homes.
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