Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Calm and the Calamity

Taking a few days off to visit the incredible wild flowers now seen in the Western Negev, we were touring just 3-4 kms from the border with Gaza. When we informed a friend in the States of our plans, her reaction was "isn't that dangerous?". I suppose that unless one lives here and is aware of the realities of way we live our lives, the influence of the media creates an image in one's minds that is totally removed from reality.

From our last visit to the area it was good to see that the government has finally got round to building safe rooms for those residents living close to the border with Gaza. Although there is still work to be done, we saw many, many homes such as those pictured below which avoids the need to run to an outside shelter within 15 seconds.

Addition of safe room to one's home gives more security

We had also read in a recent Jerusalem Post report that the shop owners in Sderot were still struggling after the enforced shutdown of their businesses due to the last outbreak of violence some weeks ago. Whilst the government has paid some compensation to shop owners, for many, it did not cover their expenses and they were finding it difficult to meet their obligations.

As we have a number of grandchildren's birthdays coming up shortly, my wife felt that we could help in a small way by buying presents in Sderot.

The newspaper referred to one specific shop keeper who had a jewelry shop "near the city center" and gave his name. We parked our car in the center and spent half an hour asking residents if they know of such a name. After the 5th or 6th time we hit the jackpot and found "Eduard". He was so overjoyed at our visit as a result of the newspaper write up. Unfortunately, he didn't have the type of item we were looking for but he introduced us to his friend nearby and we were pleased to be able to buy from him.   

Eduard in front of his jewelry shop
The calm and serene atmosphere, the peaceful quiet we felt as we toured the area made it difficult to believe that just a few short weeks ago, rockets were constantly raining down indiscriminently on all and sundry. The calamitous situation were life became abnormal was not apparent with anyone whom we talked to. In fact the kibbutz where we stayed escaped without a single hit. Yes, miracles did happen. 


Ashley DICKENSON said...

The Vatican, according to a report in 'Israel Today', is quick to condemn Israel for lives lost in Gaza as a result of 'Operation Pillar of Cloud' as well as to condemn the blockade (set up to prevent weapons-smuggling). Yet it is silent when it comes to the 8,000+ rockets fired from Gaza onto towns such as Sderot. One Israeli soldier relates how she had to sleep in her sweaty combat gear in order to be ready for the fifteen-second warning. What about the lives lost in Sderot, Ashkelon & Ashdod?

Ashley DICKENSON said...

The eight days of Operation "Pillar of Defense" have been some of the hardest I have ever known physically and emotionally. The college student from Arizona would never have thought it possible to work 20 hours a day, fueled only by adrenaline and longing for just an hour of sleep on a shelter floor -- wearing the same filthy uniform because changing, much less showering, wouldn't allow me to get to a shelter in time when the next rocket barrage hit. And no, wearing the green uniform does not mean that you aren't afraid when the sirens sound.
Words of E Lee, IDF Soldier of American descent, January 2013