Friday, August 18, 2006

The War

On July 16th I had to flee my house – and came back after having wandered around the country with my family for 30 days. If you want to get a glimpse of what the war has done to my personal life, here you go.
I live in a small village in the Izrael valley. It’s in the northern part of Israel, but quite far from the border with Lebanon (about the same distance as Haifa). I have a magnificent little girl, a beautiful wife 7 months pregnant and a crazy dog. In the proximity of our village is an important air-force base. In normal days, the sound of the planes is not very pleasant, but you learn to live with it. We knew, before moving to that village, that if a war was to happen, our little heaven would be troubled, especially due to the proximity to the base, who is an obvious target. We never figured how much …
To keep things simple, I’ve decided to summarize the impact of this war on our day to day life as follows:

  • We don’t have any shelter in our house – so from the beginning we had to flee in order to be safe. So we slept 30 days at other people’s who have been kind enough to open their house for us (6 different places).

  • Rockets landed a couple of hundred meters from where I was, and more importantly from my girl’s kindergarten (in the town next-by).

  • The first time the rockets landed close by, all phone lines in the neighborhood of the kindergarten crashed. From the road we took to the kindergarten it took a while to understand that the smoke came from behind the kindergarten and not from there exactly…

  • At some point my wife decided to go back to work (we were staying at our in-laws at the time who unlike us have a shelter). The sirens caught her when she was in the parking lot, ready to go back home. It’s an open lot, with no cover at all. At first she simply dropped to the ground, in order to try and avoid the deadly bullets. When the rockets started to fall she tried to find something to she could shelter under. She found a place with a 3 millimeter roof where a few other people were taking shelter. The funny thing was that the roof was the last of their concern – there were many gas tanks pilled up right next to them … When the attack was over, she literally flew home. Two hours later there was another attack in the same area. 3 of the rockets landed right in the path my wife uses back home.

  • One specific attack was particularly scary – we were at my in-laws and when the siren started my mother in law was in the shower. She didn’t make it to the shelter on time. Suddenly the rockets started falling – REALLY close. My wife, who’s 7 months pregnant sat next to me, in the shelter. At that moment, while we felt the whole house tremble and her mother wasn’t answering our calls – I thought we were about to loose our baby.

  • Before that same attack, my 2-year old girl was looking at a DVD of the Teletubies. For those who don’t know what this is – they are little creatures who are happy with everything and laugh for anything. You could rip their heads off and they would still find a reason to laugh and be happy and nice. Anyway – from that moment on, my little girl doesn’t stop telling me that “the Teletubies scared her”. She has become moody, winy, and can’t stay more than a few minutes without seeing us both (don’t even think of leaving her with somebody else). She often wakes up screaming shortly after having fallen asleep, probably due to nightmares.

  • Until now, when I hear an ambulance my heart misses several beats – my first reaction is that it’s a siren again. Any strong noise (even a door being slammed) makes me fear a rocket has fallen. When I’m with others, we usually exchange looks and it’s clear to all that we all experience the same thing.

  • The thing is – we are among the lucky ones. None of our friends and relatives got killed or seriously injured. Just to show you how lucky we are indeed - a friend of us lives in another village next to us. Two of her nephews who live in the same village got hit by those horrible bullets being propelled by the rocket when it explodes. They each got 2 bullets in the arm. In the past two weeks they endured together more than 10 surgeries and they are not over yet. Imagine if the bullets had hit the abdominal region or the head…


Anonymous said...

I was wondering why you hadn't posted a new entry in a while. By the grace of Hashem, may this war end soon; and may your unborn child grow up in a world and an Israel of peace.

Please know that those in the Diaspora share your pain and suffering.

Joshua Lewis
South Africa

Tomer Gabel said...

And on a less, er, Jewish note, I too share your pain. My workplace is just north of Nahariya and we felt the brunt of the of attacks.

I didn't really sleep for a month. It's not an experience I hope to repeat. I consider myself fortunate for being young and reckless, without a family to worry about; if I were in your position I'm not sure if I could handle it all.

Anonymous said...

I'm writing from a country where war seems as far away as it can be. The newspaper write smart things about it, but you never get to know what it means to someone living there. Thank you for this post. I'm feeling almost a bit guilty for having all this peace and wealth here.