Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Letter from the South of Israel

As rockets fly from Gaza into the Israeli south, Federation friend Tal-Cheni writes to her friends and family from her appartment in Be’er Sheva . She has given us permission to share her powerful and real life story with our community.

Toda Raba and Kol Tuv, Tali.


Dear Family, friends & loved ones,

Wishing to share with all of you abroad a bit of what I've been going through in the past 48 hours.

I think it’s important for you all to be educated a bit about the rocket attacks on Southern Israel over the past few days since I don’t know if, or how, the world press is showing you what's going on here, or at least what’s happening from an Israeli perspective.

So a bit of background for those of you who are not updated with what’s going on with me: I am now finishing my last year at Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Be’er Sheva studying Art History & Education. BGU is located in the city of Be'er Sheva which has been under severe missile attack for the past 4 days since Friday night. 

I live, work, volunteer, & study in Be'er Sheva which has been my home for the past 3 years.

I wasn't here on Friday night when the rockets started falling but came home on Shabbat afternoon. It was quiet for the first couple of hours but then around 7 PM the sirens began blasting.

It's not the first time during these past 3 years while living here that rockets have fallen, but I have to say that every time the sirens sound their warning I lose my breath and my heart briefly stops beating...

When a siren sounds you have about 60 seconds to get to a bomb shelter or, if there isn’t one nearby, to find a secure area where there are no windows or glass close by… ideally it also should be located in the inner-most part of your house so you are not exposed to external walls.

When the sirens go off I leave everything I'm doing and go to the secure place in my house ~ there I wait for a few minutes until I hear the rockets boom, either when they fall or are shot down by the Iron Dome missile interceptor.

Yesterday I went to work, since the night before was a relatively quiet night & I thought that maybe the Gaza terrorists decided to stop shooting rockets.

At 3 in the afternoon the sirens went off ~ so we all ran to the bomb shelter in the building where we work; although some women were crying, we all tried to calm down so we could hear when the booms let up indicating we could leave the shelter & go back to work...there where 3 more booms and then we went back to work.

20 minutes later the sirens went off again, so again we all ran to the shelter, waited to hear another 3 booms ~ this time they all hit targets and were not shot down by the Iron Dome!

One missile fell about 1 block away from my home (approximately 200 meters / yards away!) &, thank God, although it did hit a house it did not explode so relatively little damage was done (evidently it was a “dud” which caused damage but far less than would have happened had it detonated properly).
Be'er Sheva 

The evening went on quietly. There was one siren at about 9PM, but I didn't hear it because it was sounded in a different part of the city.

I went to sleep at around midnight. At 3 AM the sirens went off again. We ran out of bed to the secure place to hear 2 missiles falling...

Eventually we went back to sleep and 10 minutes later another 3 rockets fell.

This morning around 8 AM 3 more rockets fell. And so on…

All morning long I've been hearing booming sounds but I’m wondering if it’s the sound of the Iron Dome launcher which is located in the out-skirts of the city? Or maybe possibly I am hearing the booming our air-force is causing as they fight back in Gaza strip? Not sure…?

I am now safely at home writing to all of you.

You might wonder why I am not going to my parent's house in Har Adar near Jerusalem. Well to be honest, I am kind of scared to be traveling exposed on the road between Be'er Sheva & Jerusalem. Another reason is that I work here, and although I decided not to go to the office today, I have a lot of pressure & things to do there so I can't leave just now.

I think this situation is absurd. I am not going to go into a political dissertation - all I have to say is that this is a “lose-lose” situation for both sides…

I wrote this primarily to inform my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, family and friends in the States to help provide you guys with a better, personal, “insiders’ look” into our reality here in Be’er Sheva during the past few days.

With all that said, it's important to say that this reality is NOT our usual day-to- day reality; we are in an unusual state-of-war right now; usually Be'er Sheva is a sunny, relaxing fun place to live in.

Hope I gave you a more personal insight on the news.

Miss & love you all!



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