It’s easy as an Oleh to sit here and react to what is going on here in Israel at the moment, but you have to wonder what it’s like for the people back home. Some Olim are lucky enough to come as a family so they have that support during this time, but there are those who have come here and left everyone behind and for them it must be a stressful situation knowing their loved ones are here at a time of crisis.
I’ve been here in Israel nearly 3 years and since then I’ve been here during Operation Pillar of Defence and the now current Operation Protective Edge. For me it’s a situation that I’ve never been in before, one that I’d read about, heard on the news… but I had never experienced before what it was really like to be here when the sirens are going off and you have to run to a shelter, safe room or even find some cover outside. It certainly is an experience that cannot be forgotten and I wish I did not have to experience.
Living in London prior to Aliyah I was in central London on July 7th 2005 very close to Tavistock Square where the bus bomb went off and I remember seeing the smoke that rose from the destroyed bus, I remember being told to stay in the centre of the building to not go near the windows and being told it would be several hours before I could leave the building. It’s a scary experience to just sit there and wait until the all-clear, I know it’s not the same as what is happening to the people in Ashkelon, Ashdod or any of the places that are regularly hit by rockets, but in some ways it gives me a little insight into what they must feel. Because being stuck in one place and not knowing when you can move because of danger is a frightening thing.
As I said at the beginning, what must it be like for someone who is England while a loved one is here in Israel? They can’t do anything except listen and watch the news and I know that I would be worried myself. Someone told me I should be careful what I write on Social Media, because if I describe how I had to kneel down beside a wall while the siren goes off, what my parents or friends would be thinking.
Two personal stories that have happened since I arrived in Israel; at home during Operation Pillar of Defence my Dad Skyped me; naturally I accepted the call, but even as I did the siren went off and before he could even speak I told him the siren was going I have to go to the safe room and I disconnected and went there. Even as I did so, I couldn’t help thinking what was he doing now, was he sat by his computer waiting for me to Skype back or had he gone to the television to see if there was any news. Fortunately though the rocket hit nearby it wasn’t near me and I Skyped my parents back.
The 2nd story is from a few weeks ago, my Parents had gone away at the end of June and they had not much access to the news apart from what Sky News was broadcasting but they managed to ring me and even as I talked to them the sirens went off for the first time in Tel Aviv and I had to cut them off to find a place to shelter. It was only 20 minutes later I received texts from them asking am I okay and I replied to put their mind at rest.
I think the point I am trying to make is that yes, we are living in a bad situation now, but for those loved ones who are overseas it is probably far worse as they can only imagine what we are going through and must have a feeling of utter helplessness as they fear the worst.