I’m tracking Hurricane Sandy, on the Internet, calling my sisters in New York. My husband and son are stuck in Texas, can’t make it back to New York for their flight to Israel.
I think of all those millions of people in the east of the US who face the stormy weather. And then I remember Sderot and the Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip and Beersheba and Ashkelon who are, even now, being attacked. In America you sleep in a shelter only when there’s a gale force hurricane. In Israel sleeping in a shelter has become a somewhat ordinary event. Almost every day lately missiles are being fired into our southern areas: more than 80 were fired last week before the ceasefire — which apparently didn’t hold.
On Sunday, I spoke on the phone with a friend in Beersheba who told me that he had to go, there was a siren, he had to move to a shelter. A woman I know from a small community in the South participates in an art therapy program in Jerusalem run by our foundation, the Koby Mandell Foundation, named after my son who was murdered 12 years ago by Palestinian terrorists. She suffers from trauma as a result of her home being hit by a Katyusha rocket a few years ago. She didn’t suffer physical injuries but has suffered from PTSD since.
The recent barrage of rockets near her home has left her shaken.
Yet, where I live in the West Bank, the katyushas could be as far as the hurricane. Only, the hurricane is being talked about. The hurricane will pass and the people on the East Coast will clean up. But the missiles aimed at the southern cities of Israel — very few people are talking about them. And there’s no plan of stopping them.
Maybe it’s time for all of us, and especially the media, to take a good long look at the suffering in the southern border communities of Israel. True, thank God, the number of casualties is relatively low. It doesn’t look so bad, because we aren’t living there. But it’s time for our nation to respond as if it were an emergency. Because it is.