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Gilad Perez

Everyone in Tel Aviv assists the army

Cookies, deodorant, socks, and many other products the Tel Aviv apartment complex residents collect. They are intended for their heroes who have left for the front. One resident, who does not want her name in the newspaper, says she has already collected thousands of shekels and used that money to purchase various food items.

Letters with encouraging lyrics also end up in the boxes. One reads “Am Yisrael Chai,” or “the people of Israel live,” the title of a solidarity song. Residents also draw the flag of Israel on the cards and wish the soldiers success.

Many initiatives have sprung up all over Israel to support the thousands of reservists. People cook, collect money, and bring clothes. It marks how Israel is experiencing the war right now. There is even a government of national unity, and Israelis seem to agree mainly on the army’s retaliation. Sadness and disbelief over Saturday’s atrocities have given way to unanimity and a desire for revenge.

Thousands of soldiers are already present in the south, possibly including reservists who had just decided earlier this year not to be involved because of the legal reforms the ultra-right-wing government is trying to implement. On Saturday night, the weekly anti-government demonstration was canceled, and the call for people to sign up as reservists is sounding from the same quarter.

Citizens in Israel who are not called up are chained to the television tube. Because many Israelis work from home, family members seek each other out. As a result, they experience the rocket fire, which is announced on television with orange pop-up notifications. Others choose to volunteer or go to the hospital to donate blood.

Sirens and explosions
Then the sirens sounded—residents of the apartment complex rushed to the second floor to take shelter from possible missiles. Four explosions sound, in all likelihood interceptions from the Iron Dome, the Israeli military’s anti-aircraft system. It was back on Tuesday afternoon after two relatively quiet days and nights in Tel Aviv.

But the fundraiser continues. Soldier Amit drove his white Skoda to Tel Aviv to pick up the boxes and transport them to his unit in the West Bank. “The war situation is very different now, but I am happy to help,” he says, loading the boxes of goods. “I am very grateful to you,” he concludes.

Images on social media show a platoon of tanks being waved off to loud applause. At the same time, civilians offer one last salute of recognition. The soldiers already present in the south then thanked them for all the messages of support and food they received.

No more water
A walk to the supermarket for more goods is enough to realize that Israel is at war. While loading cigarettes from a van and bringing them inside, two men talk about Hamas and Hezbollah. The store is out of bottled water. A customer says he has already visited two other supermarkets, but water is nowhere to be found.

Apart from that, the supermarket looks well stocked. Lily Krol, a customer with some groceries in her hand, says she is unafraid to take her electric scooter into the streets. “We’re used to this. My kids go back to school tomorrow.”

The apartment complex’s residents are satisfied that they were able to be of significance. That same afternoon, they are startled by sirens for a second time. But unlike the people in the Gaza Strip, the Iron Dome protects them from incoming rockets.

About the Author
As a freelance journalist in Tel Aviv, Gilad closely follows developments in Israel and the territories. He does this for, among others, The Times of Israel (as an social media intern) and Algemeen Dagblad (as correspondent). He has also written several stories for NRC, a Dutch quality newspaper. He attaches great importance to journalistic concepts such as independence and objectivity.
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