Here we go again…Savta is back visiting the kids this week in Otef Aza (in Israel on the Gaza border). More Red Alerts, more planes overhead and a lot more tension. A home in the center of the country was hit this week and totally destroyed. That family ran to the secure room and were saved. The center of the country was hit again this week, a direct hit on a home there. Surely there would be a strong retaliation from Israel.
(Note for years the residents of Otef Aza have suffered constant red alerts, sirens and destruction to their homes, The Kassam rockets, loud noises and trauma are a constant in their lives.)
When my 4 year old granddaughter hears loud noises she will turn to me and ask: “What is that loud noise?” The children and the adults are aware of the noises and tensions all around. It’s a constant fear.
Chugim (afternoon activities) in the area were cancelled because of the situation, and the 8 year-old said “Why cant I go to the chug?! I’ve been waiting for days to have it.” How does one explain the situation to the children without frightening them? It is as if this is their “way of life”: living in constant fear and trauma.. As the children say: “T’nu lanu ligdol besheket” – Let us grow up in quiet and peace!
The Otef Aza residents expected that there would be strong reactions from both sides: trains were canceled to the area, roads were closed all over and restrictions were communicated to the residents. As in the summer of 2014, there were families who quickly evacuated their homes and left for relatives and friends in other parts of the country. Pack up your family, not knowing what will be and run as fast as you can for safety somewhere else.
A new day. “Relative quiet” is reported…maybe a “ceasefire.” The cycle continues: sirens, Red Alerts, and now: no time for Cheerios!