On the third day of Operation Sheild and Arrow my body is in Netanya, but my heart and head are in Nirim
I live on Kibbutz Nirim, 2 kms from the border with the Gaza Strip. We are a resiliant communtiy, with a crime rate of 0%, the air is clear and our green fields of wheat separate us from the border. We are close enough to hear the Imams from the blue minarets in Abbasan Kabir, Gaza, calling the faithful to prayer when the wind is in the right direction. 95% Heaven. We also lie within mortar range. 5% Hell. Being on Nirim during the 5% when we are in the midst of a military escalation, like now, are challenging and sometimes deathly dangerous. But it’s not easy to be away, either. I never will say that I am used to being there when there is rocket fire. No one ever “gets used to” the Red Alert incoming rocket warning blasting out through the loudspeakers, and our phone apps, making sure that no one misses the cue to drop what they are doing and run for cover. However, being away from the thundering explosions, brings me no sanctuary, either.
It’s my own fault of course. Since my evacuation yesterday I obsessively keep tabs on the situation on my phone and the tv most of the time, and since I have been spending the day giving interviews for all different channels and countries, I feel obliged to remain on top of things. But that’s just an excuse. I remain on top of things because I am in total virtual immersion mode.
I see people here in Netanya, going about their day as if there aren’t people running for their lives in the south, and elsewhere in the coutry. Tragically, at least one person has been killed by rocket fire in Rehovot today, others seriously wounded, by a long-range missile. I was asked in one of the interviews I gave, if it bothers me to see life going on as usual here while Netanyatians’ brethren in the south are under attack. I explained that it’s a string that gets pulled from both sides. Tugging on one side of that string, is the sense that it hurts to see how oblivious people seem to be. Pulling even harder on the other side, though, I am thankful that life elsewhere in this country can go on as usual (for the most part). Even as I type, 40,000 people are attending a rock star concert in Tel Aviv. In a way, that’s our victory over terror.
Thus, in the spirit of things, my community from Nirim who evacuated to this beautiful beach town two days ago, and where I arrived yesterday, are doing their best to make life seem as normal as possible – especially for the children- despite the madness going on at home. Although it’s not a vacation when you’re at a hotel because home is too dangerous. Refugees from the rockets, we’ll be on the move again tomorrow. Our time here at the Ramada is up, and we need to move. This time, apparently, we’ll be going all the way to Nahariya. From one border, to another. I know how to deal with rockets where I live – it’s a different kettle of fish if it kicks up in the north.