Like the nasty fungus that you can’t totally rid yourself of. Like the mangy street cat who gets kicked out but keeps coming back through a different window. Our rockets are back.
We’re used to restrictions in the Western Negev. That’s why, when the COVID restrictions came into force, limiting our actions and movements for safety’s sake, the concept was not anything foreign to us.
But now that we are allowed to walk outside without our masks, and life seems to be getting back to normal, the rockets are back and with them, warnings pummeling us out of our beds, out of our sleep, our hearts revving from 0-200 in a nanosecond, as once more we need to sprint to the safe room, grabbing sleeping kids on the way. During the course of the night, 36 rockets were launched into Israeli communities,on roads and into our fields..
This morning we received an official message warning us to stay near our safe rooms, not to go outside unless necessary, not to hold events outside in open spaces, forbidding us from holding events with more than 100 people (basically, I believe, aimed at morning prayers in synagogues, which are often not bomb-proof structures), canceling all work in the fields near the border fence and closing the Zikkim beach.
Within two hours, we received another message removing those restrictions.
And, shortly after, another message rescinding the previous but cautioning us to remain vigilant.
As it stands now, we are once again without restrictions. But wary.
Maybe, if we actually had a government, one not rendered as fossilized as Lot’s wife by the political muddle, incapable of putting aside personal ego wars in order to function and which was able to play nicely together in the sandbox in Jerusalem, there wouldn’t be this confusion. It’s traumatic enough to have to deal with rockets, alerts and explosions, but this blatant official confusion punctures another hole in the armor of resilience that protects our souls, yearning to rely and trust on those in the upper ranks, who have the full picture of the situation,those we are supposed to be able to rely on to protect us with their decisions.
Yet, renewed rocket fire was no surprise to anyone who lives here. We all knew it was not a question of if, rather of when. The violent protests that have been bubbling in East Jerusalem clearly have a direct link to the factions in Gaza, where the situation has not improved one iota since the previous escalations in early 2020. If anything, they’ve gotten worse. COVID may have reared its ugly head there later than it afflicted the rest of the world, due to restricted travel in and out of Gaza, but it’s there, chiseling away even more at THEIR meagre standard of living, access to quality health care and other basics which the western world takes for granted.
So, there goes a little over a year of relative stability, during which time, I didn’t have thoughts of where I would take cover while taking my grandchildren home from their daycare frameworks. Once again I find myself running for safety in the middle of the night, closing my saferoom’s protective iron shutters, waking up in the morning with my head murky and sluggish from lack of sleep, and in a situation forcing us to cancel my granddaughter’s birthday party. Because what sane resident of the Western Negev would take the chance of holding a garden party with 20 6-year-olds, after a night of rocket fire? On the border, we are again asking ourselves, what is the potential explosiveness of this situation?