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The day the rockets woke me up

30 in 4 hours, and the IDF said we should continue as normal, no new instructions. But this is not normal
Illustrative: The IDF launches a missile from the Iron Dome air defense system to intercept an incoming rocket from Gaza from a position in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on May 29 2018. (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
Illustrative: The IDF launches a missile from the Iron Dome air defense system to intercept an incoming rocket from Gaza from a position in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on May 29 2018. (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)

Today, I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. to the sound of rockets flying above me. So what could I do but start to count? I heard six. That was weird for me, as I never wake up. Usually, in the “best case scenario,” my husband will tell me in the morning that the Hamas fired rockets or that the IDF fired some back. In the worst case, when the “Color Red” Siren goes off in the middle of the night, he will spend most of the 15 seconds that we have to go into shelter trying to wake me up.

So this time it was strange and frightening for me to wake up from the sound of the barrage. My husband (of course) was wide-awake as well, and a discussion ensued: Is it theirs or ours? Who is firing? What happened since we went to bed on a relatively quiet night? We turn on our iPhones to realize that the entire area had been under fire since 1 a.m.

It took me a long time to fall asleep again, as the rocket launches from Gaza and the responses from the IDF continued. As I woke up for a second time (two hours later than planned because of the disruptions), I checked my email to see if there were any special instructions for the coming day, as it felt like the overnight developments could bring on another war.

We have no emergency instructions; we are in “normal” times. Schools are operating as usual, we do not need to be close to safe rooms, and there were “only” 30 rockets fired during the night. No biggie, apparently.

It is important to understand — 30 rockets in four hours! In Mefalsim, my home kibbutz, the alarm didn’t even go off during those four hours, as the rockets were not aimed at us directly. I don’t have young kids that I need to rush to the safe room on nights like this. But I have come to realize that if I’m true with myself, for the first time in a long time, I admit I am afraid!

Our fields are burning during the day, rockets are launched during the night, but I just received a WhatsApp message that the IDF says civilians should continue to conduct themselves as normal, no special instructions.

Really? Normal? How can I continue with my daily routine when I am terrified for my life around the clock?

About the Author
Noga Gulst is a resident of Kibbutz Mefalsim, located near the Gaza Strip
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