“Our Routine is a Permanent State of Emergency”


SPECIAL NOTICE:

It’s the first of the month again and time to thank all of you dear readers around the world for supporting this blog with your readership. We added two new countries last month bringing our total to 114: the Netherlands Antilles (Kralendijk, Bonaire) and Tajikistan (Dushanbe).

Obviously your humble servant doesn’t have space here to mention all of the countries in which you live, but I thought this morning, a few of the colorful names of places where our readers live would be interesting (you can practice your pronunciation of some of these):

Eden Prairie Minnesota, Rajamahendri India, Vriezenveen Nethernlands, Nogent-le-rotrou France, Mississauga Canada, Gujranwala Pakistan, Huixquilucan Mexico, Hemel Hempstead Great Britain, Telemaco Borba Brazil, Nyuregyhaza Hungary, Kissimmee Florida, Pichincha Ecuador, Ostrow Wielkopolski Poland, Woy Woy Australia, Apache Junction Arizona, Skelleftea Sweden, Menomonee Falls Wisconsin, Kota Bharu Malaysia, Leighton Buzzard Great Britain, Ellabell Georgia, Fuquay Varina North Carolina, Dun Laoghaire Ireland, Nizhnekamsk Russia, Opa Locka Florida, Zepernick Delaware, Kapolei Hawaii, Curl Curl Australia, Mattawamkeag Maine, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Chagrin Falls Ohio, Etobicoke Canada, Vilanova i la Geltru Spain.

Wherever you are from, thank you for your support of this blog, and thank you for your support of Israel!

UPDATE 9:30 am Israel time Thursday:

You may have noticed in israelstreet breaking news a cryptic reference to a missile strike last night not far from our location here in Ashdod.  What happened was that my brother-in-law was driving to his home through Gan Yavne (about 6 km to the east). Suddenly he heard sirens for incoming rockets, pulled his car to the side of the road, took cover–and then called us to find out if the sirens were sounding here as well (they were not). As I talked with him on the phone, I could hear the sirens in the background. 

There was no mention of this alarm in any news last night nor is there any this morning. It is just one more case of many (such as the Grad fired at Dimona last week) which go completely unreported.  In some cases, this non-reportage is a legitimate effort to not give terrorists information about where their rockets are striking (particularly around “security” installations); in other cases, the non-reportage only serves the government’s illegitimate purpose of suppressing information about what is happening here in the South. 

On an unrelated note, you may remember how at the beginning of the summer, Israel was literally being overrun by migrants from Africa–to the tune of some 3,000 per month pouring across the Sinai border from Egypt. The government went into emergency mode and began constructing a fence along the Sinai border with Egypt–which is now a few days from completion. Just how successful it has been was revealed this morning: in August, only 200 entered; in September 122; in October only 54.  

Of course the fence doesn’t solve the problem of the 50,000+ migrants who have already arrived, taken up “residence”, and begun having children. 

TODAY’S BLOG:

As regular readers of this blog know, your humble servant almost never reprints articles from the news in this space. However, an article appeared in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot yesterday that was so poignant about the situation here in southern Israel that I think it deserves to be read here.

The Eshkol Regional Council is the area in green. It is directly adjacent to Gaza.

The article (which appears below slightly abridged) was written by Yediot’s reporter for the South, Ilana Curiel, who went to the Eshkol region to talk to people specifically about the government’s ludicrous new plan to “protect” citizens in the South by building more bomb shelters:

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Two rockets were fired at the Eshkol Regional Council overnight. One rocket hit in an open area inside one of the communities . . . 

We are experiencing a war of attrition. There’s no ceasefire here,” said Eshkol Council head Haim Yalin. “We’ve just been through another night where parents and their children didn’t sleep but are expected to function the following morning.” Yalin called on the government to restore calm to the region. “Residents of the south deserve a normal life,” he said.

Liat Biton, a single mother of two, is starting to reconsider her choice of residence. Born in Sderot, she moved to Central Israel but later returned to the south: “I returned when I was pregnant and a month later Operation Cast Lead began,” she said. “Now is the first time that the thought that maybe I shouldn’t be living here has crossed my mind. The south has been forgotten. When the rocket fire reached Beersheba and Ashdod we thought they would do something, but they didn’t.

The south’s residents, who have become accustomed to enduring incessant rocket fire, are now beginning to show signs of fatigue. On average, the Eshkol Regional Council sees three rockets hit its territory every day. New families continue to make homes in the area but despair is slowly seeping in.

We used to pride ourselves on our fortitude but now we just feel exhausted,” said Merav Cohen from Ein Hashlosha. “Our routine is a permanent state of emergency. We’re fed up. It’s no way to live. We’re not free citizens. Our lives are dictated by text messages telling us whether to enter the shelter or leave, whether to be 15 seconds away from a shelter or not, whether school is on or off.”

Cohen said that this tough routine has caused her children to show physical signs of anxiety: “My eight-year-old daughter shivers uncontrollably every time a rocket lands. The kids can’t take it anymore. They don’t want to sleep in their beds because there’s a good chance they would have to wake up and go into a fortified room. Fortitude has been replaced with exhaustion, fear and anxiety.

Eshkol Council spokeswoman Ronit Minker said the recent escalation had seen an increase in the number residents calling the council for help: “I see greater weariness, less willingness to endure, and much more criticism of the situation.” A social worker added that the council is also getting calls from new residents who “are already tired of the situation.”

Sadly this is our routine,” said Rami Negbi, a security officer in one of the towns. “We feel that there’s a different country north of Ashkelon. A few million for more shelters is not the solution. It’s not normal to raise children in a fortified room.” 

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Inside a bomb shelter in the Eshkol region. Is this any way to live? Eating, sleeping, going to school in a bomb shelter? When will the Israeli government ever act?

“There’s no ceasefire here . . . residents of the South deserve a normal life . . . the South has been forgotten . . . our routine is a permanent state of emergency . . . we’re fed up . . . Now is the first time that the thought that maybe I shouldn’t be living here has crossed my mind . . . Fortitude has been replaced with exhaustion, fear and anxiety . . .  A few million for more shelters is not the solution. It’s not normal to raise children in a fortified room.”

The site of a rocket explosion in the Eshkol region last week.

The people of the South are talking, but nobody is listeningespecially not the politicians in Jerusalem and especially not the people in the rest of Israel. 

By the way, the sirens in the South went off again about 15 minutes ago as there was another launch from Gaza (this one fortunately exploded on take off).

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