It Never Rains But It Pours

It Never Rains But It Pours
Bomb shelter for newborn infants in Israel

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The coronavirus has not yet finished raging and the war has begun.

On the morning of 11.05.21, there were no signs of trouble.

Sleeping Ashkelon (a small Israeli city on Gaza border) was slowly awakening — kids with backpacks waiting for a ride to school, adults rushing to work, and elders  in no hurry with baskets/carts going to buy some food at local grocery stores. The seashore was a pastoral landscape . Unlike other cities, Ashkelon has a very peaceful environment such as:

Gentle spring sun, radiant sky, a light breeze , green palm trees, a calm and still clear sea, the chirp of birds, the laughter of frolicking children, the conversation of swimmers and the “rookery” of sunbathers .

This idyllic scene continued till 6 pm.

Then suddenly, everything changed to the complete opposite.

Premature infants being rushed to a bomb shelter in Israel

The silence was broken by an alarm — the siren wailed with a heart-breaking cry, announcing a deadly force was attacking the city. The low voice of the siren faded into a high pitch, and then into an ultrasound, terrifying everybody. Then the fireworks started  in the middle of the clear sky — fireballs (the remains of the Kassam rockets) shot down by the Iron Dome were falling on the land and crumbling into small fragments.  Suddenly there was a roar of a bombshell  exploding somewhere very close, then there was another explosion, and another, and another one…

I lost count. By the nature of the sound, I realized that one of the missiles fired at Ashkelon had probably hit the target.

Later I learned that a new type of rocket hit a residential building and there were 6 wounded, including two children.

Then another direct missile strike killed two women.

We Ashkelonians are used to such a risky way of living, but today everything was much more serious than usual. Even the battered old-timers were scared, and what to say about the guests of the city and the new immigrants – they were shocked. My mother, who survived the genocidal disaster in WWII as a child (she was saved from Nazism), was terrified; she hopes and prays to God, because he already saved her once.

In the evening, my sister and I decided to run to a public bomb shelter located 3 minutes far away from home, we sat a few attacks out, and then came back home to sleep on our beds, thinking that we might never wake up again but still hoping for a quiet night.

We know that we must do something, but we are powerless. WHAT CAN WE DO?  WHAT CAN BE DONE? I can join others saying, “ISRAEL never starts a conflict first. ISRAEL only defends herself and dreams of just a peaceful life and making children!!! War is not something that Jews like to do. They have different values and mentality.” But in case of attack we rely entirely on our glorious army to protect us again and again.

By midnight, another tragedy occurred – the Ashkelon-Beersheba gas pipeline was blown up. The night sky lit up with the flames of the fire, which has not yet been extinguished.

I’m writing  these lines in the intervals between the attacks, hiding in a narrow corridor, between the wall and the nightstand, lowering my head like an ostrich “in the sand” (in my small cozy house there is no bomb shelter) and I hear the sound of intercepted missiles again.

Rocket fire in Ashkelon

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