Sirens, bomb shelters, and the occasional selfie as Gaza conflict escalates
Graffiti of a flying bird being attacked by rockets is seen on a wall in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 12, 2014. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
The start of last week’s Operation Protective Edge and the threat of rocket fire directed toward Tel Aviv have cast a surreal pallor over the young Americans spending their summers in the coastal Israeli city. The mood is complex: alternately tense, frightened, anxious, optimistic, adrenaline-pumped, political, apathetic, homesick, Zionist, militaristic, and pacifist. A few have returned to the States, some are on the fence, others are soothing the worried cries of their Jewish mothers, and still others are embracing Zionism and Israel with newfound fervor.
Gathering with friends after the workday now includes discussing where you were when the sirens sounded, if you heard the boom, and constant praise for the Iron Dome. Our various programs regularly express concern for our safety, explaining (even before this flare-up) where the dorm’s bomb shelters are and how to use them.
Our inboxes are flooded with reassuring emails, and our support staff is a resource for emotional and moral support. They’ve arranged drills from the bus (which included lying face down in garbage by the side of the road) and have taught us to see everything as a possible source of shelter. A few adjustments notwithstanding, life is peculiarly normal. (more…)