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Ashkelon. Photo by Rhonda Spivak


By Rhonda J Spivak, B.A., L.L.B. Feb 1/2009

A number of Israelis from Southern Israel have immigrated to Winnipeg within the last year, in part, due to the trauma of living with ongoing rocket attacks launched by Hamas.

As Felix Kavoushanski, who immigrated  from Ashkelon seven months ago,  says “One of the reasons we came here was because of the [deteriorating] security in the South of Israel.  My daughter, who is 7,was in a state of panic when sirens went off all of the time in Ashkelon…We had 12 seconds from the time a siren went off to get into a shelter. ..  Sometimes the siren wasn’t working and it didn’t go on at all. ‘

Kavoushanski, whose parents are still in Ashkelon adds, “ When we got to Winnipeg, my daughter heard a siren one day from a fire engine.  She said, What’s that , a Qassam?  We said, No, there aren’t any Qassams here,” 

Victoria Kavoushanski, who also has family in Ashkelon, says that  the couple’s friends in Ashkelon had been taking turns staying up all night on call so they could be alert to wake up their children to get them to a bomb  shelter on time .”

Vladislov Bogomolny, a computer programmer and his wife Marisa Risman, a teacher  moved  here just over half a year ago, with their  two young children, also, in part  to get out of the difficult security situation in Ashkelon.

“The real threat  [of continuous qassams] began one year ago, and people started to consider leaving Ashkelon to find a safer place.  Some moved to Ashdod, others to Tel-Aviv.…We considered safety reasons and decided to take a major step.  If Israel had fought back earlier maybe I wouldn’t have had to leave,” says Bogomolny.

Risman, whose mother is still in Ashkelon, says “Some days there were sirens 8 times a day. … Children get very afraid about the qassams. When the siren goes off, they begin to cry.”

Eddie Zoruval,  a recent immigrant to the city from Be’er Sheva, was a driver  in Unit 7 of the Israeli Defence Forces.  He says “If  I were in Israel now, I would have been fighting in Gaza.”

Zoruval says “I decided to leave Israel after the Second War in Lebanon because the Israeli government wasn’t doing enough to protect its citizens.”

Zoruval’s says his  parents, brother and his brother’s  family in Be’er Sheva  have been frightened by the grad missiles that have landed nearby. “My brother’s wife is nine months pregnant and looking after her 3 year old.  They can’t make it in time to the bomb shelter, so they  just have stayed at home.”

Michael Cantor,  a transport engineer, who moved to Winnipeg from Be’er Sheva in March of 2008  says his parents  in  Be’er Sheva have been “ a little bit afraid.” 

“We have talked about them coming here to live, if the security situation doesn’t get better in the South of Israel,” he says.

Moshe Kanevsky, an Israeli from Be’er Sheva who also  moved  here recently,  says  “Even though my family misses me, they are glad I am here, and not in the shelters with them.” He says his parents, sister, brother and other family in Be’er Sheva have been “afraid’ of the missiles and  his brother’s children have undergone  “trauma.”

In the second week of Israel’s operation in Gaza, Kavoushanski, Cantor, and Kanevsky   shared their stories with C.B.C. radio here, in an effort to explain what Israeli residents of the South have been undergoing as a result of Hamas  attacks.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.