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Fourth house away from the blast


by Orli Avior, November 1, 2011

Saturday evening this week in my humble apartment in Ashkelon we hear a boom off in the distance, but not close enough for the code red siren to go off telling us to get into our safe room to avoid an impending missile.

Next thing we know, the siren is sounding for a longer time than normal meaning there was more than one missile being fired. WOW. The sound was extra loud—it sounded like the missile must have hit something. I began wondering what happened to the Iron Dome Defense System which is supposed to intercept oncoming missiles. Had someone forgotten to turn it on? Had the Iron Dome gone on coffee break? (I later learn that the Iron Dome intercepted a rocket to Beersheba, but due to some technical glitch it wasn't working in Ashkelon and Ashdod).

 All of our non-Ashkelon friends who learn of the missile attacks from the Israeli media start calling and emailing to see if we are alright. So first we're bombarded by missiles and now we're bombarded by emails and ringing phones.

We find out from them that people from Ashkelon are injured. But we don't know who or where.

 Since it seemed like things were settling down, at 1:00 a.m. I decided to go to bed but was awoken by the long siren at four thirty five signifying multiple missiles. Doesn’t Islamic jihad in Gaza know that I hate having a broken sleep, and that it makes me cranky in the morning? Nice way to start my week, fellas.

I decide to make a cup of tea now that it is almost 7:00 a.m. and oh no -not now, I see a bunch of ants in my kitchen-not the kind that look like they are my mother's or father's sisters, but the, teeny, tiny little brown ants that are running about on my counter. Don't these ants understand that I could use a little time by myself right now? I look in the cupboard to see that, aaawwww the ants are on the top shelf of the corner cupboard also! Do I really need this? How come no one told these ants that most living creatures would want to get out of my house right now? Of all times to visit!

 Who has time to think about falling missiles, when you have ants in your kitchen? I take everything out of the cupboards and make sure they aren’t hiding anywhere else in my house. Oy the pressure is on- I had a lot of things planned today and this task wasn’t one of them.

OK. The ants have been taken care of by putting cinnamon in all the corners of the kitchen ( I learn about ants not liking cinnamon from my computer). The result is that instead of putting cinnamon in my tea, I have cinnamon on my counter and no time to drink my tea. I should have given the damn tea to the ants.

Now back to my plans. I have started taking Hebrew lessons again twice a week since I have lived in this country for over six years and can't even say "ants in my kitchen" in Hebrew. I really want to study my Hebrew lesson. But, am I too tired now-between the missiles and the ants? No I am not using this as an excuse not to learn this darn language properly.

 Well yes I am. I walk to the market across the street to buy some Mentos, and then I read an email from a friend.

 Ashkelon is made up of several neighborhoods. The neighborhood I live in has two parallel streets of apartment buildings and all the streets north are of single family houses (or as they are called here "villas"). I live in one of the apartment buildings. I learn that the rocket that was fired hit one of the villas just a few streets away from me. Another fell in the neighborhood where my friend Vicki lives just north of mine.

Ariel (my husband) and I took a walk with some friends through the villas to see the effect of the Grad missiles and took a couple pictures for this article. The first picture shows the damage to the front wall and broken windows.In another part of the house you can see strollers and shrapnel marked walls. Thankfully the children were in the safe room. Now they must stay someplace else since the home is unlivable. The third picture is the home across the street where you can see how the shrapnel hit the washer and dryer.Now you can imagine what it would do to your flesh. As we walked down the street you could see broken windows and pock marked walls on all the neighbors’ homes.

 Since the rockets came from the south and both of the hits were just north of me, is it any wonder the noise I heard was so loud this time. My husband and I saw a huge flash, which appeared as if the sky was filled with lightning. Ya think maybe we should be more vigilant in getting to the safe room? We decide we should (I am hoping that there are no ants in the safe room).

Some 200,000 students in communities up to 40 km from the Gaza Strip have not been attending school, which means a lot of parents aren’t going to be able to go to work. Group activities and events are cancelled.

 Day later: A ceasefire is announced, but I guess that this is only for our side since about 3:45 pm. Monday the alarm sounded again. A cease fire here means we cease and they fire.

Now that they have a new multi-barrel rocket launcher we can expect more from them unless the Israeli government takes decisive action against them.

 If only I could get Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists to go away with a little cinnamon.

P.S. I haven’t noticed any ants since Sunday morning but last night (Monday) I found a juke in the house. (I would rather have the ants!) Do you think these critters are looking to find a warm home before the cold weather sets in?

To read a perceptive analysis of what’s going on here, see Khaled Abu Toamehès article in the Jerusalem post click. .
With the help of Iran and Syria, Islamic Jihad has become the second-largest armed group in Gaza after Hamas. Today, it poses a serious challenge to the Hamas government. Hamas has chosen to sit on the fence while Islamic Jihad militiamen fired rockets at Israel, acting on instructions from Tehran and Damascus.
Hamas thinks it can't afford to be seen as playing the role of "border guard" for Israel. Dozens of disgruntled Hamas members are reported to have defected to Islamic Jihad, as have former Fatah security officers, some of whom were trained by the U.S. and EU.
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