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Carol Miles

Esther and Carol Miles

Dairy of Volunteer At Foodbank in Jerusalem Preparing for Conventional and Unconventional Missiles

by Carol Miles , December 12, 2012

[Editor's note: This was written by a Bridges for Peace Volunteer working in Jerusalem during the IDF's Operation Pillar of Defense.]

Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem have been preparing the volunteers for a while already. We had IDF spokespeople come to our Food Bank in Talpiyot, Jerusalem to give us information on what to do for Conventional missiles, Unconventional missiles, and Earthquakes. We've gone through drills, and I've personally been involved at the Food Bank in Talpiyot in securing and placing items we may need for emergencies - things like a first aid kit, extra water, flashlights, granola bars, wipes, those kinds of very practical things. We have 3 locations of Food Banks; 2 in Jerusalem - the food bank where I volunteer, and Main Office where publications and Administration mostly reside, as well as a food bank in Karmiel.

Bridges for Peace was already mobilizing when the missiles started coming into Israel with great fury at the onset of Operation Pillar of Defense.
When the first Siren sounded in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon, Nov 16 it was a little surreal, but upon noticing the children being whisked to safety from the playground across the street, I also ran for shelter to the designated place. I made sure other volunteers in the area were ok, and we continued with our plans for getting together for a Shabbat meal later in the evening. As we gathered, we prayed for safety for Israelis, and the innocents, and tried to let families back home know we were ok.

Things seemed to escalate, and again at the Food Bank on Monday, November 19, we prayed. Then we really started to feel a direct impact from the conflict. We prepared and our driver delivered shiva baskets for those in Kiryat Malachi who lost loved ones. Three people were killed when a missile directly hit their home in Kiryat Malachi.

Also Monday, we could not get our delivery of dairy and meat from an Israeli Company, because they are located in Kiryat Malachi, and Beer Sheva, places where many people needed to be in bomb shelters, not out at work. We also had a supplier - a man from Netivot (close to Gaza) come in to the office. He shared with us about how his children were terrified, that even when it`s reported a missile exploded in an empty field, the children and residents are still traumatized. The trauma does not just go away when the missiles stop.

We have a Bridges for Peace Rep in Calgary who sends hockey bags full of teddy bears - the most beautiful, cuddly, fuzzy bears. Over the last couple of days in our foodbank in Jerusalem, these were packaged with bows and lots of love to take to some of these children. We prayed the right bears would get into the right children`s hands and hearts.
We've also been busy preparing extra food for areas of greatest need.

Everyone in the neighbourhood has someone who got called up, or had their life interrupted to help fight the enemy. One of the most frustrating things here is hearing the distorted reporting presented in so many countries. I hope people around the world could see the real situation; innocent Israeli children, old people, normal citizens of Israel being bombarded with horrifying missiles causing so much damage, vs surgical strikes where IDF will actually call people in areas before they strike, or drop leaflets telling people of Gaza to move. My heart just cries out for all the children that have to run to bomb shelters, for the older people who can't move fast enough, for the soldiers who need to fight when they would rather enjoy a nice cappuccino with a friend. This does not compare with the terrorists - militants who carry guns, blow up schools and normal civilians - people and vow to destroy the Israelis. How could anyone hate so much?

Just a couple of hours ago, a friend called me. Her friend in Beer Sheva, a precious 70 year old, had just been impacted by a direct missile hit in an apartment across the street from where she lives. Thank God she is ok, "just" in trauma. Her cat was also spared but also in trauma. Her front windows were shattered into a million pieces from the impact of the blast, and although the medical people came within a minute, piecing back her life will take much longer.

For most North Americans, the battle between the culture of death vs the culture of life is something so far removed. Here it is very real, every day. I believe in the Hebrew shared values of life, which came from God to Moses. Moses saw the first Pillar of Cloud, but here we are thousands of years later, living in Operation Pillar of Cloud. Life is a precious gift, every second. It's going to take a lot of money and time to rebuild. But it will happen. Am Israel Chai.

I consider it to be a sincere privilege to stand here in Jerusalem, trusting in the God of the Bible, volunteering with Bridges for Peace.


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