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A few snippets from Ashkelon in the Land of Missiles and Honey

By Orli Avior, Ashkelon, posted Aug 12, 2014


In between dashing in and out of my protected room in my apartment this past month, I have had time to reflect on how  inspiring it is  to see how this country really comes together, as people help each other, during these trying times.


This past month in Israel has seen an outpouring of support for the IDF soldiers who have been defending our country and our freedoms, in a war that Hamas started and which has resulted in an unprecedented unity amongst Jewish Israelis of all walks of life, because we know we are fighting for our homes, and our way of life.


Our community really came together and we packaged up several boxes of needed items such as socks, wet wipes, personal hygiene products, and of course mosquito repellent. [Those of you readers in Winnipeg, which is the mosquito capital of the world I understand can well appreciate the importance of mosquito repellant in any battle]. As one of our young soldiers put it “We are getting eaten alive.” Of course, we threw in snacks and munchies that young people live on.   We received such a great deal of goodies for our soldiers that we decided to use a few leftovers to make up a box up for our dedicated Ashkelon Firemen. 


This spirit of unity is evidenced by the phone call I received from my friend Illana Bank from “A Spoonful of Hope” in Ra’anana which is located in the center of the country.  She wanted to bring gift boxes that volunteers decorated and filled for disadvantaged children in Ashkelon.  These children are forced to spend their summer vacation in shelters and a colorful filled gift box is a great way to brighten a young child’s day. (We can only hope that Hamas is defeated enough that they will not continue to rain down rockets on Southern Israel in a way which will prevent children of the South from returning to school at the end of August.)


I have heard of so many heart-warming stories through this war. A friend  told me her son who is currently in the army broke his glasses.  He went to the closest optical shop he could find and asked the shopkeeper if he would be able to get them fixed.  The shopkeeper did more than fix them-he replaced the broken lens and since he was a soldier on duty he did not charge him for the replacement. Everyone here is doing their part.


Everyone except for one woman I met in the supermarket. Let me explain.


While shopping in an Ashkelon supermarket, the red alert siren went off.  Now I was unaware of where the shelter area was so I decided just to follow the crowd until the line of people stopped moving. Sure enough, while everyone else was trying to access the bomb shelter, this lady was prancing about in one of the isles just doing her regular looking  and shopping. She and her buggy were blocking the isle I was coming down.   When I reached her, I said “Gverett -Tzeva Adom, Tzeva Adom!”  (Lady; Red Alert, Red Alert).  But she did not respond to my calls. She nonchalantly nodded her head in reply and kept shopping. At this point I began to lose my patience (yes, even here in Ashkelon where we are used to being pounded by rockets, it is possible to lose one’s patience!) I said Gveret, please move yourself and your shopping cart out of the way so others can get to a shelter? (Maybe she hasn’t seen any of the news where people get injured and even killed just from the shrapnel !.)


I wouldn’t have minded if she had brought her buggy in the shelter—we would have had something to eat!

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