Saturday, 3 January 2009

A strange day...

After the quiet of yesterday, something was bound to happen...

We (all four of us) were on our way to Sari's parents' house and hadn't even got out of Qiryat Gat when the alert sounded. The orders are for anyone travelling in a car to get out, take shelter in the hallway of any nearby building, or if you are in an open space to lie flat on the ground with your hands covering your head. We were (of course) in an open space. I stopped the car and we all dashed out, and a quick look around showed that most other car passengers were doing the same. I spotted something made from concrete (still don't know what it was) and called for the others to take shelter behind it. (Totally wrong thing to do, by the way, but you don't really think about that at the time). We were joined by two elderly Russian ladies who had been out taking their Shabbat stroll. The siren continued to wail and we waited to see where the rocket would land. One of the Russian ladies got into a real panic and started crying, insisting this was the end for us all... I always knew my Russian would come in handy some time, so I suppose this might count - not that she paid much attention to me (maybe my Russian made her cry more???). The rocket fell somewhere on the outskirts of the town, and after hearing the boom we went on our way again.

Then, about an hour and a half later, we heard the sirens again. This time, thankfully, no hysterical Russians. Even the small kids were very good. We all packed into a very narrow corridor in Sari's parents' house (the place which has least windows) but if a rocket had fallen anywhere in the vicinity, we would still have had a lot of cuts - at best.

After that, we decided that the best place was to eat outside, so there we were, having lunch on a beautfully sunny day, birds twittering all around us and war planes flying over us every so often. Certainly not your normal Shabbat lunch.

We came home, unable to persuade Sari's parents to come with us. They at least agreed to go to Sari's brother's house on the moshav, as it has a reinforced room in it.

I understand - the details as I write are pretty sketchy - that we seem to be entering a new phase this evening. So far, we seem to have learned a lot from our mistakes in Lebanon (and there were many), and have been fairly effective (I assume) in achieving our aims. Let's hope we don't get sunk into a quagmire similar to what happened to our tanks and infantry in Lebanon two years ago. Adi has so many friends there, our friends' boys are there - many people will be having sleepless nights in our area over the next few days.

We haven't been given permission to teach the students who are supposed to take thier matriculation exams next week. At first we thought we would bus them to Arad, a town well out of reach from Gaza, but that has been cancelled.

Let's hope this whole situation ends quickly, for everybody's sake....

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