Hamas War

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Out of the Frying Pan – Into the Fire

Out of the Frying Pan – Into the Fire
By Shifra Shomron

There was a siren. It was loud and alarming and we didn't know what to do – we had never heard a siren before and anyways, there was nowhere to run. You see, in Gush Katif we had always been warned after the mortars had fallen, not before though at least there our houses were solid cement and cinderblock. In fact, shortly before Disengagement, the Government had even finished reinforcing our ceilings and then we really felt safe in our house from mortars.

But that was then, and now as I heard the siren I did the only thing I could: I dived off my bed (it was nighttime and I was in pajamas) and onto the floor and covered my head with my hands. All the time there was one thought running through my head: 'this is absurd'. And then the siren stops its wailing, and after a few seconds I heard a muffled BOOM and realized that Ashkelon or Ashdod must have gotten hit. And I prayed that everyone was safe, and knew that thank G-d our Caravilla was still standing. As the missile had fallen, I could return to bed and spend the rest of the night hearing planes flying overhead and wondering if they were indeed planes or missiles.

In short, I was up all night. At one point I turned the lights on and tried knitting to make myself drowsy. It did – but I still couldn't sleep.

You'd think that after all the years in Gush Katif we'd be used to being bombed. But the bombs weren't so strong then, and we didn't feel so defenseless. The Caravillas are plaster, and they are definitely in range. When they were put down the government saved costs and didn't build them with security rooms, as they're obliged to do by law to any structure in Israel, by the loophole that these were "temporary" structures.

So now the army is establishing a five meter long cement tube sort of thing in each cul-de-sac. You can stand in them. They won't protect you from a direct hit, though. We can all run there each time we hear a siren. God, I wish I had the young child's attitude; they're drawing on the walls in there with chalk and enjoying the echo.

Shifra Shomron is the author of the historic novel, Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim, (Mazo Publishers). "Travel beyond time and beyond location – into my Gush Katif"
Visit Shifra's website: www.geocities.com/nevedekalim


Unknown said...

I've been thinking of you and all my friends in the Nitzan "temporary" refugee camp. I know that you are definitely happy that the Israeli army is finally doing something about a situation that's been around for 8+ years (way before you were evacuated from your home). When people call me to ask how it is in Sderot, I tell them to call anyone they know from Gush katif to give you chizuk - it's a very impossible situation. Be strong and take care of yourselves! Baruch Hashem that He is running this world!!!

Anonymous said...

Shifra, thanks for your wonderful first-person article!

we are all praying for the safety of all the Jews in Nitzan and the other towns that are in firing range of Gaza. I hope that soon you will be able to write another article about enjoying the peace and quiet, after the defeat of the terrorists and destruction of all their ammunition stores by Tzahal.

I believe that the arabs' increased attacks are not from a point of strength but from a point of desperation - they are using all their ammunition at once, hoping to deter us.

the citizens and soldiers of Israel are not deterred. I just hope that the govt will allow Tzahal to do what is necessary!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the personal account. My heart and many others like mine broke for you when you were removed from your homes in beautiful prosperous Gush Katif three years ago (it is appalling so many of you remain in "temporary" housing), and my prayers are with you again for the safety of your families as this latest war unfolds.

A Zionist Gentile from Ohio, USA

Anonymous said...

Wow!Thank you Shifra. I hope you get a good night sleep very soon. I will definitely look for your book. Stay safe!
Debbie, CA

Hadassa DeYoung said...

Thank you Shifra for a first hand account.
Mechi, how are you? When we didn't succeed in keeping Gush Katif, I cried for Sederot as much as I did for Gush Katif - anyone with a brain knew that the situation in the Negev, especially Sederot would worsen.
I don't like to nit-pick, but I don't think that this is nit-picking: Nitzan is not a refugee camp; very few people left Gush Katif willingly and it wasn't to seek refuge. Nitzan is best described as a Displaced Persons or Expellees camp. Evacuated is another misnomer. The aim of the government was not to evacuate us to safer territory: it was to break our spirits and cause as much damage as possible to the right-wing. We've seen in the past few weeks that the expulsion forces did the exact opposite of evacuation. In Gush Katif we had houses and even the caravans had "safe rooms" added to them.
We visited our old apartment in Ashkelon during Hanuka and it was such a frustrating experience. Over 15 families from K'far Darom are still in "the building", waiting for authorization for a "permanent" site. Like most of the expellees, including dozens of others in Ashkelon, they, Nitzan, Ein Tzurim are well within missile range. Lachish isn't far beyond it. The word Chelm comes to mind.
You be strong too, Mechi - HaShem eemachem!
Hadassa DeYoung, K'far Darom/Elon Moreh

Anonymous said...


We've been thinking of you and your entire family. Thankfully, the army is finally doing what needs to be done. Be well and be strong.

Michael and family,
New York

SuraMalka said...

Shifra, UMV'SH
You, the families from Gush Katif, are heroes who will be remembered by the Jewish People along with all our other heroes over the past millenia. For over a quarter of a century, Gush Katif was a protective buffer zone which is only appreciated by the wider public now that Southern Israel has suffered from its absence. Your pioneering insect free agricultural techniques are a blessing to all those who appreciate these vegetables.
May your names be blessed, and may you and your children and children's children for all time build beautiful homes which continue our timeless traditions.

Anonymous said...

זה מאוד עצוב כי היהודים הם כמו זבל להיות מטופלים על ידי משלהם מולדת ליהודים אחרים