Yves Shefner in Israel at War 2006

Life in Haifa and north of Israel during the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

July 17th: Have moved to Gita

23:30 PM

Haifa was pretty much deserted today. After the third Siren this morning I talked to my good friend Allon who lives in the Western Galilee. The small village of 70 homes he and his wife Hanna live in is called Gita. It is nestled in the low mountains, right next to a nature reserve perched on the edge of a steep valley with steep cliffs and a view to the Mediterranean Sea 17km away. In quiter times, climbers and rappellers like to come here. Gita, whose population is made up of 60% Russian immigrants is also situated between three Druze villages and two Arab towns, and according to my strategizing, might be less likely to be targetted by Hezbollah even though it is closer to the border. So when Allon and Hanna invited me I accepted. I was getting bored on my own in Haifa.

As I left Haifa, I heard on Radio Haifa that more missiles were falling and was glad to be getting out. I brought my laptop, guitar, camera, some food and the dogs. I arrived here an hour later (it's a small country) only to hear the constant thunder of Israeli artillery at the border, shelling Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. There was also the distant thuds of Katyushas landing. We weren't always sure which was which.

After a while, Hanna and I took the dogs for a walk. She brought along a neighbor's dog whose family is in the south for the duration. We had a pleasant walk in the village. At one point we heard the rockets falling, each one closer and closer, until three of them landed on a hill right in front of us - only 1km away. The blast was quite loud and I was face down on the ground by the third one. I lokked up and saw plumes of smoke and debris where they hit. (Sorry Corinne, I should have told you about this on the phone earlier) Hanna was a little cooler and she knows the village so she pointed the way to a small shelter only 40 yards away.

The small shelter could hold maybe 10 people shoulder to shoulder, but it was dusty and full of junk. There was barely room for Hanna, myself and the dogs. The lights did not work and neither did the back-up battery and 24 volt electrcal system. You'd think with Hezbollah massing weapons in plain sight for the last 6 years, someone would have gotten it into proper condition.

The rockets had been aimed at Tefen industrial park where Warren Buffet's latest 4 billion dollar aquisition, Iscar, is located. It is also his first foreign aquisition. I guess they were aiming for an industrial target. Tough luck Warren.

My friend Debbie is the marketing manager for the park, but I know she is not there because I talked to her on the phone on the way up to Gita. Her son, also named Allon is sick so luckily she is home with him and her husband.

We spent the rest of the day going to the shelter next to Allon's house. Similar to life in Haifa but was more fun since I was with friends.

My girlfriend is traumatized from her experience with the first rocket to land in Haifa which landed near her house. Last night she drove down to Beer Sheva with her brother, sister and son. There life is still going on as normal and they were in a shopping mall. She told me in her laughing way that even though she is far away, she constantly imagines hearing the shriek or boom of a missile. She is not in the war, but it is still in her.

I spoke to my son Yarden earlier. He is in Yaffo with his mother. They got there last night and he went to sleep as soon as he hit the pillow. He was exhausted simply from the tension of the day and the stress of running to the shelter in Haifa. Tomorrow, they have plans to go to the Safari park.

After dinner, Allon and I walked over to the community center to play table tennis. It is a quiet evening. Just a few fighter jets flying overhead. No artillery, no katyushas, no sirens. Allon is a very good player and is teaching me a lot. We are having a lot of fun. It breaks the tension. After a while I feel like Nero playing violin while Rome is burning (I understand that's not quite a historically faithful similie). It somehow feels wrong. And yet logic says it is the right thing to do. In war, everything is a conflict.

That's all for now. Maybe tomorrow I'll write a little more about the prospects for resolving this conflict.

Shalom,

Yves

1 Comments:

At 19 July, 2006 05:41, Blogger Peter Tuschak in Canada said...

Yves,
This is your cousin Peter from Toronto. Our thoughts are constantly with you and all the innocent people affected by this conflict. Your accounts and stories are informative and mostly comforting to us on this side of the world. We are glued to CNN all night as if it is a sporting event. In fact, they do keep score: Lebanese Dead 129 - Israelis Dead 29. Makes us wonder if they enjoy the carnage??? Nevertheless, other than your excellent Blog, this is our only way of somewhat knowing what is going on. I hope you remain well and if there is anything we can do we will! But as you all know there and we have certainly discovered through History, we, as Jews, have always been disliked by the populous and no matter how this plays out this will not change. Keep the faith.

All our love,
Peter

 

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