Yves Shefner in Israel at War 2006

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

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Life and death dilemas now part of daily life

After the Israeli Home Front Comand announced that most Israelis can go back to work if they have a protected workspace, some workers are faced with a real dilema. Some are simply too frightened to venture out during the day when nearly all the rocket and missile attacks have occured. In addition, since children are off school and most of the day camps and child care have been cancelled. parents understandably don't want to leave their kids alone. They have been told that any time they take off from work after last sunday will come out of accumulatd vacation time.

One friend of mine living in a suburb of Haifa works as a senior manager in a large company in the Western Galilee region. She was asked by her boss to return to work this past week. She has to pass Maalot and Carmiel on her way to work, both of which have been hit with up to 40 rockets per day. The industrial park where she works has been hit by rockets as well. Her 45 minute journey is through mainly open fields and forests. Unlike commuters who work in the city surrounded by buildings , if a siren sounds while she is on her way to or from work, she has no where to stop the car and take cover in a shelter. She is the mother of a 10 month-old boy, whose day care is now indoors all day in a shelter.

My friend called me from her commute, outraged, frightened and screaming at the fact that they are pressuring her to come back to work. Her office is not really protected and she has to sit next to a large window at ground level. She feels it is completely immoral. She literally feels like she is risking her life by going to work and feels like she should be with her son right now.
I agree. While it is very important for the country that as many people who can go back to work as soon as possible, no one should be pressured or economically forced into taking a real risk with their life.

Other people who have fled the north of Israel find themselves staying in hotels that have hiked prices beyond peak season rates, instead of offering discounts. Some families are emptying their savings account simply by paying for accomodation away from the line of fire. One man told a news crew that he had to work 4 days for one night's accomodation.

The government has not made things much easier by waiting a very long time to address this issue at all and then providing mixed messages about what kind of compensation people will get. Th uncertainty of their economic futures is causing a great deal of unneccessary stress among ordinary Israelis. Some form of government-sponsored accomodation should be provided for families in too much danger or simply too afraid to return to the north. This conflict is far from over, and it could last a while.

51 Israelis have been killed since July 12th, 1093 injured, 41 remain in hospital.

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