No Casualties Reported....

This posting was contributed by Pamela Ingram of St. Paul, MN, who is in Israel for a Solidarity Mission to southern Israel with other alumni and members of the National Young Leadership Cabinet and members of NYL's Ben-Gurion Society (read more about BGS). This posting came from her own blog about her travels.

Monday ended with Tzeva Adom warnings in Sderot and at the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council and Tuesday started with a grad rocket landing in Ashkelon. In between, heavy artillery impacts can be felt periodically and numerous F-16’s are heard overhead. Life in the southern regions of Israel is hard and unpredictable.

The newspapers report that there were no casualties or injuries resulting from the rocket this morning because no blood was shed, but the reality is that everyone here is a casuality. The psyche of every resident is injured over and over again. You can’t be here without it impacting you. We have only been here two days and we jump at the ringing of a cell phone, we look to the sky with every plane wondering if the alarms will sound. How long until the next rocket or mortar?

This is a very hard place to live. I thought two days ago I would love to move to Israel, now I am not so sure. I am not sure I could be this strong.

I stand in the home of a man whose home took a direct hit two weeks ago from a grad missile. It looks so much like my own, it takes my breath away.

At the time of the attack, Yosi’s three children were home alone. He arrived home to the scene of firefighters and police trying to rescue his family. His neighbors' homes still bear the scars of the shrapnel. His home is surrounded by scaffolding and draped in plastic, but in two weeks, through the help of JAFI and the Israeli government, Yosi’s home will look as if the attack never happened. It is important to the people here that the area not look like a war zone; repairs are started within moments of an attack. His home will be completely healed, but what about his heart? What about his children’s minds? It’s a hard place to live, but Yosi scoffs when we ask him why he stays. Our question confuses him as much as his staying does us. Leaving is not something he considers. He and his neighbors don’t have a second thought about their lives here; leaving is not an option or a thought for them. This is their home, they will not be driven out, they are committed to their lives, their communities and their country. They don’t care that it is hard, leaving would be harder.

- Pamela Ingram

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