A short e-mail from Aaron who lives in Gesher Haziv in the north. Aaron describes how he copes with “anxiety.” This is reality for people in the North. — Lilly Rivlin.
Gesher Haziv is across the road from my cousin Gila’s home in Kibbutz Kabri; both are next door to the hard-hit coastal resort town of Nahariya. In a phone conversation last week with Gila, she counted four rocket hits landing within her sight, as we spoke! Yesterday, I learned that her son has been called up for reserve duty. He, like his father before him, is a combat soldier. He was away from home when the call came; Gila refused to provide his cell number, delaying his service by one day. — R. Seliger
Yesterday was a trying day. Katyusha rockets at various intervals all day long. And sirens. Yes, contrary to what you may have thought, the first three weeks of this war had no sirens. We had loudspeakers from Nahariya and local. We also had an SMS system (95% are with cell phones). Army notifies us, we take to the horn while simultaneously sending about 600 SMS messages to those here and to the many who have migrated south. That’s also (SMS) how we notify about one or another happening that’s going on in an underground shelter: e.g., crafts and games for children, movies, visiting celebs and such.
As of the day before yesterday – sirens were connected to a national network. As soon as army technology spots a rocket lifting off in our direction, the siren goes off and we have some time (seconds) to get into a shelter or safe-room. Iris and I scamper (no panic) into our three by three square meter bedroom, hear the explosions in the area, wait a while and then leave to once again hear the constant rumble of big guns far and near.
Just as yesterday, today was also a trying day. Probably tomorrow the same. But tomorrow we won’t be here; [we’ll be] away for the week-end. (This sounds so peaceful and suburban). We’re off to visit children and grandchildren spread around Kfar Yedidya, Tel-Aviv and Kibbutz Givat-Brenner. Friday I’ll spend some time in Saálem, that Palestinian town near Shekhem [Nablus] where I help the farmers avoid harassment by Jewish criminal fundamentalists who set their eyes on Saalem’s lands. From there I’m off to meet Iris and see the family.
We need the week-end vacation. Three weeks of “here” and probably more to come. It’s tiring, at times exhausting, and allows for creeping anxiety.
Here and there over the years we meet up with it. Here’s what I’ve found: Anxiety is a state of mind that starts somewhere deep in the stomach, swells up through the lungs, chokes up the esophagus, dizzies the brain and stumbles back down to the stomach in a nauseating never-ending loop. Getting out of it takes concentration and the ability to relax. It means recognizing what’s happening and grasping hold of our primitive ability to control mind over body. Well, lately we’ve gotten some more practice.
All in all, we and our friends in Gesher Haziv, who haven’t (yet?) migrated southward are fine, and our little town has been luckier than others around us.
Across the border things are not [going] so well — mainly for civilian life and also for the hopes of changing the situation we’re in. Sometimes I see a faint light at the end of the tunnel, but am unsure yet whether it’s daylight or the headlights of an oncoming tank, or maybe just another lost person with a flashlight.
Obviously we’re sitting at the border of a global conflict between a Western open society and a fundamentalist Islamic “something-or-other.” Mel Gibson was “almost” right: Before the West wakes up we’re right up front in THIS ONE, somewhat like we were in the last BIG ONE. But this time is different…. During some intermission I may bother you again by expanding on this. Meanwhile I’m getting up to expand on some midnight snack. — Aaron.
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