Despite Israel’s home front becoming the front line, dozens of idealistic American immigrants fulfill their dreams.
Despite the sirens and loud explosions heard throughout central Israel, a group of 64 American Jewish immigrants landed in Israel on Tuesday, Ynet News reported.
The immigrants came from the American states of Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia, will be moving to the Israeli cities of Beit Shemesh, Givat Shmuel, Hadera, Jerusalem, Karmiel, Modiin, Nes Tziona, Ra’anana, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
Becky Kupchan a 26-yeard-old from Chicago said that “I’m a Jew and I’ve always dreamed about making aliyah to Israel, my home, and at home you always feel safe.”
Meanwhile, a macabre comment making its way through Israeli WhatsApp on Tuesday evening almost as fast as the rockets were coming in from Gaza urged calm: “Don’t worry,” it said, “the rockets will come all the way to Tel Aviv only to find there’s no parking.”
The sirens that wailed throughout the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in the early evening hours and again on Wednesday morning caught more than 1.5 million of its residents by complete surprise. Television footage showed people running across busy intersections seeking cover in the shadow of the city’s skyscrapers, others getting up in the middle of restaurant and café meals and seeking the closest shelter. Even some hardened football fans who had gathered in pubs and cafes to watch the dramatic World Cup semi-finals opted to go home and watch in relative safety. Several café and restaurant managers complained that people didn’t take time to pay their bill.
Whereas residents of southern Israel have had 13 years to get used to the sounds of sirens and explosions, with intermittent periods of tension bringing rocket attacks from nearby Gaza, the one and only time residents of the center have experienced such a sound-and-light show from Gaza was in November 2012 during what was dubbed Operation Pillar of Defense. Also, in 1991 Saddam Hussein fired toward Tel Aviv.
Residents of the north are no strangers to such pyrotechnics, either, having lived through massive Hezbollah attacks in the Lebanon war of summer 2006.
But by and large, then, Israelis are accustomed to life on the edge. The education, health and welfare systems hold periodic peacetime drills to prepare for such eventualities and the contingency plans are put into action.
Newborns in two major southern hospitals were transferred in the past few days to undergrounds hospital shelters, as were some bedridden patients.
Social workers and local officials and volunteers made the rounds to the homes of the elderly and disabled to ensure they had enough food and medicine.
Children on vacation gathered in public shelters and were being entertained by clowns, singers and other artists who donated their time and talent to the war effort.
Kibbutzim in northern Israel offered hospitality to families from the south, many of whom decided to get out of harm’s way – especially those with young children. For some it was an opportunity to visit grandparents and other relatives up north.
A couple who was forced to cancel a wedding in a town close to the Gaza border due to instructions from the Homefront Command to avoid public gatherings was inundated with offers from owners of wedding halls and large private homes for alternative venues.
The couple accepted an offer and moved the event to a hall in the coastal town of Ashdod – only to find that it, too, was under rocket attack Tuesday night. Television footage showed the bride in her long white dress staring at the sky and watching a rocket interception by the Iron Dome missile system.
In Jerusalem, where residents are hardened veterans of terror bombings but not of rockets, some 6,000 people were evacuated from the Sultan Pool amphitheater in the middle of a concert when the sounds of sirens mingled with those of singer Berry Sakharof, one of Israel’s most acclaimed rockers.
On the beaches of Israel’s fourth largest city, Rishon Letzion, just south of Tel Aviv, lifeguards ordered bathers – some grumpy at having their swim disrupted, others obedient – out of the water and away from the shore. Several hours later a rocket was intercepted over the town.
Interested in making Aliyah?…or learning more about Nefesh B’Nefesh, feel free to visit their website! www.nbn.org.il
View original i24news publication at: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/36704-140709-israel-under-fire