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Sights and Sounds

We heard there was yet another cease-fire in effect. It was Friday morning. We hadn't been out of the house for the most of the past month and a half or two, so we decided to go to the beach in Ashkelon for just an hour or two before getting ready for Shabbat. On our way out we saw pillars of smoke and an enormous dust cloud hovering over the border with Gaza. The army had been blowing up tunnels along the border just down the road from our moshav. There were helicopters shooting from the air and Hamas had been shooting missiles (despite the cease-fire in effect). I had a feeling things were not as quiet as the radio said it was. As we were driving from our place towards Ashkelon along the border towards the coast, we passed through a war zone. Normally this road would be closed, but because of the cease-fire it was open to traffic, most of which was army personnel. But we passed by tanks lined up shooting towards the tunnels. The shots were almost unbearably loud. Like fireworks being shot off right next to our ears. We jumped in our seats each time. Then there were spaces on fire that we drove through. I have no idea if this was on purpose or caused by a missile or if because of the heat or a cigarette, but no one was rushing to put it out. Our area is mostly agricultural and the wheat was harvested just after Passover. So there are many large open dried fields that have become the army's parking lot/camping grounds. Because it is all dried sandy lots and there is so much action coming and going it stirs up all the dust and settles on everything in a thick chalky layer: cars, buses, tanks, orchards, crops etc.

I was uneasy about leaving our area, but as we headed further out and got farther away from the action I felt calmer and looked forward to our beach trip. As soon as we got to the beach and walked to the water, the lifeguard called out to us that there is no cease-fire and that we shouldn't bring children out to where there is no shelter, no where to hide from missiles. But we were already there. We'd come all this way, so we said we'll swim a little then head back home. Then we got the call that a soldier had been taken hostage and that Hamas had started firing missiles all over the place . It was now clear why all the mess, the shooting , the helicopters before we left. There was no cease-fire that's for sure. All of a sudden we felt vulnerable and that we need to get off the beach immediately. My husband's phone was ringing with the sirens from all over the country warning of incoming missiles. The whole drive home was rushed. Finally we were thankful to have reached our area but there were check points every few kilometers. Each time we came to one we had to stop and show the soldiers our id's to prove that we lived in the area, otherwise they weren't letting anyone through.

I have been at home all this time going out only when absolutely necessary and as close to home as possible. I've heard the booms , seen the smoke, we run into our "safe room" every time there is a "tzeva adom" (code red) alarm, but to travel out of our "comfort zone" and to see everything from close(er) range was intense.

May god protect every soldier and bring them home safely.

May god give Israel strength to continue to fight terrorism .

Prayers for peace and the safe return of the abducted soldier.

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