Raining rockets in Be’er Sheva

(Rockets fired from Gaza exploded in the western Negev on Wednesday morning)

Last week it rained in Be’er Sheva,  the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel.   It was a refreshing desert rain, the kind that tamps the dust back into the earth and relieves the tension in your pores and the soles of your feet.  After the rain, came the fall.  In Be’er Sheva, fall doesn’t come in August or September and by October you’re afraid it may never come again, but after the rain, it was finally cool and breezy for a few days.

It was a much different kind of rain in Be’er Sheva.  It rained grad rockets from Gaza.  Starting Wednesday evening, we had sirens throughout the night every few hours.  The sirens only last a minute or two and then we wait in silence to hear the sound of the explosion.    Usually, this sound is produced by the “iron dome” intercepting incoming grad rockets.  Usually, there’s only one or two for each siren, but last night there were significantly more blasts after each siren than we are used to hearing.  After each shower, we can only assume that the Israeli Defense Force is showering their own ammunition on suspected launch sites within the Gaza strip.

Because my husband John who is studying to be a doctor here,  and I  are not Israeli, nor Jewish, nor Muslim for that matter, we do not feel the sense of personal attack that I know so many of our friends and neighbors feel every time there is a threat here.  We realize the seriousness of the situation on one level, but on another, we were mostly disturbed by having to get out of bed every few hours.  A couple of friends without a bomb shelter came to stay in our little apartment, bunking in the living room on the couch and the floor.  Just as we were getting back to sleep each time, a siren went off and we all trouped across the hall for our ritual waiting.

By 8:30 or so this morning, we were grabbing our coffee mugs on our way out the door or taking one last bite of cereal before heading to the concrete room across the hall.  We took advantage of a day when most people stayed inside to make a quick doctor’s appointment at the clinic across the street and stock up on snack food at the grocery store.   Classes were canceled and some of our friends have left town for northern destinations, but we are settling in for the time being.

All is certainly not quiet to the west of us, but for the moment, we feel safe and secure, if disturbed by the violence going on around us.  Regardless of your political or religious affiliations, you have to hope that peace will reign on both sides of this turbulent border.