19 July 2006

Reporting from a War Zone II

In case anyone is interested on what's going on here, I am probably not the best source of news. I am located in Jerusalem where thank G-d it is quiet. However I can tell you what I hear.

To begin with, there is the constant sound of airplanes and helicopters going by. From what I know, there's an airforce base to the south of us, and they are headed north. From what I understand, since the time of the Israeli pullout of Lebanon (7 years ago?), Hizbullah has been stocking weapons and rockets.

Next, the religious community (the hareidim, the "ultra" orthodox) have organized round the clock psalms readings and Torah learning.

Something I heard from Mrs. P who I took home the other night, was that when she was walking through Geula (a neighborhood in Jerusalem) she watched and heard a car with a loudspeaker on top asking people to say Psalms for the situation that Israel is in. At the same time she saw a few Arabs standing, pointing at the car - and mocking the message. Interesting.

I'm also listening to the radio. While I do not understand everything they are discussing, I am able to figure out some of it. Most of it is dedicated to the war up north. They've been reporting from the cities that have been bombed, and even from the bomb shelters themselves. They have been talking about how people are surviving - how they live, go to work, pay their bills, and how children are handling the situation. Basic things.

Many families have moved south. This is a big deal since there are half a million people up north. Those who've decided to come further down need places to live and sleep. There are also those who are unable to make the move south for different reasons. Some are afraid to be on the roads - even to leave. One teacher of mine was telling us about friends of hers who cannot make the move since they have a son who is sick and is dependent on the machines that he's hooked to. He needs an ambulance to move him and even so gets really ill when he is moved.

There's a family (two parents and eight kids) from Tzfat/Safed that moved into the area that the school is located in. We've adopted them by bringing them food, toys, and taking them out to the park. But it's not even so simple like that. They came to Jerusalem with no money, and pretty much nothing else. They just left. The mother is shell-shocked. She's afraid to let her kids leave the apartment for any reason. She's started to let them go outside to the park for about 10-15 minutes and then they have to come back. She won't let them close the bathroom door since she won't be able to see them.

There are a couple girls who lived in Tzfat who returned to Shearim until things get quiet. One of the girls mentioned that intellectually she knows that she's safe, but she is still not digesting her food and isn't sleeping. Post-tramatic symptoms.

If anyone is interested in helping please check out these websites: One Family Fund or Meir Panim Relief Centers

Everyone please contact your representatives, senators and other elected officials and let them know that they should leave Israel to finish the job in Lebanon and Gaza.

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