Thursday, October 25, 2012

I am a Southerner

I am from the South.
Not from New Orleans or Memphis or even Tallahassee.
I am from Southern Israel.
Well, physically, I’m not from there either. I’m from the center of Israel – more specifically, Gush Etzion. But in my heart and in my mind over the past few weeks, I have moved to the South.
Like the rest of you, I have read about the kassams shot by the Arabs of Gaza. Then I usually skipped to the next story, “Which American Presidential candidate wore a nicer pin on his suit?” I have heard the proclamations and thus-far empty words about an end to violence and a commitment to peace, about neutralizing the threat of kassams and the need to restrain or respond to Arab terror. Then I yawned until the radio played a good song. “Hm, do I really think Moves Like Jagger was created just to suit Zumba mania?”
I have heard about the Iron Dome – the missiles that it caught and the ones that got away. I have seen the images from Reuters and CNN.
But none of these moved me or moved my soul to the South. Then one night, one of my new Southern friends messaged me, “Go on to my Facebook page and see the video my husband just took of a kassam flying over our town, and the Iron Dome blasting it out of the sky.”
I watched with fascination, and then almost fell out of my chair with the ensuing B-O-O-M. The camera shook, and so did my knees.
The Southern Moving Company
With every passing day, my Facebook friends in the South moved me further from Gush Etzion, and closer to Sderot, Netivot, Maagalim and Beersheva.
While most other Facebook folk were posting cute photos or articles from on-line news sources; while they were telling clever jokes or demanding that you “Press Like if you love your mother,” my Southern friends were posting moments of life in the South.
Their real-life moments made me understand life in the South, life under attack. Their real-life moments made me understand their bravery, their faith in G-d, their stubbornness to survive and their refusal to give in to the fear of booms.
When I hear a plane above, I think of them. When I read that the Iron Dome intercepted a missile, I know exactly what they’re talking about. When I see a picture of a destroyed home, I pray for my friends’ homes, and that of all their friends.
When I read about an escalation of violence, I think of my friends’ children sleeping in the stairwell.
I am from the South. I understand in my heart what it is to be under attack, and I know this is unacceptable. Someone has to help my friends and their hundreds of thousands of neighbors. I am from the South, and the next time there are booms, I will be praying for our brethren in the South.
I am from the South, so now all news about the South takes top priority. I feel frustrated by any inaction, and am praying for an IDF achievement that will make a real difference for my fellow Southerners.
How I Moved to the South
(When I wrote the first version of this article, I commented on some of the remarks below, but then I realized there was no need for explanation. Just, please read them all.)
  • Did anyone else just hear those booms, about one minute ago?”
  • “My dog is afraid. I’m not so strong right now either.”
  • “Let’s pray for a ‘quiet’ night.
  • Nothing like a siren and boom to start the day....One thing is for sure, I don't need my alarm clock this morning. Good morning world.”
  • “I have seven kids to get to safety. And I have 15-25 seconds. Sometimes less.”
  • “Good morning and Chodesh Tov to everyone. Sderot Eshkol and Merchavim were bombarded during the night with rockets. What a way to start a day.”
  • “I was in Netivot this morning running errands. I walked by the house that only several weeks ago was destroyed by a grad missile. Scary!!”
  • “The planes seem as low as my roof. My glasses are jumping on the shelf. I hope they don’t jump off.”
  • “My house is shaking. GO TZAHAL GO!!!”
  • “Here is the scenario...rockets are flying fast and furious, the IDF orders residents 10 KM or less to stay close to safe rooms, school is cancelled, and as I look out of my kitchen window I see six kids playing soccer on the street...”
  • “My brother-in-law is a garbage man. He works in rain, blazing sun, freezing cold, hail and KASSAM ATTACKS. He just told me that this morning he was in Kfar Maimon (where my kids go to school), and a kassam landed about 150 meters from him. There is no place to hide, all you can do is pray. The garbage truck has some small holes from shrapnel, but B-H, he is PHYSICALLY fine.”
  • Sometimes silence is even more scary. You think it’s over, start resuming life and BOOM it starts all over again.”
  • “Thank-you for caring about the South...most of the country couldn't care less.”
  • We had a huge boom five minutes ago; I slept well. School cancelled in Otef Azza (stupid name!) Apparently I was right - that BOOOM we heard last night was Tzahal retaliating, G-d bless 'em and keep them all safe!! I'm staying home and not straying outside. 54 rockets thus far....not a time to be wandering around.”
  • “No school today. Smart move!!!!! Keep 'em home near the safe room!!”
  • "No-one in the government wants to admit the terrible escalation of missile strength-range that's occurred in Gaza over the past seven years. The officers in the IDF who care, and I'm sure there are some, must not be sleeping at night.”
It’s late and I must go to sleep too, but I am from the South, so my prayers will be long tonight. Good night, South, good night, North. Good night, rockets, good night, planes. Good night, news, good night, youtube. Good night, South, good night.

(All the photos from this article were forwarded by my friends in the South from their Facebook pages.


  1. Thank you for being with us, Sharon. I am sure your eloquent post will cause others to (virtually)move to the south also. We are very happy for the moral support.
    From Bracha Goldman in Beersheva

  2. Sharon, yes, our hearts feel the pain as our close friends are being forced to run for their lives, not knowing what spot will be hit by the Arab terrorists.

  3. Sharon...May Hashem shower you with Blessings for telling our story so eloquently. I cried reading your posting reliving the days, weeks, months, years that my family and neighbours have lived under the threat of terror.

    It is hard for me to understand how our government can continue to allow over a million and half citizen to be held hostage to Hamas's terror.

    If anyone has an answer, please explain it to me.

  4. Your words are strong and true.
    As a resident of the south and one of the woman quoted in your blog, I here by make you an honourable resident of the south.
    Welcome, there is no place friendlier in the world!

  5. Sharon, your words are powerful.
    As a proud resident of the bombed south of Israel
    I here by make you an honourable resident of our beloved South.
    There is no place better to live!

  6. Well written and precise!! Your Ahavat Yisrael is showing!

  7. thanks for sharing.