Gaza border resident: It sounded like Operation Protective Edge

Classes cancelled, train services halted in southern Israel.

Israeli security forces put up a road block in kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the Gaza Strip border, in Israel November 12, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Israeli security forces put up a road block in kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the Gaza Strip border, in Israel November 12, 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Residents of Gaza border communities are used to spending the night in safe rooms as another round of violence is breaking out.
As news slowly trickled out in the media, many were surprised to hear that IDF Special Forces had entered Gaza.
High school teacher and Nirim resident Adele Raemer told The Jerusalem Post on Monday: “We heard a lot of gunfire, explosions and automatic gunfire,” she said, exhausted after a sleepless night.
She remarked that residents were texting each other in the dark about what was happening, since it took time for news to be published due to restrictions imposed by the censor.
“There was a good twenty minutes of scary, loud gunfire and windows shaking until there was even anything on the news – but we are used to hearing noises and things flaring up in a nanosecond.”
She said this was different than the recent rounds of violence, adding: “it sounded like Operation Protective Edge – a sound we haven’t heard since 2014.”
On Monday, classes were canceled in Gaza border communities after five volleys of at least three rockets and other projectiles were fired from the Strip overnight.
Raemer, founder of the Facebook group “Life on the border with Gaza – things people may not know (but should),” noted that this is not the first time schools have closed due to violence in the South since the start of the new school year in September.
The IDF said early Monday morning that 17 rockets were fired at Israel’s South, of which three were intercepted overnight. Train stations in Sderot, Ofakim, Netivot and other Gaza border communities were closed on Monday.
Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, said the IDF did not discuss the closures with his office before making the decision.
“The IDF canceled classes here, and also stopped work in the area,” Yarkoni told Army Radio on Monday morning, saying a “great tragedy” befell Israel with the death of Lt. Col. M. during the botched IDF operation. He said the decision “caught him by surprise” since he discovered the decision via media channels and not from the IDF itself.
“It would have been nice [for the army] to discuss it with us and hear our opinion,” he added, “but at the end of the day those who make the decisions are the [from the] IDF.” Yarkoni called on residents of Gaza border communities to “carry on,” saying he supports “any path” that minimizes pain for Israelis. “If there’s a possibility for a cease-fire, I support it,” he said.
On Sunday night, rocket sirens were heard at least five times across southern Israel. Residents in communities surrounding the Strip were warned to stay close to shelters, however the warning was lifted the next morning when there a lull in the violence. Attacks flared up again drastically in the late afternoon, however, with hundreds of rockets fired into Israel and dozens of IDF strikes in Gaza.
Raemer slept with her phone nearby in order to hear the Code Red alert.
Her daughter Lilach Naftalyahu heard a warning loud and clear, since the siren was right outside of her room.
While her baby and three-year-old daughters’ regular day care centers were closed for the day, the community’s emergency team opened several houses for children and parents to get together.
“It was very important for me to go, to get out the house and sit with the other mothers and talk to them and laugh a bit – a bit of dark humor – and it’s important for my elder daughter to see other children,” she told the Post.
Raemer later remarked that she feels her stress levels during these waves of violence negatively affect her children, noting that while day care centers are fully reinforced, in her home only the safe room is.
During periods of heavy violence, even going to the bathroom is a risk.
“Now everyone is back at home... and we’re waiting to see what happens this evening... waiting to see if things stay calm or if things kick off again. It’s a loop of constant escalations and then going back to normal,” she added.
“It’s nuts. We bomb them and they bomb us and until there is some sort of strategy, there is no way to get out of this loop,” she said.
Avraham Gold contributed to this report.