A quiet but tense day along the Gaza border

‘We live here in a state of war – all the time, with waves that go up and down’

Jerusalem Post Military Correspondent Anna Ahronheim speaks to Sderot resident Assaf Naamat, July 15, 2018 (Dennis Zinn/The Jerusalem Post)
“We live here in a state of war – all the time,” a resident of the community of Kfar Aza told The Jerusalem Post. “With waves that go up and down.”
Sunday was a day of tense quiet, after hundreds of rockets and mortars were launched toward southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday. Throughout the day, 200 mortars and rockets were launched into southern Israel, leading thousands of Israelis to spend the sunny summer’s day in bomb shelters.
“The fire balloons and kites are like the Qassam rockets,” he told the Post on Zikim beach, which the IDF had closed to the public the day before. “No one took them seriously. These kites and balloons can just make [the situation] worse. Just look at yesterday.”
With two children, aged 9 months and 3 years, “my family and I were not far from the bomb shelter the entire weekend,” said the man, who asked not to be named. “We were very scared for them,” he continued, adding that his eldest daughter “understands what is going on. She acted very mature and went straight to the bomb shelter during the Tzeva Adom [“color red” incoming rocket siren]. But she’s very curious about what’s happening and I weigh every answer I give her,” he said.
While Zikim beach was relatively quiet on Sunday when the Post visited, the rest of the South was bustling, with coffee and hummus shops full in nearby Sderot – which was hit by two rockets on Saturday evening.
“That’s the norm in the South. We are attacked and then we go back to our normal life,” 18-year-old Assaf Naamat from Sderot told the Post outside a popular hummus restaurant in the college town.
Rocket from Gaza lands near a house in Sderot, July 14, 2018 (Israel Police Spokesperson)
Naamat, who has lived his whole life in Sderot, told the Post that the switch from being attacked one day and returning to normal routine life “is a problem. Why should we be attacked and then return to our normal life? Someone should do something about it!” “One of the rockets fell behind my house and another rocket fell in front of my house,” Naamat said. “My sister started to cry and we had a psychologist talk to her and it was a very emotional [experience].
We had been in this situation for years, but when it hits you... you feel different...
you feel frightened and want to change the situation, once and forever.”
“I was born into this situation and that’s the problem. No one is doing anything to solve the situation. We tried three wars, we’ve tried everything, but we don’t do anything!” Naamat, who just finished high school and is planning to go to a pre-army academy next year, said the government “should do something else,” and instead of going to war, talk to Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
“The army does what the government tells it to do, and that is the problem.
Instead of finding a real solution, which will last for years, we go to war every four years. It’s stupid. Our soldiers shouldn’t do that. But if someone is shooting at us we must attack, of course. But we must solve the problem.”
For 22 year-old Shalom Amzari, who works mere meters from the Gaza Strip, while Sunday was a quiet day, the tension remains in the air.
“It feels different,” Amzari, who wears a bulletproof vest as protection from possible snipers across the security fence, told the Post.
“What happened yesterday won’t change anything. We need something harder, we need quiet and it doesn’t matter what brings that,” he said.
“We need to stop those who launch balloons and kites. They are even worse than rockets. They destroy our fields and agriculture.
But we cannot be afraid of them. We need to continue our lives.”