CHS alumna experiences Israel first-hand

By Natalia Derechin

Dear Editor,

From the day I got to Israel, I was told that there is always the possibility of war, especially with Hamas only 30 kilometers away, but I never really thought that it would happen. Day after day, the situation in Gaza got more and more tense. Our Madrij, the live in counselor, told us that there was a possibility of war. He told us not to be frightened and to relax, because he seriously doubted that anything would happen.

24 hours later, my Madrij called us to for a meeting and told us that we could be relocated due to the increasing amount of missiles that were going our direction. I live in Beer Sheva, a town 30 kilometers away from Gaza. Although we are far away, it also means that we are targeted with the most potent missiles.

I saw something I will never forget: the Iron Dome. It’s designed to intercept long-distance missiles and destroy them in the air. It’s an amazing sight. The sky went green, and then came the most powerful boom I’ve ever heard. It was probably the most exhilarating moment of my life.

We tried sleeping that night in a bomb shelter. The alarm went off various times, causing more  panic each time it began to ring. By 6:30, I heard the last alarm in the Kibbutz before we were forced to evacuate. There was no playing around; we got our stuff from the shelter and ran to the buses. We were given 15 minutes to evacuate the zone we were in, or else we would be forced to stay there throughout the whole operation.

After the conflict was over, we were safe and sound, living next to Jordan, which was reassuring, but still we had traces of PTSD. We were in the North for 10 days, then we were allowed to return.

It was strange to go through the experience, and I must say that people can’t really have an opinion until they’re here. I still stand for my position, but I’ve learned from the many opinions of people here that we really shouldn’t have an opinion. Both sides are completely flawed and have so many faults. Talking about the conflict in the Middle East is like asking for someone’s political affiliation back home, you just don’t do it.

 

Natalia Derechin graduated from CHS last year and has been studying in Israel for the past four months.