Report from Tel Aviv

November 16, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv for the first time in 20 years. Sydney man Richard Benjamin who now lives in Tel Aviv reports on his experience…

The city was eerie.

Richard Benjamin

Despite the 230 (and counting) rockets that have been launched from Gaza since the weekend, the developing feeling of the 450,000 Tel Avivians has been different compared to the previous months of less frequent, yet mounting rocket count in Israel’s South. Here in the social and financial capital of Israel, a city at the heart of Jewish people worldwide, our thoughts and prayers have been with those in the south – in Sderot, in Ashdod and in Beer Sheba.

This all changed today when three Israelis where killed by a rocket launched at Kiryat Malachi. Then at 4:45pm a humbling realisation swept amongst us, in the impenetrable Tel Aviv when rockets landed in Rishon, just a 20 minute drive from Tel Aviv, we now knew we were in range of those in Gaza.

I was on my way out of the office after a busy week of work, but with a nervy, uneasy undertone, that was compounded in the lobby of my office building with those making their way home to their families. I went to unchain my bicycle and heard the air-raid siren. This was not the first time I have heard this, but normally reserved for commemorating atrocities of the past, Israel’s fallen war heroes and the holocaust, but this time I was quickly ushered into the bomb shelter of my building.

There was a man from Be’ersheba who had experienced it before and who expained what was going on. It took only a few minutesMy fiance at my place with her parents, panicking because the bomb-shelter was locked, people rushing into buildings on the streets, children crying and general day-to-day life activities now put in question.

After waiting I rode home like the wind. Our world already seemingly returning to normal, but a shade of panic and tarnished innocence amongst the eyes of my fellow Telavivians.

Calm is restored for now, but the rockets have arrived.

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