In Be’er Sheva, there are two kinds of people: those who sit protected in their shelters, calling for the occupation of Gaza, and the thousands of people who, living in buildings that crumble around them and with nowhere to run, just wait for the end. I live in such a building. Conversations with residents who have no refuge from the rockets.
By Daniel Beller (translated from Hebrew by Noam Shemtov)
The city of Be’er Sheva on Friday night got a reminder of why it needs a little less pride and lot more protection, especially for the weak: a rocket hit a house in a neighborhood of olim —Jewish immigrants to Israel — and almost completely destroyed it. Miraculously, the 80-year-old woman who was sitting in the living room at the time emerged from the building with only moderate injuries.
Many houses in Be’er Sheva are unprotected and it is no coincidence that these are precisely the buildings that Be’er Sheva’s sizable socioeconomically weaker population calls home. They are older housing units, neglected blocks of concrete built 50 or 60 years ago that are not part of the so-called, “new, high-end Be’er Sheva.”
When the alarm sounds, this community of underserved residents has nowhere to run. Its members take refuge standing against plaster walls, lying behind the couch or in the middle of the living room, standing and praying. These are people who make their livings from odd jobs, and a week of fighting – no work – could bring financial ruin upon them. If people don’t leave the house and give them a bit of business at a marketplace stall or kiosk, or if they hold only a part-time job because the city’s economy is forever stopping and starting up again — then they have no savings to speak of.
One of the most outrageous things about Be’er Sheva is to hear local politicians talking in front of microphones about the city’s fortitude, about its “strength,” its “solid front” and its people, “who unequivocally support the IDF’s strikes against...Read More