Under Fire, part 24

What did I miss? Taking advantage of a Shabbat afternoon, we try to watch a movie on TV. Sirens go off repeatedly, sending us scuttling downstairs to the meimad. Each time, we hang out and wait for the barrage that may or may not come before we can eventually go back upstairs. Each time, we miss some critical plot development in the movie. The third time the sirens go off, I scoot into the meimad only to discover that Gill is not right behind me. Annoyed by the constant interruptions, he decides to ignore the siren and stay and watch the movie. (Who needs to hear a sound track when you have to read the Hebrew subtitles anyway?) In the evening, we open a bottle of fabulous Gamla Reserve (originally intended for my parents, but left in our wine rack when Gill had to cancel his visit to the States this last May) and watch The Upside of Anger.

Tuna me now! Our neighbors take a break over the weekend, heading down to the Tel Aviv area to visit their son, and leave us to feed their three cats. Gill takes cat duty on Friday while I’m teaching in Tel Aviv. I take over on Saturday; at 10:30, there is not a cat in sight, and I worry that the noise has finally freaked them out. But when I return in the late afternoon, the food dishes are empty and all three cats are hanging out in the yard, looking mildly annoyed at the bad service. Nadine sits in our yard and screams insults at them through the fence.

Rumors of a cease-fire: Everyone is talking about Wednesday as the magical day in which some sort of cease-fire will take place. There will probably be some sort of security strip (a no-man’s land), and either UN or NATO forces will help the Lebanese patrol and make sure that Hizbullah doesn’t start firing rockets again. Or so we would like to believe. Meanwhile, the warped international view of us as the big bad bully continues, fueled by apologists and the grossly confused. A few voices of reason are heard: Dershowitz bursts the myths on his site; US Senator Dianne Feinstein, at a rally in San Francisco on 23 July, speaks out about Israel’s right to defend itself:
“When terrorists attacked our country on 9/11 Israel did not waiver in support of the United States and now in time of need we will not waiver in our support for the state of Israel. Let there be no doubt Israel was subjected to unprovoked, unjustified attacks from terrorists on both the northern and southern borders. Remember it was Israel that pulled out of Lebanon. Remember that it was Israel that pulled out of Gaza, that brought her people out, that dismantled the synagogues… and the result on both the north and the south have been rocket attacks.”

But by and large, the news is depressing. Even watching pug bowling can’t quite cheer me up.

No, it’s not a typo: In response to the many people who insist that my husband’s name is Gil, let me explain. It really is Gill. The name is Hebrew (gimmel yud lamed, pronounced geel), but his first English teacher (probably grade four) insisted that the name is spelled “Gill” in English. Yeah, right. This was a delightful woman with (at best) second-hand English, an appalling accent, and some of the most bizarrely mangled colloquialisms I have ever heard. (And yes, I’ve met her: she must be close to 90 and recently visited Gill’s family on the kibbutz to pay a shiva call.) Anyhow, because of her early and influential insistence, Gill started writing his name that way in English. Thus, on all his official paperwork (including ID card, passport, international driver’s license, etc.), he will forever be a fish’s breathing organ.

Bada bim, Bada boom: Sirens go of this morning at 6:50. Akko is taking a heavy beating. Nadine runs and hides; I hear her moaning from under the bed, and am only able to lure her out by heating some spinach cheese bourekas. Four more days. Four more days. We can do this. I think how incredibly lucky I am to have the luxury of a meimad in my home. Some of the communal shelters are horrible, but even those people still stuck in Kiryat Shemona and forced to hang out in those dismal dungeons are staying resolute. “Do what you have to do,” says a resident, talking through the camera to IDF troops. “We’ll be OK. Don’t worry about us. Just do what you have to do so that they don’t just start firing at us again in a few months, in another year.” Another friend in the north writes about her sense of anger that Hizbullah can disrupt our lives and fire on us at will. Here and there, in a newspaper editorial, or on a blog, or in a TV interview, someone manages to say exactly what I am thinking and feeling, and I think that may there is some hope.

Meanwhile, I’m one of the lucky ones. We still have electricity, water, and there are more spinach cheese bourekas in the freezer. I wonder if there is any of that Gamla Reserve left…?

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2 responses to “Under Fire, part 24

  1. Dear Leah,

    I have been reading your blog almost daily to find out what’s what in Karmiel. Glad you, Gill, and Nadine are hanging in there. Hope to see y’all for a cuppa in the midrachov real soon.

    All the best Lee — writing from a “sauna” (it’s actually a school bedroom)in ORT Netanya.

  2. Whoops — missed a comma there!

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