Over the weekend, two rockets were fired at Israel’s southern communities and although the Jewish state did respond by attacking sites belonging to militants in the Gaza Strip, residents feel frustrated that their pleas for security continue to fall on deaf ears.
After months of cancellations and postponed meetings, Israel’s security cabinet finally met on Sunday.
The reason for that meeting was simple. In recent days, it was announced that Iran had started enriching uranium to 60 percent, its highest level ever, something that could potentially pave the way for their nuclear independence and something that Israel is trying to prevent.
The US has also given Israel reason to worry. As Washington continues its indirect talks with Tehran in Vienna, the general feeling in Tel Aviv is that a deal between the Islamic Republic and the Americans is only a matter of several weeks.
Boiling With Anger
Bar-Ilan, a native of Kfar Gaza located only five kilometres east of Gaza, is following these developments closely and says she is “boiling with anger”.
“For the past few days, the red alert siren has been going on and off”, she said referring to the launches that were intercepted during the weekend.
“Our children are facing this harsh reality, they have nightmares, they have fears of being alone. And while this is happening, our cabinet is not even discussing our terror reality that has been here for 20 years”, she continued.
The first rockets hit Israel’s southern communities in 2001, when the Jewish state was still in control over the Palestinian enclave.
Six years later, after Hamas militants seized control over the Gaza Strip, the situation only escalated and the country’s southern communities have since witnessed thousands of rockets landing in their area, disrupting ordinary life.
Over the years, life under sporadic fire has claimed its toll. While lost lives and damage to property were an immediate aftermath of the hostilities, psychological traumas have become southern communities’ daily reality, something that the government has been struggling to cope with.
“I don’t understand why our lives are less important than those of people residing in Tel Aviv. I am doing all my civil duties. I am serving in the IDF, risking my own life. I am paying taxes and vote in our never-ending elections. And I keep asking myself if this vicious cycle will ever end”.
Bar-Ilan says she’s stopped holding Hamas responsible for the situation in the south. Her frustration is now mainly directed at Israeli politicians, who fail to keep their promises.
“No matter what their political orientation is, whether they are from the right or the left, they simply lack the courage to end this ongoing terror. The truth is that they don’t and will never care about us”.
No End in Sight?
However, Israel did try to restore calm in the south. In 2011, it started using its Iron Dome missile defence system that kept most of the Gaza rockets at bay. It tightened its security next to the border fence, it allowed millions of Qatari money in, and at the beginning of March it finally finished the construction of a sophisticated underground barrier to detect and prevent tunnel digging by various groups in the enclave.
But for Bar-Ilan, as well as thousands of other residents of the south, these and similar measures are only a temporary bandage, not a permanent solution.
That instability and constant fear for the future have pushed many families out of the south, but Bar-Ilan vows she won’t be one of them.
“I believe in my right to live on this land that my grandparents have built from scratch. This is why I will never considering leaving. But as long as our government doesn’t change its approach towards this conflict, our lives will never be safe here. For both sides of the fence”.