Magazine article Midstream

When We Hear the Siren, We Rush for Our Shoes

Magazine article Midstream

When We Hear the Siren, We Rush for Our Shoes

Article excerpt

Jenin, just 12 kilometers down the road from us, used to be the core of hostility. From my kitchen window, I watch the city spread. Houses in Jenin stretch farther over the hills, more rooftops panel the slopes every month, every year. Now, Jenin lies silent. We're not currently threatened by suicide bombers from Jenin harboring explosives in their clothing, rather rockets shot at us from the Lebanese border in the north.

In the last week, eight rockets have fallen in the Jezreel Valley where we live. Each time the siren shreds our house we rush to grab our shoes, hastily lace them, then dash toward our grandson's crib. The little child is visiting from Vancouver with his parents. Each time a siren bellows we ready ourselves, so that we can hurry to the shelter two doors away. We stand over the sleeping child, hoping his sleep won't be broken by our fears, but ready to lift him, cover him, and run if we must.

My grandson on my lap, I listen to the morning news, hear about two children playing in their yard in Nazareth, when suddenly a rocket fell, killing them instantly. I lower my head to my grandson's curls, watch the Arab mother showing photos of her beautiful young boys to the television camera. I sing my grandson's favorite song, thinking of the grief that swells in that mother's heart. A cousin lives in Nazareth. When she hears of this tragedy, she calls to say she's packing a bag, is coming to spend the night.

Planes growl overhead, then minutes later a siren rips the air. A rocket has fallen in upper Afula, fifteen minutes from our house. I jump from the chair, hurry for my shoes. My grandson looks startled. This is the second time Afula has been hit this week.

Wrapping the child in his favorite blanket brought from home, I remember the father whose infant son spent the night in an underground shelter in Nahariya. …

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