Thursday, January 22, 2009

Photos from the Front

Jake Livni (who has previously sent photos from Israel of Rabbi Groner's levaya) just sent me these photos he took in Sderot and at the staging area just outside Gaza just a few days ago. He describes his trip:

I went to Sderot on Sunday this week, a few hours after the ceasefire that Israel declared unilaterally. Hamas celebrated the ceasefire in classical style by launching 20 rocket attacks into Israel. I joined a group of Americans handing out food treats and clothing (socks, underwear, towels) to the soldiers who were leaving the Gaza Strip. First stop was Sderot, where we picked up an order of fresh baked goods to distribute. The people of Sderot are just trying to live normal everyday lives, despite the concrete bomb shelters at bus stops, the concrete bomb-proof umbrellas built over school buildings, the 15-second incoming-missile alerts, and the media milling about.

From Sderot we went to a military staging area just outside the fence with Gaza. The soldiers were delighted to see us. They were very happy that this battle was over. The tanks and APCs carrying the soldiers were loud and fast; I had to be careful running in the mud, getting close to these large moving machines, but not too close. We heard one Qassam land somewhere nearby and explode.

Finally we went to a military base in the area, where family members were streaming in to see their sons/husbands/brothers who were coming back from Gaza. One grandfather and grandmother were so very happy to see their grandson safe and well and asked me to take their photo. I couldn't refuse them.

Now Israel is going back to the usual: politics, elections and the lack of rain, among other things. At least this chapter has worked out mostly well for now. Some soldiers have died, others injured. They can't celebrate with us but aren't forgotten.


All images are Copyright Jake Livni and may not be reproduced without permission. For enquiries, email AussieEcho and I will forward any messages to him.