When the Israeli army bombed the Gaza Strip and fired rockets from Gaza to Israel, tensions between Jews and Palestinian Israelis were also increasing in Israel itself. How do Dutch people living in Israel experience this escalation?
This measure is sufficient for Yuval van Boven. After the sirens kept roaring and missiles and bombs were flying overhead, she decided to leave the kibbutz where they lived with her family, about 700 meters from the border of the Gaza Strip.
Past In the evening, for the fifth consecutive night, shelling occurred between Israeli and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip:
For each air strike, the family must seek refuge in the “safe room” within ten seconds. It was Van Boven’s daughter’s bedroom, with thick walls and iron shutters on the windows. Therefore, in fact, the whole family sleeps in that room. Van Boven: “All these sounds will pass through your bone marrow and bones. The alarm mode will last for 24 hours.”
The family moved to the northernmost point of Israel outside the danger zone. She went to bed for the first time last night “okay”. “We left not because of fear, but simply because it is no longer life.”
But there, Van Bowen also had to deal with increasing tensions. When she wanted to eat something in Tiberias, “someone suddenly shouted “chaos, chaos” because they were fighting with each other. This is abnormal, and it hasn’t been like this for a long time.”
In July last year, the family moved from Rotterdam to Kibbutz near the Gaza Strip. They did not regret it for a second. “We miss the kibbutz very much. So, if we can, we will go back. Even though we may sometimes have to sit in that safe room from time to time.”
“life goes on”
After a round of running, Willem Luyckx has just settled on the beach in Tel Aviv. He said on the phone: “Of course, the focus is on suffering.” “But people sometimes forget that life continues here.”
Luyckx has lived in Israel for 30 years, where he moved for his Israeli wife. He was accustomed to missiles, and he knew that most of the projectiles that flew to Tel Aviv were shot down by Israel’s ultra-modern missile defense system. However, there was still a constant threat on the beach, and within a few hours of his arrival, the air raid sirens sounded and people began to flee.
People are going home collectively. When filming, some people were still hiding behind the car:
Luyckx lives in the Jaffa district, where about 30% of the residents are Arabs. It is much quieter than usual on the street.
“For example, there is a flea market here. This is a really attractive place nearby. There are bars and restaurants everywhere. Especially on weekends. But now it’s completely quiet. It’s a strange situation.”
Luyckx believes that everyone is afraid of riots. Especially in places where Jews and Arabs live together, such as Jaffa. But in cities such as Lod, Haifa and Acre, these two population groups clashed earlier this week.
Last week, footage of an incident in Bat Yam, a suburb of Tel Aviv. It shows how a Palestinian driver was dragged out of the car and beaten by a group of people. According to the International News Agency, they are Jewish nationalists.
Since then, it has also been turbulent in the Jaffa area of Luyckx. A friend of his saw young Arabs opening fire from his balcony, and the police still blocked the streets every night.
Willem Luyckx organized a ten-kilometer run on Sunday morning to race the Jewish and Arabs from Tel Aviv to Jaffa. He hopes that the tension will ease quickly.
Christel Bakker has now lived in Tel Aviv for more than one and a half years. Previously, in 2019, she heard the city’s air raid sirens when she first lived there.
Now, she hears the alarm almost every day. However, she was still shocked every time. “People are screaming, mothers pick up their children and start running. You have a minute to run to the air-raid shelter.”
“All this is really daunting. The missile hit a friend’s house. Someone has died. A friend of mine who works in the hospital has been busy treating the injured all day.”