a different side of Israel

Helter Shelter

Some army guy has just come on Channel 2 and told Tel Aviv residents to be on the alert for a warning that will give us one minute before the rockets land … One minute to what? To run? Run where? What if I run in the wrong direction?

“Where’s the shelter?” I ask Saar.

“I don’t know.”

There should be one a public shelter nearby. I keep passing signs to them all the time. Why didn’t I pay more attention. There should be one in the building. All buildings in Tel Aviv have one. I’m going to ask the va’ad habeit, the guy we pay 150 shekels to every month so that someone will clean the staircase.

I interrupt him in the middle of lunch.

“Hi,” (sweet smile trying not to show panic). “Where’s the public shelter?”

“Hmmm there’s one in the park next door.”

(Slight relief)

“Is it open?”

“Well that’s the thing. I don’t think so. Most of them haven’t been used for a while and anyway they’ve just done some building in the garden, so I’m not sure.”

(Back to panic)

“But don’t worry,” he tells me. “Just come into the stairwell, or stand in your corridor. The important thing is not to be near an outside wall. And the best he says is to stand under the mashkof.”

I have never heard that word in Hebrew.

“What’s mashkof?”

Unable to find the English word, his eyes rise to the doorframe and he pounds his fist on the narrow brown plastic, painted with darker strips in an attempt to create an aged wooden look, showing me the mashkof and at the same time demonstrating its supposed sturdiness.

Yeah, that’ll save me.

My face shows I am not convinced.

“Don’t worry,” he says. “Think about me. I have to drive up north now, closer to it all, to be with the kids. I’m going to die of fear. You’ll be fine. Just make sure there’s lots of water in the house.”

We’ve only got one bottle left. I’m going to buy more water.

“Thanks … and good luck with the kids.”

As I come back into my apartment, the IDF spokeswoman is on the TV, telling everyone to calm down. Carry on your lives as normal, enjoy the summer with your kids …..

1 Comment

  1. Tell us what you find out about the shelter. Is there a place you can be in central Israel?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑