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November 25, 2012 4:52 pm
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British Girl in Tel Aviv Diary Part 6: Ceasefire Brigade

avatar by Kara Bieber

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My apartment. I read my palm and I'm staying! Photo: Kara Bieber.

As we continue to keep readers updated on what life in Israel under rocket fire is like, part 6 of The Algemeiner’s “British girl in Tel Aviv” diary, describing her experiences over the past few days, is posted below. Part 1 can be read here, part 2 is herepart 3 is herepart 4 is here and part 5 is here.

Day 8: Ceasefire brigade

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I have always avoided sleepless nights, horror movies and roller coasters.

(The teacups were more my cup of tea – but that’s another kettle of fish!)

So when I found myself thrust into the position of an extra, in Israel’s most talked about feature since 1991 – encompassing all the above, bar the teacups – what else was I to do, then take out my quill, (no, not to write my will!) to describe the everyday, for all we knew was today, the notion of tomorrow seemed almost naïve.

I was here, already forty-nine nights before war was upon us. As soon as it was, pressure from abroad was upon me.

“You’re getting out of there, right?” “COME-HOME!!”

Amazingly these were not words which came from my family – friends in fact.

Of course there were times when a brother, or sister, mother, father, expressed their wish for me to return -articulating their ideal – yet always furthered by their understanding and support in me staying.

So endlessly thankful this was the case. For I felt all along I was here, preferably for good times, but this is and has always been a place of uncertainty and I was adamant not to run away just because things became difficult.

It would not have felt right to have basked in what had been the most blissful time and then pack up and run because I was suddenly abandoned – my comfort zone nowhere to be found.

For the support I received from each and every person here, whether I knew them or not, was abundant, bountiful. It transported me to places I did not know I’d reach.

We were all in this together and we’ve all come out of it together.

And yes, we all know the phrase ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, well I’ve come up with one of my own,

“Whoever said ‘sex sells’, had clearly never written about Israel!”

Day 9: Dear Diary

I’ve always been told never to assume, so I presumed it was finally safe to wash my hair.

No longer a worrier, I stand a warrior. This past week, more vigorous than my entire last year in London, Riots, Jubilee and Olympics included.

Now I can unpack my little overnight bag.

When the very first rocket landed, I was advised to have a bag ready if needed to evacuate to a bomb shelter.

The only thing is, I didn’t know what to put in it. I’d already felt better just looking at it, so I went about the apartment searching for things to fill it with. I must have soon been sidetracked – probably by news reports or worried calls from far away family – since I’ve discovered it now, completely forgotten about, and all that sits inside is Lindt’s 85% chocolate (even before the war, I demonstrated signs of braveness, for it is the 90% I eat, but one simply cannot buy it here!) and a packet of sprouted spelt bread.

Needless to say, my first, and often only thought, is food.

In other news, must dash, it’s two o’clock and I just heard my tummy rumble!

Day 10: Over fire, now under thunder!

Never a dull moment here. Apart from the sudden change in weather, which I would call very dull.

This is the weather for war, not the beautifully balmy days that we’ve not been able to enjoy.

The clouds were indeed something of extraordinary proportions yesterday. Great imposing plumes, plump and powerful, they balanced above our heavy heads. I guess they stimulated the storm that followed.

It kicked off with a bang. Literally. A colossal clap of thunder, more slap, than clap, it took us all by surprise.

I was on the phone when I heard it, “s**t!” I heard myself saying. Even though I’d been monitoring the seemingly distant veins of lightening, nothing could have prepared me for the boom!

There were further bangs, as shutters were thrown open, windows pushed aside; gawping faces took their place. The old woman from across the road who I’d only ever seen as a figure in her bra and briefs, looked to me urgently, for information.

“Thunder” I shouted, pointing at the sky. “MA??”, “THUNDER” I repeated.

With deep relief her face fell into a smile.

I realize now, as frightening as it is to hear the siren, it’s even worse not to.

The author is a photographer from London, her website is: www.karabieber.com.

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