Shalom everyone! I'm back with another blog entry, however the topic is a lot more serious. Last night was the first night that I truly felt unsafe abroad.
Israel is a very modern country that contains some of the world's most advanced technological systems in the world--particularly in the defense sector. Because of this, Israel seems like a very Westernized country, and most of the time it feels like I am in Europe. However, last night reminded me that is not the case.
Last night, Thursday, March 14, I was eating dinner with my friends at a market similar to that of Union Market in D.C. We heard a loud crash but did not think anything of it because there was a lot of construction going on around the area. However, immediately after, we heard the red alert sirens all across Tel Aviv. The red alert sirens warn Israelis to get to the nearest bunker/safe space because of rockets and missiles being fired into Israel. The security guards at the market immediately ushered us into the market for safety precautions. Thankfully, no one was harmed by these rockets shot from Gaza because they were immediately shot down by the Israeli army.
This experience made me realize exactly where I was in the world. It is very rare for there to be rockets fired towards Tel Aviv, so it put many things into perspective:
1. I am extremely grateful to be alive, healthy, and safe.
2. Download a local news app to get notified of important day-to-day activities going on in your host country.
3. If you are in a similar situation, wait until it dissipates and you have all of the facts before calling any loved ones. Calling your parents on the phone while you are in a panicked state will do more harm than good.
4. Always travel with at least 1 friend in case you ever feel like you are in danger.
5. Keep all important phone numbers for your host country/school in one, organized place! You should NOT wait to do this after something dangerous happens (ex. over 75 students in 20 minutes joined the TAU Emergency WhatsApp group AFTER the rocket incident).
Like I said earlier, I am so grateful to be alive and safe, and I am so thankful to be in a country that prioritizes safety and security over everything! This experience did not make me afraid of this country, in fact, it made me more appreciative of it! I'll talk to you all next time! Shabbat shalom!