Reeva Godson's cousin who is an established author and who lives in Israel is a frequent visitor to London.
He was due to stay this week (10th October) however his flight was cancelled due to the war with Gaza.
He wrote to Reeva and the content of his email is attached. It makes very interesting reading.
Dear all, (please excuse the personal heading this time but I have to write to a lot of friends, family, publishers and editors).
As you will see from the above email title, unfortunately I will not be coming to the Uk this week. Owing to the war situation here, Easyjet, or rather its flight insurers, cancelled my flight for the second time. While looking for an alternative, El-AL were booked up for a few days ahead and Wizz were flying, but the 5+hour journey would now take 23 hours(!) which would include 2 stops in the middle of nowhere in Europe or Timbuktu.
Naturally I am very sad and disappointed about all this but am consoling myself with a future flight sometime at the beginning of 2024 when I have my new Israeli & British passports as my present ones are due to expire.
In the meanwhile, my immediate family are well but my cousins who live in Kibbutz Alumim which literally shares the border with Gaza have a different tale to tell.
Hamas terrorists (they are not soldiers in the real sense of the word) invaded their kibbutz. Most of the members including most of my cousin's family had evacuated it, but my cousin's son stayed behind as part of the local military forces. He came face to face with a terrorist who he shot and killed. Then terrorist #2 appeared behind him and shot him in the neck and chest. My cousin fell down and the terrorist thinking he was dead, ran off. My cousin was not dead, he was badly wounded but managed via his cell-phone to get help and was rushed to Beersheva hospital. He was successfully operated on, spent a few days in Intensive Care and is now on the road to recovery. He can now talk, breathe, walk slowly etc. but it will be a long job to see him as he was last week.
As a result of all this I am putting in extra hours at my volunteer job at Yad Sarah fixing wheelchairs etc. and will continue to do this in the near future. I have also registered to be a civilian driver and take extra supplies for the army and other necessary organisations. In addition, my son, daughter-in-law, grandson (14 months) and their husky-style dog with one grey eye and t'other brown have moved in with us 'for the duration.'
As for the general situation, we are as far as I can say, safe here in Jerusalem. There were several air-raid sirens at the beginning of this war which caused us to run to the stairwell or shelters and wait uselessly but hopefully that nothing would happen but now they have stopped. Current wisdom during the Iraq/Kuwait war against Sadaam Hussein was that the Arabs wouldn't shell Jerusalem as they might hit their own mosques and I hope that this thinking is still on. Their rockets are wildly inaccurate and many of them in the past have landed in their own backyards, a fact they 'forget' to report.
Life is slowly coming back to normal although as of yesterday you could still see closed shops and/or empty shelves in the supermarket where panicky housewives had overbought tons of stuff they won't need or chuck out when it goes off. The roads are becoming busier again and my joy of driving to my volunteer job via empty roads is slowly disappearing, as a 15 minute drive will take 30 minutes!
Politically, Bibi has finally after 5 days agreed to form a unity govt. but is sh*t scared how he will fare after all this is over. His ratings in one survey have plummeted to 19 seats instead of 32 a few months ago. However, he and his governments over the past 15+ yrs aren't the only ones who are guilty of complacency re. Hamas and its abilities to fight. The army and its Intelligence branch are also to blame. As I wrote earlier, we must learn from this hubris and heads must roll, both political and military. It is all very similar to what happened 50 yrs. ago with the Yom Kippur War which was to a degree a better situation than today for two major reasons.
One: we were fighting in Sinai and the Golan Heights, i.e. areas beyond our borders and two: that war was one between countries and their armies. That meant that when a cease-fire was finally arranged, it was between recognised governments. This time the fighting has taken part INSIDE Israel, the first time since the War of Independence in 1948 and also, Hamas is a bunch of terrorists and not a responsible government. How this last fact will figure in any prisoner-of-war exchange, nobody knows. Their aim was to invade, rape, pillage and kill Viking style. It was in fact a mass suicide mission as they must have known that even though they caught us unprepared, they could not win in the end which time has proved that they didn't.
My hopes for the immediate future are that the 150 Israelis they snatched will come home soon alive and that the scenes of carnage in Gaza will persuade Nasrallah and the Hizbollah in Lebanon not to attack us. If they do, it will be far worse. They have a real army and thousands of rockets which they would love to unleash. I wonder if we will try and counter this threat with a major 6-Day War style pre-emptive attack. If so, I wouldn't be surprised.
OK, 'nuff from me.
Final thought: the irony of war; Up till last Saturday, Israel was becoming a very split society re the judicial reform and other aspects emanating from this. The Hamas attack, instead of weakening us, has unified us as never before. The quantity and quality of volunteering etc is absolutely amazing, inspiring and heart-warming.
Hoping to hear from you and let us see what the future holds.
Shabbat shalom, in the full meaning of Shalom.
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