Monday, 26 November 2012

Israeli Ecclesia in wartime

Situation in Israel

Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 15:30:41 -0000

Dear Brothers and Sisters

I have received the following (we returned from Israel last night):

I hope your flight back home after the Tel-Aviv Bible School was safe. 

You were right, we are at war again. This time it is more severe than in 2009. During the period since 2009, the terrorist organizations in Gaza received and were able to smuggle through the Egyptian border more sofisticated Iranian made missiles "Fajr" with the range of 70 km. Previosly, the missiles from Gaza had a range of 40 km. It means that now approximately half of the members of our Ecclesia are under fire. For example, my home is 55 km from Gaza. 

Specifically, the members who reside in Ashdod and Beer Sheva together with the contacts in Ashkelon are under fire again. For the first time, the members of the Israeli Ecclesia who reside in Rishon-LeZion and Tel-Aviv areas are under fire as well. Thursday 7 PM there was the first alarm in Rishon-LeZion, and two missiles hit Tel-Aviv. I made numerous phone calls to all the affected members. In Ashdod, Zoya Roitblat and the Kudelkin family are safe but they spent a sleepless night from Wednesday to Thursday with almost constant alarms and rushing to and from the shelter. The Danilovs in Ashkelon and Sister Nina Alexandrovich in Beer Sheva are safe also but were unable to sleep this night as well. At schools, there will be no classes tomorrow in Ashdod (Nataly Kudelkin) and even in Rishon-LeZion area (Julia Roitblat). Specifically, the Julia's school is not a city school but has a regional status with some schoolchildren residing in Ashdod and other southern cities. These children did not come to school already this Thursday. After the alarm sounded in Rishon-LeZion, the school director announced that there will be no classes tomorrow and Julia will stay at home. So far, 11 members of the Ecclesia and two contacts are within the area of the military conflict. 

In the north, there was some insignificant military activities on the Golan heights because of the shelling from Syria (probably accidental because of the civil war there) but not in the Kiriat Shmone area. Sis. Lena and Tally Makovsky are safe. 

Despite all these recent developments, the spirit within the Ecclesia is high, no one is panicking. We pray to the Lord and have complete trust in His wisdom. Sis. Alla Kudelkin went to work this morning to her job in Holon. She was unable to return back home after work because of temporary bus service interruption and stays with us now. My father joined us and we had a good Bible reading this evening. We prepared our home for possible coming of more B&S from the south. 

I will keep you updated. I shall appreciate your passing this report further within the Brotherhood. 

Love in the Lord,
Michael Shterenshis
Recording Brother
Israeli Ecclesia 
Sat, 17 Nov 2012 11:10:26 -0000

Further development: The night from Thursday to Friday was relatively calm in the south. Friday morning at 7:30 AM, the alarm sounded in Ashdod. The Kudelkin family rushed to the shelter. That very moment they heard a whistling sound and almost immediately a very loud blast. They got adjusted to the sounds of blasts being able to calculate by the intensity of the sound the distance from the hit. This time, the rocket hit the ground very close to their building. They did not reach the shelter yet but were away from their flat already. The blast broke some window glass at the flat but no further damage. Saturday, I plan to go there and we will make a decision should they or should they not be evacuated. In Ashkelon and Beer Sheva, everything is normal. In Rishon LeZion, we opened and cleaned our shelter (it was not used since I do not know when), but no new alarms sounded. In general, the Hamas shelling is somewhat decreased due to Israeli firm defence and offence operations. Despite that, there were about ten alarms in Ashdod during this Friday. 
Michael Shterenshis
Sun, 18 Nov 2012 21:43:37 -0000

The night from Friday to Saturday was calm. The alarms started in Ashdod at 8 AM. I went to the south trying to visit as many B&S as possible. The Kudelkins' flat is not badly damaged, just the windows. there were several alarms during the day. Perhaps you know from the TV news that one rocket hit the tall building in the center of the city that is about 1-2 km from the Kudelkins' house. After that, they decided to move to us and left to my home with Zoya, but Maxim remained to guard the flat because of the broken window glass. I moved then to Ashkelon to check the contacts, the Danilov family. Despite Ashkelon is much closer to Gaza then Ashdod, the situation there is calmer. Almost all rockets fired by the Palestinians fly above having their targets in Ashdod and farther. The Danilovs are all right. Then I moved to Beer Sheva. On my way there I visited my aunt in Ofakim. Again, smaller towns are not the main targets now. The have about 10-12 alarms per day but the rockets fly above them to Beer Sheva. The organization of home defence is very good indeed. All people know what to do. In Beer Sheva, I was unable to see Sis. Nina Alexandrovich as she was not at home. However her house was undamaged and probably she was elsewhere. She does not use mobile phone. Her house is a one storey building almost at the outskirts of the city. It has no shelter. 

Upon my coming home, there was an alarm at 6 PM in my Rishon LeZion and we heard a sound of a blast but most probably the rocket was intercepted in the air. Tel-Aviv was targeted once again but no casualties there. It was announced that Sunday Julia will have classes, Nataly will not have classes in Ashdod. My father joined us and we all had the Breaking of Bread. Bro Peter Osborn from Australia contacted me from Jerusalem. His family is all right. They witnessed alarm being at the Wailing wall! I plan to see them Monday. 

While the ground military operation did not start yet, everyone expect it. In the north, all is quiet. Arad (the Bushilov family) is too far and was not targeted. I will keep you further updated. 

Love in the Lord,