A loud noise punctures the quiet Jerusalem night. At first it seems to the unknowing ear that it may be just be the wind picking up and dying down.
This idealistic musing is quickly dispelled as the strange sound continually recurs and disappears. After the third or fourth such sound, the mind begins to understand that this is an abnormality. It is the dreaded sound of the rocket siren.
When I heard my first siren, I bolted to the nearest shelter. Luckily, this happened to be right next door.
My friends had different experiences. One was at a Tel Aviv grocery store when the Iron Dome — Israel’s anti-missile defence system — intercepted a rocket near his location, resulting in a shock wave that was felt at the store.
On the roof of a Tel Aviv building, partygoers heard a loud noise, and saw the smoke trail of a rocket intercepted by the Iron Dome, not far from where they were standing. Others I spoke to were at a beach and saw rockets in the distance, which were luckily intercepted by the anti-missile system.
I have lived in Canadian tranquility my entire life. I have never before experienced violence and hatred perpetrated against a civilian population. For this reason, my first experience with Hamas’ rockets shook me to my core.