Running for shelter in Tel Aviv

Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

Studying the conflict during the war: International students in Tel Aviv tell of their fear and fascination with the region.

Julia Lis had tried to imagine what it would be like, then the day finally came. When the sirens began to wail, she froze. Lis desperately tried to call her boyfriend, but couldn’t get through to him.

At first, all the 25-year-old felt was panic.

“I thought: that’s just not possible. I felt the emotions boiling up inside me. I looked at what other people were doing, how they were dealing with it,” the student told DW, adding that most people went home and soon, Tel Aviv’s streets were empty.

Julia Lis in Tel Aviv On Friday (16.11.2012) the air raid sirens sounded for the second time in two days, after the sound of an explosion ripped through Tel Aviv. Hamas took responsibility for the attack, in response to the Israeli bombardment of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Studying the conflict

Lis, a German exchange student who moved to Tel Aviv a year ago to study conflict management at Tel Aviv University, spent the evening glued to the television. She said it seemed fitting to move to Israel to study in the midst of one of the longest conflict in the world. “People here are used to conflict,” she said.

As are some of her fellow students. Take Philip, the Welsh Ph.D student prefers not to give his surname. He’s has been living in Israel for 13 years and doesn’t feel particularly threatened by attacks from the Gaza Strip.

“No need to change my life dramatically because of them,” he told DW. “But if the situation got bad [and] Egypt or Iran [get involved] I’m not going to stick around for that.”

Her family doesn’t understand her fascination

He pauses and adds, “I’m more likely to be killed by betting hit by a car if I just step outside my house.”

Nathan Hersh was cycling along the beach promenade when he heard the sirens and the explosion. People panicked and started running into nearby cafés.

Nathan Hersh, Student und Journalist aus Tel Aviv The journalist and student said he is not convinced that the situation will calm down any time soon.

“Tel Aviv is the Jewel of Israel and as long as missiles are falling on Tel Aviv, I can’t see any way that Israel would accept any sort of ceasefire,” he said.

Lis said she wants to stay on in Tel Aviv saying she’d leave if the situation deteriorated too much, but adds that her family is worried.

“They just don’t understand my fascination with the place,” Lis said. “I want to understand what’s really going on, rather than just watch the news on TV.”

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