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Kenyan Caught in Israel-Palestine War Shares Experience

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As tensions between Israel and Palestine escalate, Kenyans are among the foreigners caught in the war that has caught international attention.

The two countries have been firing rockets at each other, with reports indicating that over 65 Palestinians and six people in Israel have died. 

A Kenyan student residing in Herzliya, Northern part of Tel Aviv shared his plight and horror experience while speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, May 12. 

“I am terrified. I wish for peace. We Kenyans are lucky to enjoy peace back in our country. Living here in Israel is an absolute nightmare,” the Masters in Financial Economics student who sought anonymity lamented.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel

Nir Elias/Reuters

Among Kenyans in Israel are business people, government-sponsored and private students. Those sponsored by the government are agricultural trainees who are usually linked with financial institutions to enable them to start agribusiness projects after graduation.

The student who spoke to  Kenyans.co.ke is privately sponsored and relocated to Israel in 2019 from Nairobi. He says he has witnessed rockets passing over his city towards Tel Aviv and has also seen Jews and Jihadists attack each other in the streets. 

“Israel has a technology known as the Iron Dome which intercepts rockets and missiles. The technology also notifies us of incoming attacks which automatically initiates an alarm system.

“We usually seek for protection in bomb shelters whenever we hear the sirens. The Jews call them mamad in Hebrew. Whether it is 9 am or 2 am or midnight, one has to leave his bed and hide inside the shelters,” he narrated. 

The Iron Dome air defence system is a short-range, ground-to-air, air defence system that includes radar and Tamir interceptor missiles that track and neutralise any rockets or missiles aimed at Israeli targets. It is used for countering rockets, artillery & mortars (C-RAM) as well as aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Other than providing mamads, Israel also issues mental first aid guidelines to prevent Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) after rockets are fired, the Kenyans said. 

The mental first aid guidelines include four main rules: Focus, Encouragement, Question and Construction. Focus entails telling another person not to feel lonely. 

Encouragement: Ask and encourage the distressed individual to perform effective and simple actions such as contacting relatives, collecting phone numbers of the people around you, preparing and eating food. 

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Tel Aviv, a city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast

File

Question: Ask simple questions that will allow the distressed individual to think and make analytical decisions. Construction: Help the distressed individual recreate the traumatic sequence of the events.

The student, however, stated that what encouraged him more was staying in touch with other Kenyans and the embassy. He added that “To those who know God, we pray but also expect the worst. Those who don’t are always afraid of dying.” 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday night May 13, said he planned to send in military forces to help police maintain order in cities ruptured by violence.

“Nothing can justify an Arab mob assaulting Jews, and nothing can justify a Jewish mob assaulting Arabs,” he pleaded in a video statement, as reported by the Times of Israel.

The Kenyan government has called for a de-escalation of the conflict in Gaza, in a statement made to the United Nation Security Council – where it has a seat. 

Israel and Palestine have been warring over control of holy sites (Islam and Jewish sites) in East Jerusalem which has been claimed by both factions. 

Hamas, a militant group that controls large parts of Palestine, protested Israeli police presence in the policy Islamic sites. The standoff became a full-blown war after Israel attacked Palestine with airstrikes – prompting retaliatory strikes by Hamas on Israeli targets in Jerusalem and the capital city of Tel Aviv. 





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