For the past three months, residents of Ashalim, in the Ramat Negev Regional Council, have been waking up to artillery fire. The children wake up, the walls rattle and shake, and the car alarms go off. The community is nowhere near a war zone - but it's about a kilometer from a new Artillery Corps firing range at Shivta base.
"They moved their batteries a lot closer to the community about three months ago," said local council chairman Yehiel Ivgi. "They train all the time, and it makes a lot of noise. It's disturbing everyone, day and night. They don't only set off the car alarms, sometimes they even set off the air raid siren."
"If it were just ordinary noise I wouldn't complain, but two days ago my house started shaking, and the pictures in the living room came crashing down," said Dana, a resident of Ashalim. "My daughter was too scared to go to sleep. I know the army needs to train, but it's been going on for quite some time." Dana approached the military authorities, who told her they were aware of the issue.
Meanwhile, the firing continues.
The residents' complaints prompted the regional council to send a letter to the Israel Defense Forces, asking the authorities to enable Ashalim to have a quiet night of sleep.
The IDF Spokesman's office told Haaretz that the army was aware of the problem and was trying to reduce the effect on nearby residents, "including changing ammunition types and moving the firing ranges to other areas."
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