English-speakers under rocket fire in Israel's battered southern region depicted their ordeal in riveting detail in a continuous string of Tweets and Facebook posts that brought the deadly conflict with Gaza onto smart phones and computer screens in real time.
"Sirens and rockets pretty much every 15 minutes now," reported Deerfield, Michigan, native Yoav Kaufman on his Facebook page Thursday morning, describing the situation in the southern city of Be'er Sheva. An hour earlier he wrote, "10-15 more rocket sirens and explosions last night and this morning."
"Yeheye beseder," he wrote, invoking the Hebrew for "it will be ok."
Edward Beaman, who has been visiting Israel from Kent, in the United Kingdom, since last January, emerged this week as one ubiquitous Tweeter in the city of Ashdod. He has issued a volley of more than 150 descriptive Tweets under the account name "English Poet" from the moment the crisis erupted earlier this week.
"Siren after siren, explosion after explosion. We're in and out of the shelter every five minutes at the moment," Beaman Tweeted Thursday morning. An hour earlier he texted, "Our neighbour's dog is shaking with fear. We are in neighbour's shelter with them."
Speaking to Anglo File, Beaman said his work as an Internet-based entrepreneur keeps him at home throughout the day. "This means I have quick and easy access to breaking news as well," said Beaman, 32, who lives with his Israeli fiancee. "When the sirens sound and I am outside or in the neighbor's shelter, I use my iPhone to keep my followers updated."
Beaman's Twitter account lists 457 followers.
Beaman said this week's hostilities are not his first encounter with rockets fired from Gaza.
"I have experienced dozens of rocket attacks on our city. Many times I've had to run to my neighbor's shelter, across their front garden, when sirens sound," he said. "At night the experience is rather frightening when shaken from sleep. The explosions in the distance, whether from the Iron Dome [defense system] or from rockets hitting the ground, are unnerving, to say the least. Sometimes I have witnessed children crying and their mothers weeping out of fear when the explosions occur."