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Videos of Iron Dome interceptions in the sky. Photos of fields set alight by incendiary kites and balloons. The sounds of red alert sirens waking families from their sleep.
A group of eight teenage girls from the Gaza border communities want to share their experiences living under fire. Within less than two weeks, their Instagram account about life under fire has gained more than 50,000 followers.
“We, children of the Gaza border communities, live a kilometer away from the separation fence,” they wrote in their first post earlier this month. “Because of the situation we are going through, we decided to open an Instagram account that will reveal the daily war that we feel in our region. We don’t know if you are involved in the situation but you should know that every day we have incendiary kites, exploding balloons, fires, shelling, tear gas we breath in and choke on – and this is just the beginning.”
For the past two weeks, the teens – ages 16-18 – have been sharing images and video of their daily experiences.
“Some of the photos we took, others are sent to us,” a representative of the account, Otef.Gaza, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
One image shows a little girl clutching a stuffed animal in a burned out field.
“Soon the winter will come, and will wash everything away,” the caption reads. “But it won’t succeed in taking away the panic, the pain and the memories.”
Over the weekend, the teens shared a video of sirens and the sounds of rockets being fired and intercepted. They captioned the video, “More than 12 hours of rockets firing toward the South.”
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Last week they shared a photo of a firefighter battling flames, and a message of thanks. “Amid all the terror, the fires, the balloons, the kites and the tear gas there are those who are working to protect us,” they wrote. “We wanted to say to you: thanks! You’re doing hard work, and it’s not taken for granted.”
Since the teens have launched the account, they’ve been building support – including celebrity endorsements from actor Aviv Alush and actress Maya Wertheimer. Within three days, the account had 20,000 followers, and after 12 days it passed the 50,000 mark.
“We’ve received a lot of messages of support, and also heard from people who don’t know what is happening over here,” said one of the teens on Tuesday. “There are also those who claim that we are exaggerating [the situation in order] to gain pity. If trying to protect our homes and to show what is going on here is exaggerating, then I guess we are.”
Several of the account’s posts criticize the government’s inaction, but the girls say they prefer not to talk about politics.
“Our goal is to raise awareness, and bring about change,” they said.
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