Twenty New Zealanders in Haifa

Murray Smith - BWNS photo

...20 New Zealanders based in the Israeli city of Haifa face the daily wail of sirens as Hizbollah rockets rain down around them.

Former Labour MP Murray Smith, now deputy secretary-general of the Baha'i faith's world centre, told The Dominion Post that locals faced a daily scramble for safety.

"We could hear the bangs," he said during an interview disrupted by more sirens yesterday.

"We've had showers that have come quite close."

Mr Smith, 65, and his wife, Miette, have been in Israel since 1994. He was a Labour MP from 1972 till 1975 and became a Baha'i in 1989.

He said sirens had been going off at least five times a day.

About 700 people from 80 countries worked as volunteers at the centre, including about 20 Kiwis, Mr Smith said.

Many had stayed on and continued their work and he and his wife had no plans to leave Israel.

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