War, personally

I usually don’t share  personal observations and reactions.

So many of my friends have asked, however, that I feel I must describe  the latest developments here in Israel.

After years of  Hamas bombing  our southern towns, villages, and kibbutzim, to our collective relief,  we  responded mightedly by air.

This was not enough.

Since we left Gaza  in 2005, instead of building hospitals, factories, and other things to improve the life of their people,  Hamas has been building warren-like underground tunnels.  At first, these facilitated passage of  foods, medicines, goods.  In time, however, they were transformed into fortified war-tunnels– conduits for smuggling arms/missiles  in — and conduits  for clandestinely  entering Israel for attacks and kidnapping.

After a massive national draft,  and  hundreds of rockets reaching as far as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa (80% of the country– think from the East Coast to Colorado)– as well as  an agreement for  a cease fire WHICH THE HAMAS BROKE–our ground forces entered Gaza.  Because the area is so small– and so densely populated– we expect  many battle casualties.  But no country would agree  to live under rocket fire.

Our soldiers  are our children, our brothers, our uncles, our cousins. our husbands.  Gilad, a 39 year old father of 5  who serves in the Engineering Corps, is taking  apart bombs and  booby traps.  Gabi, a 19 year old  far from his home in  London,  is a battle medic  also under fire…. just two examples of thousands  Religious or not, they were sent with a prayer: you are fighting for your home, your family, your fight is holy. God bless, amen selah.

And on the home front?   We  endure bombs, one-after-another  (depending on where we live) many times a day.  It  becomes routine.  You  cook,   you shop, you drive, you linger in a mall or  in an outdoor café– but your ears are tuned …. just in case.    There’s no mistaking a siren.  It cuts your soul,  throbs like a heartbeat, danger! danger!

What do you do? You panic. You turn off the gas, you grab your keys,  you pull your car over to the side of the road, you  run to a shelter. If you have one.  If you have enough timeOr you lay down, cover your head, and pray.

You have

15 seconds if you live along the Gazan border

30 seconds if you live a bit   farther, then 45, 60, 90, and  3 minutes….. not enough time to think, barely enough time to react.

And us?

We share a shelter with 2 other families.  We rarely go there, instead preferring to lie on the floor at home, hands over our heads.

N, in Jerusalem, has no shelter.  She sits in the bathroom, one without tiled walls or mirrors– which would injure  her  from explosion or implosion.

E, who  works in Tel Aviv where rockets often fall,  has access to a  bomb-proof area. But he gets to work by electric bike, 20 minutes each way.  Outside.    When need be, he ducks into  the nearest building,  crouches by the nearest concrete wall.

He, his pregnant wife,  and their  1 year old, live in Ramat Gan, just outside Tel Aviv.  They either sleep at his in-laws, who have a bomb shelter at home ( required in all recently built houses)–  or  they  go outside, downstairs, and cower under a stairwell.  While holding the baby—-awake or asleep.

The baby spends 9 hours a day at day care, where there is no shelter at all.  The kids just lie down.




But  how can you make a baby–just beginning to walk–stay still?

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