Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The View From Here

A bit less than a week ago, I was heading home from work on the bus, just like any other day, and I texted my brother, who was finishing up the annual Alyn Children's Hospital Wheels of Love charity bike ride (BTW, you can still donate on behalf of Yoni Hammer-Kossoy here: https://www.alynride.org/ ).  Y, who was in Be'er Sheva that night, texted me back with the news that Israel had assasinated the head of Hamas military operations and that a response was expected.  I think you all know by now what happened after that.  Y. did not get that much sleep that night. And since then, neither have millions of people living in Israel and Gaza. 

We are in a war.  It did not begin last Wednesday night - just ask the folks in South-Central Israel who have been in and out of their bomb shelters for the past several years - but it unquestionably escalated then because Israel started to fire back.  I question the entire concept of targeted assassination.  And whether or not last week's assassination will make anyone safer in the long run is anyone's guess.  But I do know that no other country would tolerate a single rocket being fired indiscriminately on its civilian populations, much less hundreds of such rockets, before taking action in defense.  The news is now filled with bifurcations - negotiators meeting to arrange a cease fire, while rockets continue to be shot, and the IAF continues its airstrikes.  I just hope that a cease fire is agreed to before any ground operation, and that it is lasting.

So there is the big picture, from my point of view.  Here is the small one. 

We are fine.  Nervous, but fine.  By the grace of geography, Modiin has not been targeted, and we have not heard any air raid sirens.  Every recently-built apartment in Israel has a "secure room" which is reinforced, has a metal door, and a metal window.  Just because of the apartment lay out, the boys' bedroom is our secure room.  So even if there was a siren in the middle of the night, they could stay in bed.  We hear loud thumps from far away (and not so far away - the distances really are not that large here), and we hear more planes overhead.  But that is all so far, and I hope it will stay that way. 

Jerusalem has been attacked twice.  The latest this afternoon.  I had never heard an air raid siren go off before in an emergency situation or walked briskly to a bomb shelter (we have 60-90 seconds).  Cross that off of my to-do list.  No need to repeat thank you very much. 

Other than that, we are trying to go about our days as normally as possible.  We go to school, Hebrew classes, and work, and there are times when the war fades into the background.  But it is there, and life is not normal, and there is the constant knowledge that we are under attack, and that if I am walking down the street and a siren goes off that I will need to act quickly to get to safety.

This week in the U.S. it will be Thanksgiving, which was always my favorite U.S. holiday.  We are heading for Jerusalem on Friday to my brother's place for Thanksgiving +1.   And with all respect to Arlo, I am confident that it will be a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat.

To everyone reading this, I hope you all have the loveliest of Thanksgivings.  And let's all pray for peace and quiet. 

1 comment:

  1. Mike,
    Thank you for sharing these honest insights. We hope that you never have to experience that feeling of having to find the nearest bomb shelter as well and that the boys can sleep peacefully though the night in the 'safe room'. We miss you all and think of you often. Enjoy your thanksgiving, send love to everyone, and yes, let's all pray for peace and quiet.

    Thanks for sharing.