by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
Life Blogging – Blogging about my family life events during Gaza Conflict XXXIV in Israel. This is not a live blog of war events (though some are mixed in), it’s a live blog of my life in Israel with jets down the road and missiles overhead.
6:00 AM – It’s a new work week (the normal work week runs Sunday – Thursday in Israel). I’m off to work and the children are off to school. We check the weather, “cool and sunny with a chance of missiles”.
Since each family member is headed off a different direction, we have to check each member’s destination for risk and protection…
Elementary School Children – school is local and a new building (it has close reinforced protective rooms in case of missile alerts). The administration practices emergency drills every month. The maximum risk is that our children walk to school, a 10 minute walk. We explain what to do if a missile alert happens on the way and pray they understand, sending them on their way.
Middle School and High School Children – schools are in Jerusalem in older buildings, bomb shelters are in the basement. Administration of one school has emailed us saying they feel prepared, but my child learns on the 5th floor and the stairwells are on the outer wall. Getting to the bomb shelter in the 2 minutes available would be…a challenge. But the likelihood of strikes targeting their area seems low, off they go.
I’m headed to a day of business meetings in South Tel Aviv, an area that has been specifically targeted. I check my email to see if the meetings have been canceled, they haven’t. Israeli’s are incredibly stoic, they’ve “been through war before” and keep on going. I’m not, and not used to going to work where people are trying to kill me with ballistic missiles. But I’m in Israel now, and apparently people trying to kill me “because I’m a Jew” is part of the experience.
9:00 AM – We have an educational meeting for one of my children, the one who learns in Kiryat Malachi (which has been hard hit with missiles), locally. I’m not a fan of Israeli “system” officials, the fact that Israeli agencies get anything done is a clear sign of Divine Assistance, because there’s no way these organizations could actually function otherwise.
His school counselor from Kiryat Malachi comes to the meeting. He mentions the family killed in Kiryat Malachi was 100 meters from my son’s school. They closed school prior to this event, and it remains closed until the war ends. (If, G-d forbid, it goes on for an extended time, they may work on trying to co-locate with another school in the North of Israel, out of harms way.)
10:00 AM – I’m on my way to my business meetings in South Tel Aviv. I’m listening to Radio Kol Chai (the Voice of Life) [live link, click to listen], a Jewish religious radio station out of Bnei Brak, Israel in Hebrew. I don’t normally listen to Israeli radio, not even the Jewish religious radio stations. I don’t particularly like their music selections (it’s not to my American Jewish tastes), and the fast paced Hebrew talk, often with strong sephardi accents, is a little above my Hebrew skill level.
BUT this religious Jewish station is on the national alert system, meaning every time there is a launch alert there is an automated announcement. I’m listening to make sure I HEAR if there is a missile alert along my route or WHERE I AM. In the car I might miss it.
10:30 AM – There’s some announcements of alerts on the radio…
ALERT, ALERT, ALERT… I’m paying attention to my driving and don’t quite catch the alert locations as I drive through 2 highway circular exits/entrances (clover leafs). I’ve entered South Tel Aviv, now I have to work my way through the city streets to where I’m going. But the roads and traffic is tricky, keeping me focused on getting to my destination in time.
11:00 AM – I’ve arrived and struggled to find parking. I rush to the building and meeting. As I enter I ask the guard if they’re having frequent alerts. He says they just had one 20 minutes ago, multiple missiles fired at Tel Aviv. I must have just been outside the area when it happened (I didn’t see anyone pulling over), I’m a bit freaked out.
This day is absolutely surreal. I’m sitting and giving a business presentation in a glass conference room, while listening for anything that may sound like an alert siren and worrying what would happen to us in a glass conference room if a missile hit.
12:15 PM - After the presentation I have a meeting together with a co-worker with another person in the office. He says to my co-worker, “he looks a little jumpy”, my co-worker responds “it’s his first war.” How do Israelis get like this??? A moment later a building alarm goes off, we sit there wondering what it is (it’s not a missile siren sound) and I’m trying to look calm and be stoic when the office manager runs by, “it’s a missile alert, GET TO THE PROTECTED ROOM!!!”.
We’ve wasted 30 seconds, if the missile is headed towards us we’ve got 30 seconds to live.
I had looked for the protected room when I entered, it’s on the same floor and doubling as the lunch room. I’m there in a brisk 10 second walk. A few people are sitting eating lunch, “welcome guests” they say to break the tension.
A few moments later we hear “sorry folks, this was a test due to a problem with the system on a particular floor. No alert, you may return to your regular activities.” I feel strangely disappointed, then I wonder what’s wrong with me for feeling that way.
1:30 PM – We continue our meetings. We hear an occasional sound from outside the building that might be the start of the siren. I see my co-worker straining to listen. He may not be jumpy but he’s on edge as well, we all are.
I’m paying attention to events via my phone. Ashdod, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT. They’re really getting hit. Awaiting United Nations condemnation of the war crime of barraging a civilian city with missiles. Think it will be a long wait?
3:30 PM – We finish our meetings and head out to our cars. I have paperwork, including reimbursement for expenses, that needs to be dropped off at our main office. But this morning I received an intra-office e-memo…
“Dear Home Office Employees,
Protective Hardened Shelter Rooms have been opened on every floor in case of missile alert. If you are out of range of the rooms, the building stairwells are reinforced as additional protective spaces.
Please note the underground parking lot also qualifies as a protected space.
Please read the attached document from Home Front Command regarding response times to get to a protective space.
For your safety, take all alert sirens or building sirens with all seriousness.
I think I’ll save my paperwork and expense reports for later and head back towards Jerusalem. I prefer not to have to run for my life if I don’t have to.
4:30 PM – I’m traveling towards Jerusalem, or so I think. My GPS is taking me south on Highway 4. I see signs for Holon, they had missile debris fall on them and explode a car. Then I see signs for Rishon L’Tzion, they had a missile hit them yesterday. I’m getting worried my GPS is taking me into the war zone when I see the signs for Jerusalem. Whew.
I stop at a gas station along the way, still in medium missile range. But I’m taking a back road and it’s passing through farm country. It’s sunset, and the gas station has a lovely little picnic area with a baby date palm tree lit up by the sunset, with green farm fields in the background.
I think, “what a lovely calm place…that probably won’t explode.”
5:00 PM – I’m home early. One daughter is jumping and shouting, “did you hear … and about … Missiles here, people hurt there, the IDF got a bad guy there. She’s wired on war.
Another daughter comes to tell me the rumors via the SMS network. “They’re deploying this, they’re going there…” She’s calm but seriously worried. “This is absolutely crazy, the world has gone absolutely crazy.” Basically my daughter, yes.
A younger child comes over. “Daddy, I’m worried.” We all are, but we plan, prepare and pray. The rest is in G-d’s hands (good), our soldiers hands (they’ll fight hard and smart, they’re literally fighting for the safety of their families), and our politicians (OH G-D HELP US).
There are clear and obvious miracles to be seen, if you’re looking for them. It helps to know the Guardian of Israel neither Slumbers nor Sleeps. Here’s one example…
A few hours before missiles were shot at Jerusalem, a strong erratic desert wind started blowing into Israel. A very strong wind. It’s impossible to properly target a ballistic missile through changing strong winds over a long distance – the winds blow it off course.
Further, this war is beginning to align with a number of prophetic statements. More has to happen, but we may be almost there. More on that later.
Just another day in the Holy Land.