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 blog of my life in Israel with jets buzzing by and missiles incoming.
7:30 AM Monday – One of my younger children hems and haws, delaying long enough to miss her bus to school. They had 3 missile drills yesterday and she’s nervous. Even more so because her school building is older and was divided into 2 schools. The bomb shelter is on the other side, her school has no direct access. So they run downstairs and stand in a hallway with doors and windows at the end. She doesn’t feel safe…smart. But things seem to be pretty much limited to the south, I’ll drive her to school myself. (What’s worse, war or the children home from school? We’re still answer the latter.)
I drive her to school, which includes a trip through a corner of the West Bank. Traffic is light and there’s no army presence in sight, there’s been no reports of troubles.
11:00 AM Monday – I’m working in an office in Jerusalem. Various co-workers are following the news, occasional announcements of missile barrages are mentioned.
One co-worker from the Tel Aviv area mentioned his wife is suffering panic attacks, particularly when their children are in school and there is an alert. Yeah, I can relate.
1:00 PM Monday – I feel like I’m in a comedian's skit. Some co-workers are telling me “what are you worried about? This isn’t a war, it’s a pitzy little thing we have to go through to get things under control.” I say, what about for the people in the south, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva? He says, “not even for them, it’s just annoying as long as everyone reacts properly.” Another co-worker tells me, “the Gulf War, that was scary. Those missile hits took out whole buildings.”
I walk away shaking my head. How do people get like this? How can they go through a regular workday like this?
2:00 PM Monday – I’m trying to contact my boss about an issue but can’t get through. I contact the secretary, the boss is not available – he’s been called up to emergency Army Reserve duty. I’m also have a problem with my office email, can’t get the support tech – he’s on emergency Army Reserve duty also.
3:00 PM Monday – This is getting ridiculous, I can’t get any work done. WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP TRYING TO KILL ME SO I CAN GET MY WORK DONE!
I shut down my news monitors and radio alerts so I can pay attention to my work.
5:45 PM Monday – We have a Maariv minyan (evening prayers) minyan (prayer quorum) in our office. Following regular prayers someone adds a series of Psalms, said in a soul searching style.
8:00 PM Monday – No surprise all the children are hyped on war. Everyone has some information to share, rumors to share, etc. We try to calm the family down and get everyone headed to bed, it takes HOURS longer than usual.
12:00 AM Tuesday - I decide I’m absolutely overloaded on this thing already. I’m done life blogging it, monitoring the radio, talking about it. (So why are you reading this? Find out below.) I close the shades and metal windows covers (an Israeli thing), I’m shutting out the world and collapsing.
10:00 AM Tuesday – I crawl out of my room and daven Shacharis (morning prayers), having missed synagogue.
My daughter’s home, she again dawdled until she avoided going to school in Jerusalem. Her brother is still home from Kiryat Malachi, and the next brother ALSO “missed” his bus to school in Jerusalem. This is becoming a pattern. I throw up my hands and head to work in Jerusalem. Hopefully “was afraid of getting killed by missiles from Gaza” works as an excuse note.
11:30 AM Tuesday – The traffic to Jerusalem is very light, some people must be staying home. I don’t listen to Israeli radio, no more ALERT’s for me. I’m going to my quiet office in Jerusalem to focus on my work. My biggest problem is my parking lot tag has expired. I think I can handle it.
We’re in an office building, we can’t HEAR the siren and apparently the guard and building is NOT tied into any external alert system (great to find out NOW). Someone was outside smoking and ran in to tell the guard there’s an alert, and it’s already been a minute. IF A MISSILE IS HEADED TOWARDS US, WE’VE GOT 50 SECONDS TO GET 120 PEOPLE INTO OUR PROTECTED ROOM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOR BEFORE WE’RE DEAD.
People walk, a few run. The guard looks like she’s losing it. Most gather in the room IN FRONT OF the protected room and mill. A co-worker of mine runs by….out the front door TO TAKE PICTURES (idiot, and I yet that at him as I see where he’s headed). We hear the siren as he pushes the main door open.
I push my way through the crowd and get in the protected room. We’re on the top floor, I push a few of my co-workers to get in also.
The office on the other side of the floor (another company) has arrived also. There’s room in the shelter for about 150 people, if we stand body to body like in a bus or train during a busy commute. About 50 people get into the shelter (including me), the rest mill about in the unprotected room in front of the shelter.
We’re all on our smart phones, some are trying to call family, others are messaging, I’m among a few who are trying to find out what the situation is.
I tweet about the alert, 30 seconds later a co-worker from the other side of the building arrives. “Thanks Akiva”. For what I ask. “That you tweeted, we didn’t hear about the alert, I only knew from your tweet.” Apparently the guard didn’t go down that hallway (as if there’s time to go down all the hallways – there isn’t).
I read that a missile hit, we can leave the shelter. It struck not too far from my younger daughter’s school, the one who dawdled this morning and I didn’t take to school. Nobody was hurt but I’m sure she would be a basket case, if she had been there.
Another daughter of mine is at her school in Jerusalem, we text back and forth to make sure we’re both ok. We already know that the impact wasn’t in our areas, but we’re looking for that connection and reassurance.
4:00 PM Tuesday – I have a chat with the office manager and guard. The manager is putting up signs pointing to the shelter. We did have a practice 3 months ago (and an earthquake practice a month ago), but still nobody was doing the right things. Further, there’s no alert system IN THE OFFICE.
We set the guard station PC up on an Israeli streaming radio station that has missile alerts. He’s got an iPhone and I mention that there’s a missile alert app for the iPhone, easy and simply way to monitor. He responds “I’m not installing that on my personal iPhone, not my job.” Oh my G-d.
I’ve been a manager and done fire drills and earthquake drills, but missile drills where you’ve got 2 minutes to live or die, terrifying.
But the truth is this really us just a TERROR weapon. Yes, these missiles can and have killed. But their real impact is they stop life and cause a whole city to run for it’s life.
How can anyone who supports civilization side with Hamas?