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Sirens and Red-Alerts in Tel Aviv - July 18-21

07/21/2014 02:55:15 PM


Since arriving in Tel Aviv we have experienced a handful of alerts. It is a surreal experience. One evening I was having a beautiful dinner at the Namal/Port overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, when our meal was interrupted by a siren. We got up quickly and went into the safe room connected to the kitchen. After only a few minutes the sirens stopped. A couple of minutes later we were all back at our tables, the sea on one side, with pleasant food and company. We checked our phones for information only to see the news of then just announced ground invasion into Gaza. 

Each subsequent alert, some longer, some with the clear sounds of the explosions associated with the Iron Dome defense system followed a similar pattern. You are aware that the country is at war, but in so many ways life goes on as usual. One is aware that here, despite the sirens, we are really quite safe but that farther South, where the sirens do not provide sufficient warning, preschools just spend the day in safe rooms. That even farther South in Gaza, Israel's efforts to stop the missile attacks in Gaza often have severe collateral damage and that now, also in Gaza Israeli soldiers are risking their lives as part of this mission to destroy Hamas' ability to continue firing these rockets that almost never land.

Amongst our group of rabbis, one of my colleagues has a son now serving in the IDF and likely in Gaza. As we go about our program we all think of this young man, who I know from his summers at Camp JRF. We were also told by the owner of a Druze restaurant we stopped at in the Galilee that he had two sons serving in Gaza. 

So the real danger for these soldiers is often on my mind. I pray that their service is in fact leading towards greater safety. Last night, while watching the Israeli news I saw snippets of the funerals of other IDF soldiers. The images, with words from family and children were incredibly emotional. Each day it gets a little harder to bifurcate, between the tour and experience that is right in front of us and the broader knowledge of the current situation.

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784