I hadn’t planned on blogging again till tomorrow, at which time, I had hoped to be able to write about the quiet Sabbath we had enjoyed in Jerusalem.
By early evening, however, it was clear that much of the rest of the country – including Tel Aviv, but especially the south – had been under a more or less continuous barrage of rockets all day. Indeed, the attacks are continuing, even as I type these words.
It’s been very hot all day. Even now, after sundown, it’s still 30 degrees C. At about two minutes to seven, just as I was on my way to the kitchen to prepare myself a much-needed iced coffee, the dreadful wailing of the sirens began again. I’ve heard that in some places, the citizens are complaining that the sirens don’t work properly, and they have difficulty hearing them. But in my neighbourhood, they can be heard loud and clear.
Everyone knows what to do. Although I worry terribly about my three cats, there was no time to search for them. I snatched up my mobile phone and went quickly down to the shelter, locking the door of my apartment behind me and wondering how come there were so many more people on the stairwell this time (on the previous two occasions, only half a dozen or so neighbours joined me in the shelter). I guess more people were home, this being a late Shabbat afternoon. In fact, I started to worry about the “traffic jam” on the staircase, counting to myself all the time, ever mindful of the fact that, in Jerusalem, we have just one and half minutes from the time of the first warning, to reach the bomb shelter or secure room. But in Jerusalem, we’re relatively lucky in that respect. In Sderot, which has been targeted for years by Hamas rockets, they have only 15 SECONDS. And in the kibbutzim and moshavim of the area known as “Otef Aza” (the “Gaza Envelope”, the area right on the Gaza Strip border), they have no time at all.
After about 6 minutes, someone said it was safe to emerge, because the missiles had already fallen. According to him, they had fallen in Hebron (which is in the so-called “Palestinian Territories”). I don’t know how he could have known that so soon, but it seems he was right. One fell in Hebron and damaged a house and one fell in Bethlehem. I am tempted to say something I probably should not say. Very well. I will hold my tongue.
Ever cautious, I waited a couple of minutes more before returning to my apartment. And turned on the computer.
And began to blog.
Even as I write, I am hearing about further attacks, in real time. Just two minutes ago, there was another Code Red alert (not the first today) in Ashkelon, where my aunt lives.
And so it continues. Several times every hour. More and more rockets.
No Catherine Wheels 😉
However, as Israel’s response to the rocket attacks intensifies, I think we can expect an attack of the Catherine Ashtons…