In the meantime, I thought you might all want a first-hand account of what has happened here this morning. As you probably know, early this morning Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad member responsible for many terrorist activities and reportedly planning some imminent ones. In response, as of an hour ago (around 9:30 a.m.) Israel has been hit with about 50 rockets targeting civilian areas.
Tzeva adoms (Red alerts--piercing sirens) have gone off everywhere from Gaza up to Tel Aviv. All schools and workplaces from Gaza to Tel Aviv were shut down this morning. (A few minutes ago authorities said that workplaces could open if there was a shelter close by and people knew how to get to it.)
We have been in close contact with our daughter. She lives in the center of Tel Aviv in an old building with no shelter. Her wake-up call this morning was a Tzeva Adom going off around 8:00 a.m. I helped her determine where the closest shelter was located and whether she would have the time to get to it when more alarms went off. She has also been in touch with the food tour operator she works with. They are discussing how to handle the situation. (Some of the tour groups and people signed up for tours want to continue with the tours!)
About 10 minutes ago a Tzeva Adom went off in Modi’in, a suburban community mid-way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, about 25 minutes from where we are in Jerusalem. This led Dana (my wife) and I to discuss the real possibility of rockets targeted at Jerusalem, which last happened during the 2014 war. We live on the top (third) floor of a 1950’s building in Jerusalem. Saying it is a not a model of solid construction is an understatement. No shelter. No safe room. We know where the neighborhood shelter is but we think we would not be able to get there in time.
The general instructions in this kind of situation are to go into the stairwell because it is the most distance from outside walls and windows. However, as I pointed out to Dana in 2014 my feeling, based on being a contractor’s son, is that the staircase would collapse if you breathed hard on it. So I think the most reasonable approach is to have a drink and pray.
One of the broadcasters interviewed a resident of the South. To paraphrase him: "We get this all the time. We've had over a 1,000 rockets targeting us. You are now paying attention because it is hitting the Tel Aviv area."
At the same time my wife e-mailed a friend in one of the communities in the South, asking how she and her family and community were doing. Her response: "We are o.k. It seems we are not alone this time."
I hope the entire spectrum of the American Jewish community will express its strong solidarity with Israelis at this time.
(Originally published in The Times of Israel)