The moment Shabbat ended, I opened my computer and began seeing how many attacks. A baby injured, a young child. In the hours that followed, a direct hit – 1 confirmed dead, reports of a second, three others critically injured. In the last few hours, dozens more rockets have been fired.
I know what this means for a million Israelis in Israel’s south. They are, once again, having to think before they move. They have 15 seconds in Shderot; less than a minute in Beersheva. It means a night spent in bomb shelters, or it means frantic parents grabbing their children if the alarm sounds in the middle of the night.
I know what this means for Israel’s military – it means a night of planning, of considering, of guarding, of watching.
And what does this mean for me? It’s a child’s question. A way of focusing on yourself in the midst of all kinds of madness. I’m trying not to do that. I’m trying to focus on the horrible attacks happening to my country. I’m listening to the news and writing it on Twitter because few around the world have access to what is happening here.
On Thursday, four attacks in which 8 people were killed, more than 30 wounded. Friday and today – dozens of rocket attacks; 2 children hurt in Ofakim; a man killed and 10 others wounded in a direct hit on a house in Beersheva. Tonight, after listening to the news, Elie came downstairs and I updated him. I could see his anger and his reaction. He summed it up in one word that struck straight to my heart, “Milium” – reserve duty.
Will they actually call Elie’s unit? I doubt it. I really do. I really want to not believe it. But there is a possibility and more, that they might. All day, we’ve been hit by rockets, another a short time ago. Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheva and points all around. And with each one, all the soldiers who fought in the Gaza War confirm what they knew in the last hours of the war. It was stopping too soon; they would yet be called back again. if not them, than others. Israel did not finish the job and so will have to go in again.
Last time, Gabi Ashkenazi was the Chief of Staff and I trusted him with my son’s life – literally. A few years later, there is a new one and yet, he guides an army that knows what it must do, how it must be done.
Elie was in the standing army during the Gaza War, naive enough, I think, to believe his goal in the Gaza War was to stop the rockets. That goal was accomplished, but what the generals didn’t tell those soldiers is that the rockets are like a cancer that never goes away. Each operation pushes the sickness back from our borders for a limited time and when the operation ends, the cancer begins to regroup, stengthen, and begin again. So, in the next few days, it will be decided. If tomorrow and the next day bring the same number of rocket attacks on our citizens, war may be the only answer.
All of Israel knows today, that it is a matter of time before the next military operation will be required. I have said this before and I will say it again – no country in the world would accept this. None.
Moments ago, Elie went running out with his medic vest. He didn’t tell me that he was on call tonight so either he was…or something happened big enough to have them calling him. Either way, between the news on the radio, Elie’s single word response, and now his running out, I feel again the fall of the roller coaster, the terrible drop in the stomach that comes when things are out of my control.