Is Israel on the Edge of War Again?

Paula R. Stern,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Paula R. Stern
Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier"s Mother. The blog continues as Elie moved on to Reserve Duty, her second son, Shmuel served in Kfir and continues as her youngest son David now serves in Givati. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish. Links to the Author's blogs: * A Soldier"s MotherPaulaSays Israel Blogger...

Both Israel and Islamic Jihad have raised their alert readiness to the highest level. Israel has deployed its Iron Dome missile defense system and is moving temporary bomb shelters into civilian areas. This is clearly not a drill. We are waiting for an attack that is meant to be "in retaliation" for our bombing a tunnel that Islamic Jihad / Hamas were building. The tunnel had crossed into Israel and would have been used to launch terror attacks against Israeli soldiers and/or civilians. We bombed the tunnel within OUR territory to smithereens. Apparently, that annoyed the terrorists.

Perhaps, even more than our bombing the tunnel was the fact that a bunch of high-ranking Hamas members ran into the tunnel with the misguided notion that they could a) save the terrorists who were inside digging the tunnel and b) not get themselves killed by explosions triggered by things they left in the tunnel. They were wrong on both accounts and that just annoyed the Gazans even more.

In the more than two decades that I've lived here in Israel, the threat of war has suddenly appeared before us more times than I can count. Most times, the situation simply shifts back to normal as quickly as it ignited. Sometimes, the result is war. Twice, one of my sons has been called to battle. Twice, my city has come under attack. Almost a dozen times in various cities, I have found myself running to a bomb shelter and several times, I have heard booms in the distance or learned that not far from where I was, a house was destroyed in a direct hit.

If you've never experienced war, it's hard to describe. The first time, I heard it through my phone and was shocked at the noise. My son had called to tell me he was fine; I closed the phone and broke down in tears. For weeks, I barely slept knowing that the south was being pelted with rockets and my son was right there. The year before, it has been the north, and the devastation there was horrific.

The degree of terror you feel is partially a reflection of how involved you are directly, but less than many would imagine. Simply knowing that someone in your country is not safe...is enough to pull you into the worries, the fears and the agonies of war. Yes, there are levels of involvement. Is it your country but not your area? Is it you or a member of your family involved in the fighting? Does your home or work place sit within missile range? Where do your parents live?

In the last war, I found myself driving and listening to the radio. When they said the city where my parents lived, I would call them and tell them to go in the bomb shelter. They didn't always hear the sirens at first and so I instructed them on how to connect their computer to a site that would generate a siren in their home, but still I called them. When I woke them to the news that they had to hurry to shelter, I was only calm once I knew they were inside.

Once, I remember realizing that while I was talking them into the bomb shelter, I was driving in an area that had frequently come under attack and so I needed to get off the phone to listen for my location. Another time, I remember I was driving and listening and only after several missile attacks did I realize that I wasn't familiar with the area and so even if there was a missile directed to the area where I was, I wouldn't know unless there happened to be a road sign to alert me. When I passed one car, parked at an angle on the side of the road with two doors open, I realized the danger I was in, and turned back.

In the last war, a cluster of rocket attacks

So, Israel is ready. Islamic Jihad and Hamas are ready. Will there be a war? At this point, I would say the only One who knows for sure is He Who Knows All. God knows. A pin could explode the situation. All it could take is one bullet, one rocket. It's very tense and scary and Israel moving the Iron Domes around sends a strong message to Gaza and a calming message to Israelis.

"Don't even think it" is the message for Gaza. You've lost all the previous wars...the nearest you've ever come is a draw and even that saw hundreds dead and wounded on your side (mostly combatants or civilians who aligned themselves with the combatants) and the destruction of hundreds of buildings near and from which rockets were fired at our civilians.

"We've got this. Everything is fine. Be normal. Do normal things. We've got your back...hey, we've got your front. Answer Gaza with life, as you always do. Live" is the message for Israelis. We've won all the previous wars...the nearest we've ever come to losing is a draw and even that saw relatively few casualties and damage to buildings that were quickly repaired.

Live, Israel - it is and always has been, the only answer. No matter how close we step to the edge, the army and God above us remain our guardians. For now, we wait on the edge hoping that this time we will be able to back away rather than descend into yet another war.