Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.
Tonight I was under attack. More about that in a minute.
If one opens up the TV news in Israel right now, it is plastered with news-type tickers running across the screen announcing that 100 rockets and missiles have been launched against Israel's southern cities, and that there will be no school tomorrow in Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, and Ashdod. They then show scenes where rockets and missiles have slammed into Israel. Some shots show blood splattered from victims that are now in the hospital.
The headlines all say 'Escalation in South'.
But this is wrong. This is the method of 'divide and conquer' or 'divide and weaken/dull the senses. Because some Israelis, even only an hour's drive away, are not seeing or feeling these attacks. I certainly wasn't until this weekend (as they don't feel the threat of rock and shooting attacks on the roads in YESHA).
We are all going on, life as usual, with only news reports about what others are experiencing, but the rest of us are not feeling that we are ALL under threat. Divide and weaken. "Attacks on YESHA roads" "Missiles on the South" Missiles on the North", etc... And so instead of saying that ISRAEL is under attack, and that a war has been waged against it, the media says that what is happening right now is an 'Escalation in the South', the southern region of Israel.
Now, back to my weekend....
We went away to Ashkelon for Shabbat (the weekend -Fri-Sat). Everything was fine & beautiful, we had a nice Shabbat dinner and we went to sleep early, around 10pm. A little while later, not sure what time it was, I wake to the sound of a shrill siren. See here what is something like I experienced:
I am thinking maybe the shrill sound in the night is just traffic outside below the window, but then I hear furniture moving around in the apt. above us -or next to us- and people scrambling.... and I realize.... we are under a rocket attack from Gaza! I shake my husband awake and tell him there's a siren and then I hop out of bed and run to the living room to wake one of my kids (a teenager) who I knew went to sleep on the couch.
But he sleeps like a rock.
I am shaking him and shaking him to get up and run to the 'protected' bomb-shelter/sealed room where my other son is sleeping. He's taller than me now, so I can't pick him up while he's asleep and take him myself. I finally succeed in waking him from the dead and grab him by the arm and propel him into the safe-room and onto an extra bed I pull out from below where my other son is asleep. I cover him, and leave them there safely. He doesn't realize what is happening, and he goes right back to sleep.
After a couple of minutes, my husband is looking out the window saying that he didn't hear any siren, but the window he is looking through faces the Mediterranean sea, so no action there. We wait a minute longer, and when we see nothing has happened, we go back to sleep. In the morning, we wake to loud booms, ahhh, so IF there was an attack last night, then most likely these BOOMS we are hearing and feeling shaking and rattling the windows, are our retaliation on Gaza.
But the rest of the day was peaceful, and I start to think that maybe I imagined a siren going off, and that maybe it was just noise from the street.
It's Shabbat, so we don't hear the radio or TV. All goes as normal. As Shabbat ended, my other son who is now in the IDF Paratroopers here called me to see if we were 'ok'. I said, yes, and asked why? He said, "Didn't you hear the news? They've shot about 100 rockets and Grad missiles at Israel over Friday and Shabbat. And Israel killed about 14 or 15 terrorists." he says.
Ahhh, I think. So maybe some of those explosions we heard in the morning was from that? Ashkelon is just north of Gaza (look on map in blue sea for Ashkelon).
We turned on the TV to see the news and they were reporting from Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon and Ashdod simultaneously. On the screen, with reporters in each city, they go from one to the other. They announce, "No school tomorrow for these cities under attack.
My two sons who are watching the news with me, being kids, were wishing they'd get to be off from school too, but apparently it is more dangerous here in Ashkeolon than it is in the 'Wild West Bank' as some people like to sarcastically refer to it. -A real Purim twist, eh? (more story below)
Gaza Missile Map Oref.org.il
In any case, it was Saturday night now and we had to pack up and leave Ashkelon to get back home for school the next day for my kids. It's dark outside, and on the way out of the parking garage, I am sure I hear another siren. But no one else in the car hears it, so again, I think I am possibly imagining it, or maybe it was far away coming from the city of Ashdod, but I doubted I could hear a red alert signal from Ashdod all the way to Ashkelon. In the meantime, we leave the parking garage and started on the way home. After about 3-4 minutes, we drive just past Ashkelon's central bus station, and are approaching an intersection where the light is about to turn red. All of a sudden we hear a very loud and clear siren. No mistaking it this time. Cars stop. Some drivers and passengers get out of their cars in the middle of the street and leave them there and run for cover. Most though stayed in their vehicles. Some opened their doors and stood or crouched near their cars. We stayed in the car and looked out the windows, and THERE!!!! Up in the sky, headed DIRECTLY our way is a rocket/missile -whatever, glowing yellow and fire-like in the sky. Flying, flying getting closer and closer to us. I open my car door and stand outside watching, thinking if it will hit our car or not, but I see it is a little to the right of our vehicle and if it slams into us, it will be maybe a hundred meters or so away, safe enough I believe not to have to run for cover (...but what do I know?) and then to my amazement, the flying bomb explodes in mid-air and dissipates into blackness. (The 'Iron Dome'?) However, as this is all happening, my husband says he sees another one coming, but this one from the north, and then I look up and see another fiery orb flying in the sky above and since it is coming from the north, I realize it won't hit us, so stand and watch, as that too ultimately explodes in mid air.
That was what happened, it was over, the light turned green, we all got back into our cars and drove away.
The thing that disturbs me here is that the news calls this an 'escalation in the south'.
My friends, schools are closed, a million and a half Israeli citizens will be in bunkers/safe rooms, whatever, having to take cover from these fiery orbs flying over their heads looking to murder as many as possible. Yet life in other parts of the country, - even the 'Wild West Bank' (Judea and Samaria) ;-) -will go on as usual. We need to remember that this is not an 'escalation on the south' as the media labels it. Rather, this is a war front opened up on... the State of Israel!
All of us need to be incensed that WE are under attack. Our media divides the country by saying it is an escalation on the 'southern' region' - as if it is a problem someone else is having, and we can all go about our business while the government makes some retaliations and tries to keep 'damage control'.
Instead, we must acknowledge, and state clearly to our People, that a ruthless enemy has opened up a war against us that targets our civilians and cities. They want to kill any and all of us that they can. They have no problem strapping bombs on their own children if it means killing and maiming Jews. A ruthless enemy like the Hamas and those populations that support them, should be dealt with ruthlessly -by the Israeli government, until they beg us for peace, and not the other way around. This is not a tit for tat situation. This is not a problem in 'the south'. This is war! And it won't end until somebody wins it. Let it be us!