Thursday, July 31, 2014

the 6 o clock news - only for the surreal minded..

there i was at work fussing over last minute contracts for the financial quarter and the sirens kicked in.. as if by reflex i ported myself to the nearest security room (doubles as a common tea room) where i have already acquired a regular seat - just next to the microwave..

i placed the habitual call to my wife to see that everyone was fine and safe and my phone was already aflush with sms notifications of the danger from the national service that lets you know if youre at risk..

for the next 12 minutes i directed all overseas colleagues to call me back in 20 minutes and had the same security room chitchat as i always have with my co-refuge seekers..

when i got back to the office - as i was waiting to get on a call i took a look at that instantly listed all areas affected by the rocket attack - apparently there were several concurrent attacks all over the country.. and listing the damage including the fact that a house was directly hit and its resident wounded..

how insane is that.. all thats missing is some monetised services like 1shekel for your favourite war song.. or 2 shekels for an expedited warning  ~5 seconds earlier.. or perhaps a nice cold beer to pass the time in the security room delivery service..

anyway the good news is that even under so many attacks - with everyone heeding the warnings - so little injury is caused..

many people are talking about the overwhelming sense of solidarity in this country right now.. i have to be honest.. i really struggle to celebrate it.. it really doesnt feel like the issue to me.. that everyone supposedly is getting along just because we're detonating gaza.. yet it is incredible how coordinated and oiled we are.. after decades of dealing with armed conflict.. i would like to wish that one day we lose the need for this skill of ours..

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

the horrors of paradise..

when i was a young surfing adventurer i heeded the call of the deep aqua waters of the maldives to hunt the mythological waves that every israeli surfer dreamed about.. the legend of crystal clear liquid expanses with reefs and tropical fish offering you company as you caught one perfect wave after another - the dolphins who you could swim right up to - the balmy weather - the blissful isolation were enough to drive us crazy and venture over there crossing deserts and oceans (by planes of course)..

i completed this mandatory right of passage trip quite a few years ago and it was incredible..

which is not what a bunch of israeli surfers said after being attacked there this week by a boat ferried mob of anti israeli rioters who violently confronted them and even opened a few israeli surfer heads.. following which they were reportedly rushed to the airport by speedboats and immediately left  the country.. these are mostly young israeli guys and girls who evidently arent busy in gaza.. so clearly its not them doing whatever is happening..

i remember talking to locals when i was there about there views.. being a muslim country they tended to lean towards their coreligionist palestinians but some were quite happy living off israeli tourism and warmly welcomed us.. and some israelis had really blended in to the local scene - living near the best spots and enjoying the swell when the crowds thinned.. i cant imagine many will go there now..


i hope we never become like that.. i hope we never heckle them and harass them in countries all around the world.. like hate is a transferable license and can be cast against interchangeable targets..


Monday, July 28, 2014

night is supposed to enable rest..

relatives of ours from france have come to visit us in israel.. now.. during the war.. they have taken an apartment near us for themselves and their 3 kids and it doesnt have a security room.. the lessor told them that we dont get sirens at night.. he was mostly right.. but not entirely..

they are thinking of moving here.. along with the extended family.. to israel.. even though we are at war.. because as jews in france they have become afraid.. afraid to be known as jews.. with the recent attacks on synagogues and schools france has failed to ensure that its law abiding economy pumping jewish citizens feel that they are as deserving as others to exist without fear.. we heard that the recent rules limiting anti israel protests in paris due to the mania that accompanies them and the blood thirsty frenzy in which jews (not israelis) have been attacked have not been enforced.. or at least not enough.. and we heard how nasty it feels to have to go to synagogues with a police entourage facilitating your way in and out of the doors..

so they are thinking of imminently moving here..

i feel compelled to share this given the vast number of friends of mine who have urged me to leave for my family's personal security.. go see what jewish schools look like in sydney australia with their multi-tiered fences and security staff and cameras.. then go see what a school looks like in israel and tell me where your kid (if they were jewish) would feel less under threat..

in any event - as we gradually started getting used to the threat of rockets - i decided to go back to my pre-war habit of cycling to work.. its so beautiful.. i get to do the whole telaviv coastline and then the whole river and park area.. it is calming and fun and one of the reasons i stopped was because of the absence of places to take cover.. so anyway yesterday was my second day of cycling..

after i got home and the little ones were put to sleep my wife picked up some yummies from our local sushi bar and we sat down for a meal.. just the two of us.. watched some episode of an overseas show and retired to bed early.. windows open to enjoy the breeze/hear the sirens clearly..

at a viciously deep hour of the morning the sirens kicked in and we scrambled into the kids' room trying feverishly to close the door and suffering from poor mid dream coordination just couldnt.. so we huddled.. my wife fought off tears.. she gets emotional.. and i could feel that the floor was unusually warm.. our eldest must have been sleeping on the floor again.. suddenly we felt her small arms wrapping our legs as she sobbed.. she was afraid.. we picked her up and hugged her.. but it didnt help.. she kept on crying for quite a while and even when she'd clam down we repeatedly heard her from our room and had to reattempt to relax her..

going back to kindergarden has been nice for her but it has also clarified her understanding of the sirens to a certain extent and taught her to fear them..

i lay in bed wondering how my mother and grandmother were both coping.. hoping they managed to safely run down the stairs as neither of them have security rooms.. i didnt want to call in case they were already back in bed and asleep..

all night i had war dreams.. sirens.. infiltrations.. snipers shooting at me.. i knew the dreams would appear.. at some stage..

we woke up to reports of another 10 soldiers dead.. again slip streaming into grief mode - scanning for familiar names to determine the extent of the grief.. i hate how my coping mechanism includes attempting to be mechanical about this whole thing..

what a crappy ending for ramadan.. in past years i would be invited by muslim friends to their ritual feast..

living beings shouldnt be treating other living beings this way..

i want to take this opportunity to share a poem by a palestinian.. of course i feel for her and the gazans.. she is very talented.. this conflict has numerous narratives.. all should be heard..

Saturday, July 26, 2014

and this is why we live for now..

the ceasefire appears to have held up and now both sides are considering extending it..

who knows..

no matter how things end up - hamas is already reaping the benefits of its war against us.. the arab street is looking at these inglorious cowards and the audacity of shooting at telaviv as some sort of victory..

soon it will all be over and the attempts by the Israeli army to uproot the daily threat to hundreds of thousands of Israelis will be inevitably condemned as disproportionate and whatever other buzz words the NGOs can come up with.. ultimately commissions and inquiries will be set up (including by us - because 70 years after the holocaust we're still apologising that hitler's work was never completed) and invariably the reports will determine that it wasn't just our fault but the world opinion will remain largely that we viciously and maliciously brutalised gaza for no good reason or alternatively as part of a broader scheme that we have to embezzle gazan offshore gas reserves..

over here we don't know what tomorrow is likely to hold and these days we sometimes don't even know what the next minute will be like.. so we make the most of what we have and we try to live the now..

my wife discovered over the course of the weekend that she has three first cousins who have been posted by the military in gaza due to this war - that she didn't know were there.. one of them is newly married and his wife is pregnant - she reacted badly and is now confined to bed rest as she was experiencing grossly immature contractions..

i decided today to take my daughter to the beach.. the closest one to our house.. she loves it so much.. the water the sand the people the dogs the icy pole man the vibe the air.. don't we all?

at some point a group of hipsters arrived with their balloons and sound system and fed our ears bob marley as they swayed with their beers and bright coloured clothes.. the guys' unshaven faces and the girls' defiantly maintained tans.. vast tattoos channelling fantasy worlds and the odd waft of joint.. my little girl was delighted and ran up to them and stood metres from them in fascination clearly deliberating whether or not it was ok for her dance to their tunes and edge her way into their affection.. her musings conveniently punctuated by the distraction of a small dog running by or another kid with a delightful spade.. she loved running around and splashing and dancing and screaming.. she devoured her siren-cleansing freedom..

i had agreed with my wife that if a siren went off while we were at the beach - after taking shelter - we'd go straight back home.. i wondered what arrangements if any the guys and girls celebrating had made with their loved ones.. and i admired their commitment to life..

naturally any Palestinian friends of mine will instantly think of the little boys who were mistaken for operatives and killed on the beach by the Israeli air force.. a tragedy to every stretch of the imagination.. they naturally will not think about the attempted infiltration to an Israeli beach that happened in tandem by hamas marine commandos that was thwarted and protected countless civilians from slaughter in cold blood..

despite what my Palestinian fiends might think  - we actually haven't been busy planning to attack you - we have been busy practising our defence whether reactive or proactive.. this discipline has allowed us to reach a level of preparedness that is so ridiculously high that every home has become a defence system.. every citizen is ready for your aggression and instantly knows what to do once it escalates because it never really stops..

i know that Israeli politicians have abused your position within our region and also within the context of broader arab politics.. i myself don't agree with a lot of what goes on and i want a two state solution to ultimately take effect - but please don't try to hide behind our defence achievements in order to accuse us of being the aggressor.. the fact that we know how to avert your damage doesn't wash your hands clean.. and doesn't mean that you can attack us unabated for as long as you want with impunity.. i read some of my Palestinian friends' posts on facebook and i want to vomit.. i have had no choice but to defriend a stack of them.. and yet others have shown me responses that the word noble would not suffice to describe..

what id like to hope for this new week is of course that a peaceful resolution be found for this war and that the killing end.. id like for our spirit as jews and Israelis in general to rebound.. i don't want to see shenkin street empty.. i want people partying at the beach.. i want people letting go of fear and appreciating every moment.. and i of course as always wish the same for all people suffering from this violence - including on the gazan side.. may we go back to focusing on living and not on the fear of dying..

fiery friday..

shenkin street is normally packed - but even moreso on friday.. not so this last friday.. many boutiques didn't even bother opening.. nahalat binyamin had only half of its normal current of people as well..

we went to kindergarden to pick up our daughter with the baby and some shopping and as we sat in the garden part the sirens started blaring.. we grabbed the baby out of the stroller and ran up the steep stairs.. the stroller fell back from the weight of our bags.. we left everything there.. our keys and wallet and whatever else..

i grabbed my wife and daughter and took cover in an old thick doorway - the sirens didn't stop so we quickly ducked into the main building and found all the kids huddled against the walls in the central hall.. we smiled to conceal the stress.. a few other parents had gathered there too.. a couple of kids were hugging.. we stayed inside afterwards even though normally the kids have kabbalat Shabbat and parents are not included..

the booms were close.. the missiles were intercepted several hundred metres away from the kindergarden.. the owners of the kindergarden seemed very stressed..

we left to go home shortly after.. 

it had been such a nice morning.. except for the strange atmosphere you could almost forget the war for a moment.. we spent hours walking outside the house..
there is a ceasefire now for 12 hours.. partly in honour of the final feast of ramadan.. its very controversial.. because its obvious that the now heavily weakened hamas will make use of this humanitarian breather to prepare some fatal surprises for our soldiers.. tonight more mothers will cry the loss of their sons..
hoping this ends soon and all of hamas' tunnels and arsenall are removed with no more casualties on either side for that matter..

im sick of my family running to safety rooms..

Thursday, July 24, 2014

hopeless town..

i have no always agreed with the ideas of heartbeat's founder or members but i have always agreed 100% with the project and its purpose.. this clip is but one of the amazing gems that have come out of heartbeat.. rasha and noemi are incredible musicians! and show nothing but the finest of what each side has to offer.. wise enchanting beautiful and talented.. thank you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

the paradox

hamas' tunnels of death..

i have always sought peace.. i engaged in peace activism for years attending demonstrations and camps and listening circles and blogging and conventions and donating and you name it.. and i actually made friends across the divide.. some made me more aware of our wrongdoings against the palestinians and some made me more of how the palestinians have systematically destroyed their own nationhood story..

nothing has been as mind blowing to me as the hamas tunnels.. a vast network of infrastructure that required hamas to sink millions of dollars of man power and donations and cement and lives into developing a system that could kill thousands of israelis in icey cold blood.. tunnels leading not to freedom.. not to israeli army bases but to israeli towns and dining rooms and playgrounds..

we mourned the loss of the three teenagers a short while ago.. a loss that inspired revenge.. and revenge that triggered palestinian riots.. and riots that pushed hamas to bomb us and for a war to break out.. the war in turn drew an escalation and when offered a ceasefire hamas vehemently declined leading to israel launching a ground force invasion and consequently uncovering the unimaginable extent of hamas' tunnels of death..

the horrific potential of these tunnels was fully demonstrated by hamas when they launch several incursions into civilian population centres adjacent to gaza and luckily were largely intercepted.. but you cant help feeling that all of this occurred just in time.. that had one of the links of that chain not been connected that we would have faced a mega terrorist attack the scale of which we have yet to see in israel..

i dont normally go for the panic trade.. and i shy aware from agents of fear and hatred.. but it boggles the mind to think of all those suffering gazans - sitting there in the dark as they have no electricity - watching their excrement float down the gutters as they have no sewage systems - merely praying to heal the sick and wounded because of a vast shortage of hospitals and deprived of proper schooling because so much of their resources has been diverted to the aim of killing israelis instead of promoting the lives of gazans.. it simply boggles my mind..

i must admit that during our past 3 wars i wasnt in favour of our actions.. i openly criticised the extent of our military campaigns and believed that i was firmly connected to the better moral compass.. over the years i have wondered.. i mean look at lebanon now.. since our massive war with hizbulla in 2006 the border has calmed down.. what are we to learn from this..

anyway dear murdered teenagers - if it is any consolation you didnt die in vain.. your death may well have saved thousands of us.. and in light of the tunnels it is hard to oppose the war despite its atrocities..

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

into the bereaved circle..

i swear something stuck out about his name.. and i cant even explain why.. because its different to my wife's or anyone in her immediate family.. but when I read that he had died in the war yesterday while fighting in gaza i reread his name several times.. it made me awkward.. i swear im not making this up..

anyway last night when i came home from work the girls were a already showered and headed to bed.. we heard some explosions which turned out to be in an adjacent town just a few kilometres away.. i tried to keep my wife calm telling her that they were clearly not overhead because if they were a siren would have been sounded.. she was only partly consoled by my rationalisation..

while i continued to do some work from home she immersed herself in the incessant news reports and within moments she struggled to hide a solid sob as she reviewed the list of recently killed officers.. she told me that apparently one of them was a distant relative.. it was him.. the one i stalled over.. like a pathetic card trick where the card you stare it is the card that is presented to you by some cheesy magician who you shrug off as a loser.. only not a card.. a dead cousin.. leaving you with no amazement.. only sadness..

he is related to my wife on both sides of her family and known to various closer relatives of hers..

we tried to introduce other topics into the discourse of the evening.. to replace the heaviness.. the girls had just gone to bed and i was concerned that the volume of our sadness would disrupt their efforts to sleep..

the news services then filled with mostly reports of airlines cancelling flights out of and into israel.. it appears that another cousin arriving from overseas wont be able to make it.. who cares about the accommodation booking that they may be stuck with - we wanted to see them.. we love these cousins and we had planned how we would share the next few weeks together with their kids.. looking forward to meals at our and their rented pad and afternoon beach sessions..

and then you Segway in your mind to the people in gaza.. who would be silly to even delude themselves that they could make plans..

Monday, July 21, 2014

the haze..

i dont feel like i can deal with the news.. more tunnels.. more attacks.. more dead.. more shot.. more bombed.. more sirens..

this is coinciding with a peak season of work for me (being the end of the financial quarter) and while i am trying to seek refuge in the professional distraction - i must admit that reviewing contracts right now just seems totally irrelevant..

last night we heard explosions but there were no sirens.. was that real?? we fell asleep early from exhaustion and a neighbour woke us up when they called at 1030pm asking what was going in front of our building..

i couldnt quite make it out.. was it a demonstration?? was it a flash mob?? who knew.. we went back to sleep..

waking up in the morning with the fatigue compounding - good morning is quickly superseded by a logistic analysis of how best to transport me to work and my eldest to kindergarden while allowing me to maximise my productivity during these demanding times at work.. we fail and resign ourselves to leaving the girls at home again because if a siren is sounded while my wife is driving with both little ones she will struggle to get them both out of the car and to safety in time.. and if she goes by stroller there are parts of the way where she wont have anywhere to seek to shelter if a siren goes off..

i wonder how those israelis who live near gaza manage on a daily basis to go through this and hw they have done so for years.. and i hate to say it but i can sought of imagine how they would end up hating palestinians..

i cant explain the extent of the brain strain of this situation..

but then again id sooner opt to live the rest of my life this way if it meant that i was safe from the current fate of the miserable people in gaza right now..

i keep telling myself and all those who ask that it will be over soon.. im starting to think that i must seem a little crazy..

Sunday, July 20, 2014

false media reports!?!

two days ago - no less - palestinian facebookers were boasting about the israeli casualties - sharing pics of a ripped apart israeli military vehicle and showing idf weaponry collected from the dead soldiers.. at the time our media was only telling us of a couple of casualties..

today while at work the news hit the whatsapp rumour mill and people at work were scooping the item as it was shared feverishly through the halls..

i read about it two days ago through palestinian commenters on facebook 

cant be true - there's no way the idf wouldn't notify the families and once you notify the families its out

no im sure its the same incident - sounds too similar

you must be wrong

now ynet is reporting that the families only learned about the victims through the rumour mill..

im not telling anyone how to do their job but seriously guys - if you keep us in the dark and feed us shit - we're going to be angry little mushrooms.. its one thing keeping a lid on how you go about stuff - but we do deserve to know what the impact is..

bennet (an Israeli hawk minister) keeps on saying that the government is allowed to do whatever it wants and all options are at its disposal (or so i heard in an interview he gave today).. well that's maybe what the government has decided but im sorry - i don't agree that you can kill unaccountably - not our boys and not the gazans.. im sure we're doing our best to get the optimal outcome - but please don't get cocky about this war.. stay focussed on your objectives and remain in control of your methods.. your citizens don't want to think of you as liars.. please don't give us reason.. i'd be happy to learn that i have somehow misunderstood and that the palestinian commenters merely guessed the deaths..

and as to our soldiers.. we know that you are doing your duty and serving us as best as you know how.. we trust your ethics and judgment.. we are proud of you and your courage.. we are behind you and support you unconditionally and pray for your safe return and are looking forward to seeing you soon..


"כאב של לוחמים"
the pain of warriors
מילים ולחן: עידן עמדי
lyrics and melody by Idan Amedi

ערב ראשון של לבד,
first evening alone
יושב וכותב לך מכתב
sitting and writing you a letter
על כל הדברים שהיו
about things that happened
כל מה שקרה בדיוק
everything that happened precisely

אותיות מופיעות על הקיר
letters appearing on the wall
אני הפחד נעים להכיר
i am the fear - pleased to meet you
הדמויות אוהבות לשחק
the characters like to act
זזות כאן בבית הריק, הריק
moving here in the house that is empty, empty

ואת, את לא יודעת כמה
and you, you dont know how much
ממך ניסיתי להסתיר
from you i tried to hide
את כל הסיוטים בלילה
all the nightly nightmares
צרחות ודם על המדים
screams and blood on the uniform
את לא מבינה כבר למה
you dont understand already why
אני מזמן כבר לא אני
i have long stopped being myself
תמונות רצות מאותו לילה
images rolling since that night
דמעות, כאב של לוחמים
tears, the pain of warriors

זה ערב ראשון שאת שם,
its the first night that you are there
שוכב וחושב, לא נרדם
lying down and thinking, cant fall asleep
השקט לאט מתנגן
the silence plays slowly
מקדיש לך עכשיו שיר בלי שם
dedicating a nameless song to you
שיר בלי שם
nameless song

i hope my translation hasnt warped the song too badly.. there is no formula that guides a nation dealing with war.. we tend to start producing art at some stage..

tourism v terrorism..

back in my days in university i did a study on the impacts of terrorism on tourism and it was certainly interesting..

i could have probably learned more from the last 7 days than i did from the whole semester i spent back then..

(a) korean airlines have suspended all direct flights to israel citing security concerns.. KA have long been one of the cheapest options for people to get between australia and israel obviously via seoul.. and now this line is frozen..

(b) hotels all over israel have announced rock bottom rates attempting to mitigate the adverse impacts of cancellations..

(c) people have been closely watching hot spots around the country particularly in terms of arab israeli riots marking trendy venues in mixed population zones as potentially unsafe and hence lessening the normal and regular mixing of our populations - and dwindling the fuel of our co-existence..

(d) cheap regional vacation destinations such as turkey are now facing the threat of being boycotted by hundreds of thousands of israeli vacationers given that outrageous demands of turkish officials as well as the brutal protests against israel.. turkish jews (not israelis) were most recently targeted wheth they were basically publicly requested to apologise for "everything" and especially for being ungrateful after having migrated generations ago from spain and for having established themselves as wealthy families in turkey.. what is that about..

(e) our international ariport was under the threat of attack twice in the last couple weeks as rockets were sent over from gaza - delaying flights - and obviously terrorising travellers..

(f) people who came over have left earlier..

(g) tourists who are hear and who arent shortening their stays are obviously less inclined to go out and have fun and even if they are - less options are available as many business owners are operating on an irregular basis due to the constraints of war..

obviously most of the direct impacts are money related as the economic benefits of productive tourism favour all of us one way or another but thats presumably somewhat fixable over time.. euqally of concern are the lost opportunities to bring people closer together.. much of the international tourism that comes to israel also visits holy sites in the territories and visits israeli arab establishments as well.. the interactions between people.. the smiles.. the trust.. the warmth.. the sharing.. all of that is suspended.. just so we can show eachother who can outkill who..

dark clouds overhead..

clouds are incredible.. they tell us stories of what is to come.. the direction of the winds.. the likelihood of rain - and taking this further - the likelihood of food and water being available with every blessing that follows on.. they serve as oracles.. floating beards of wisdom representing the recycling at its absolute best..

i was bemoaning the atypical multitude of clouds in the skies recently - obstructing my ability to determine exactly where each rocket exploded overhead after taking refuge when sirens sounded and making it harder for me to know how best to take cover and avoid shrapnel..

i know my co-regionists in gaza probably couldnt care less - given they have pretty much nowhere to run or hide..

we are hearing of networks of tunnels so elaborate that they could collapse our towns on the borders of gaza.. around one side of the border something like over 1000 tunnels for a stretch of 13km ie one tunnel per 13m of borderline in some aread.. and so the war has intensified and a lot of heavy machinery has gone in.. not just warcraft but even earthmoving vehicles to erradicate this dire threat..

so now the war has moved from the skies to the ground and equally underground into the vast maze of hamas tunnels excavated and built throughout the gaza strip and as a result the clouds have taken on a different role for me.. these prophetic objects have darkened in my mind - no longer fluffy and white they boast an angry deep grey infused with a bloody redness.. they forewarn me of a grim future to our collective sense of morality..

a lot of people are dying..

in some cases best friends - brothers at arms - exploding together as a missile turns them into coal and dust.. in some cases whole families crushed under the weight of a building that has been bombed.. in others two nearstrangers simply trying to avoid a sudden threat to their lives.. not to mention elderly people suffering heart attacks because they're so terrified.. or people perferated by shrapnel..

we r seeing the pictures.. our press in israel blurs images of the dead.. and the palestinian press (and in some cases international media agencies) is recycling shocking stills from other conflicts as well as genuine images - i suppose to impress upon us all how bad we should be feeling - and we should be.. but no one should be distorting the truth.. thats not what the press is there to serve..

blood drains fast during war - seemingly making space for more blood - more cold pulseless news of people's lives being prematurely terminated.. when i see the faces of dead israelis on the homepages of our news services my heart freezes and my brain immediately scans for recognition.. once i rule our any acquaintance - my mind hits reset - and i simply sink back into the general state of national grief shouldered by all as a common burden..

but ultimately the grief of war will fade and the mourners will have to press on and we will be left with our own morality and political reality to deal with.. will we be able to sleep at night? with or without rockets? there is lose lose and then there is lose and frikkin big time lose.. how will we map ourselves against the lose win axis..

Saturday, July 19, 2014

a brave gazan proclaiming his wish for peace for all youth in the region..

certainly an interview worth watching.. i "wonder" (but know the answer) if any gazan media would publish an interview with an israeli young person who was saying the same heart warming words..

we dont want you here..

Friday, July 18, 2014

the booms..

this is the stage i hate the most of our wars.. the stage where our guys go in by foot. i painfully watched the news as the shared video footage of the (mere) fence between gaza and israel giving way to an inpouring army and stared in dread as i imagined my friends crossing that damned line - deluding myself that i might know how they felt..

every war - each time this happens the news services go stupid.. gradually the casualty reports start to come through and you dont know whats better to pray (despite being secular) for the well being and safety of those you know are over there or simply to deny that its happening..

last night we joined friends for a friday night dinner at their house outside of telaviv.. we havent heard sirens they promised.. sure enough neither did we while over there but we heard booms every few minutes.. their daughter wakes up from siren related nightmares and so the code was not to mention the war in hebrew.. so we did our best not to.. but every time an explosion took place our facial expressions couldnt shut up..

we hadnt driven anywhere with the girls since the conflict escalated and so to overcome the concern of having to pull over while driving on the highway with two babies - we equipped ourselves with an unpacked rubber-lined play mat - that we thought we could use either to insulate the girls from the burning hot road if we had to lay them down and shield them with our bodies or alternatively we could use to wrap them and defend them from glass and shrapnel if those were perceived to be the bigger risk..

as we drove over there we spoke several times about how we would sequence our actions to minimise any deer in the headlight affect if a siren was sounded..

sometimes it feels ridiculous thinking things out so much.. i am almost embarrassed by it.. given that people in gaza are simply dying quasi-impromptu.. but maybe we owe some of our survival to our over-thinking.. maybe the attention we give our risks is what saves us.. maybe its what produced the iron dome system..

whatever it is.. i wish we didnt need it..

in any event - however many booms we hear now - there are many more to come.. the media never seems to tell the truth about anything during our wars.. lightly wounded almost always turns into lost a hand and moderately wounded people often die.. and the same goes on with the gazans.. they reports inflated numbers of deaths while the israeli media seems to underplay the civilian losses on the palestinian side..

basically - we are subjected to gross media manipulation by each side to enlist our support for their heaviliy political affliction of pain on all civilians..

so many forms of wrong all in one conflict..

yaffo has something to say..

the media always talks about the inter-racial violence in yaffo (the ethnically mixed southern port village forming part of old telaviv).. and being an established yaffawi (as we're called) having moved here as a young professional and having met my wife here gotten engaged here and now raising my kids here - i can tell you that its mostly lies..

yes there is violence.. mostly socio-economic related.. but inter-racial? much less than the media makes there out to be.. and for the most part we get along excellently..

anyway - as evidence of this you could have seen the demonstrations today (of which i only caught a glimpse as they were ending) that were held by jewish and arab families holding signs proclaiming our rejection as a community of the incitement of hatred between our cultures.. there were a few cop cars and if you look closely youll see them.. but more obvious than the cops is the plain and simple order and peace that surrounded the demonstration..

many arabs from yaffo have relatives in gaza who fled during our war of independence.. labelled the naqba by palestinians.. protesting for peace rather than against Israel is a very clear statement by our arab neighbours that peace is more important to us than war.. a message often justly demanded by Israeli jews and so under-publicised by the media when the message is issued..

i feel it is extra important to share this given that facebook was awash with allegations of arabs having burned a jewish cemetery in yaffo last week - attributed by most to ayelet shaked (i don't know if it was her or not who spread the rumours) and this was treated as a confirmation by most of the media cultivated stereotype of angry arabs.. until proven to be bogus and then ignored by most as new news had superseded..

may our shared existence serve as an example to all..

Thursday, July 17, 2014

inside out..

my gut is turning inside out.. my inventory of friends at the front line has just ballooned.. the defence department has decided to enter gaza with infantry and this is when the blood bath is likely to start.. i am so worried for them.. i just want them to come home safe.. i want this to be over.. i want palestinians to stop dying.. their blood doesn't wash off my hands at night (whether or not we are responsible for its shedding) and for some reason they don't allow our blood to stick to theirs.. and the world is fine with this.. infact the world has been calling it international law for quite some time..

at work i can really feel it.. people are doing work instead of others who have been drafted.. and no one tells you whats going on - it just happens.. overseas clients are not particularly sensitive to our situation - instead preserving their businesslike hardline tones and not bothering to wish us safety or peace or whatever.. i was even a tiny bit surprised by how stoic some have been..

yesterday during the day and last night there were more sirens and explosions.. the night time ones caught us by surprise half asleep.. we scrambled to the security room where my wife suddenly broke down a bit.. i dont think my daughter believes the booms are balloons either.. its becoming difficult to deny the reality of this messed up situation and my efforts to suspend my belief are beginning to fade..

the street life is gradually continuing to drain into the homes.. and we as a family will drain ourselves a little further north for one night to an area that has had less sirens with the hope of our daughters getting some outdoor time after over a week at home - making use of grandma and grandpas garden and (hopefully without needing to rush to their) security room in the basement.. just a breather.. we have had several conversations about how to react if there is a siren while we're driving on the highway with a toddler and a baby and hope we will not get to test our strategies..

also - id like to note that facebook has gone stupid.. people are posting bullshit videos and sharing misleading photos.. i started out objecting to this inflammatory conduct and soon enough found myself swept up into making one-sided comments and trying to balance the hatred and unfair comments i am reading.. i have also started losing facebook friends - some palestinians and some overseas friends who frankly i don't know why im touch with anyay.. this is a first for me in terms of losing friends over current affairs.. but whatever.. friendships by nature can contain a certain amount of disagreement - if my friends cant allow for this then they inherently fail the definition..

shabbat shalom to all.. may this weekend somehow miraculously deliver peace..

east jerusalem - west jerusalem..

thanks for the tippoff aaron shneyer.. thanks for the music david broza.. so great to see faces from heartbeat jerusalem on this clip.. and btw so happy neil young donated money to their cause after cancelling his tour of israel due to this stupid war..

what it looks like when ur driving and there's a siren..

something like this.. as show on ynet..

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

seeking the lemonade..

our neighbour went to get a juice from the local store yesterday and the sirens went off.. he ran for cover but came out a little before 10 minutes were over and much to his surprise the tip of a detonated rocket fell from the sky metres from his feet.. lucky guy.. it was quite a landing and there could have been more pieces and they could have fallen on his head..

my baby daughters have been home with my wife for the entire war and what could have been for some an exhausting experience has turned into a beautiful opportunity for my wife to bond with our daughters..

for years the notion of telaviv being attacked felt almost apocalyptic and symbolised the end of the world for us.. however - as i turns out life goes on after and even during the rockets and missiles.. sure you go out less and you pull over to take cover sometimes if you hear a siren as you drive - but for the most part - i thank hamas for dispelling our fears..

whats left is to turn our hearts towards the gazans and hope that their suffering ends soon and morphs into a wake up call that war is not the way forward.. their entire minuscule economy has been geared to bombing israel for the last decade at least and its time that they move towards a future that can bring them to a better place.. im not too naive to realise that the objectives of some politicians on our side are almost directly supported by hamas delinquency.. but hey - isnt it time for the silent majority to surface and finally get the brighter future that it has always wanted?

may this war quickly be replaced with peace..

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

the irony we live in..

israel has not asked for this war.. hamas firing incessant rockets was met at first by a lack of response by israel - i was surprised by the way.. however israel clearly stated that if the rockets and missiles stopped it would not retaliate.. and yet hamas persisted.. doesnt that make you wonder what sort of insanity is guiding that organisation and the people that continue to support it?

israel finally responded and then instantly the world (who until that point didnt give a damn about israeli towns being under constant fire) suddenly woke up - blaming israel left right and centre - whether outright or through unbalanced reporting - as usual.. there were really no surprises except maybe mahmoud abbas who questioned the logic behind hamas' actions..

egypt took the initiative to try and broker an end to this stupid war and while israel clearly stated that it had not yet completed the initial objectives of its military response ie to put an end to hamas' ability to fire rockets and missiles at our towns that we still would accept the proposal out of fear of facing further delegitimisation..

hamas as usual much prefers the fighting because for hamas no number of dead gazans is ever enough..

so what now world.. do you understand who the monster is that it choking the gazans.. do you understand who is using them as human shields and demanding that they ignore warnings and remain in buildings that are being targeted.. do you understand who wants nothing but to perpetuate the cycle of death and violence even though they can clearly see that israel remains relatively unharmed and that mostly its own people are suffering immeasurably..

do you see what is going on..

Monday, July 14, 2014

is this about to end..

israel is semi forced to agree to the cease fire that is being brokered by the egyptians as i type.. hamas (the political arm) seems inclined to agree.. BUT surprise surprise its military faction has publicly called the brokering efforts a joke.. and it looks like the islamic jihad militants arent too keen either.. its hard when your enemy is so fractured but then again when hamas wants something to happen in gaza they have shown that they can make it happen..

so whats left.. telavivians & co are becoming quite used to ducking for cover and keeping within close range of safe rooms.. touch wood iron dome has held up beautifully and kept us nice and safe by and large..

now i need to elaborate here because its important..

9 years ago during the second lebanon war our northern capital of haifa was the main target of the lebanese political party/militia hizbulla.. and homes were hit.. factories were hit.. people were even hit while driving their cars.. it was a blood bath.. and the prospect of telaviv being hit as well was certainly on the cards..

a bit further down south - in telaviv - we were doing our best to keep things normal.. working extra hours to cover for colleagues who had been drafted (which is also the case this time) - donating - volunteering - whatever.. but the idea of telaviv being hit was like a big fat red line that if crossed would potentially unleash hell upon the region..

7 years later (in our last round of violence 2 years ago) hamas decided to give it a go.. they shot missiles at telaviv.. and even hit a building in an adjacent town slicing it like a cake and miraculously no one was hurt as all residents obeyed the authorities instructions to take refuge in their security rooms..

hell didnt break loose completely.. i mean obviously its hell when over 100 gazans are killed.. but not the kind of apocalyptic hell that you could expect when your financial and cultural and tourism capital is targeted by missiles..

for years the excuse to not allow the palestinians in the west bank to establish a state was that missiles would rain upon us (coastal israelis) from the hills of the west bank.. but now that iron dome has become fully operational and has kept millions of israeli safe and cosy and now that the development of its future roadmap is in full swing and for goodness sake i bet we'll even be making handsome export shekels off of it maybe just maybe we can take a chance with peace with at the very least our neighbours to the east..

there is something very tragically invigorating when missiles are exploding overhead.. your senses work differently.. there i am at work negotiating contracts and doing international transactions and minutes later i am driving home like a hunted rabbit looking for fences i can jump over to hide in sheltered car parks if a siren was to suddenly be sounded.. the moment the siren is on there is very little time to think and you just have to quickly make whatever arrangement you can.. and clearly we're still scarred by past wars pre"iron dome" because i have taken refuge over the past 7 days with many strangers who were very afraid.. even though the risk to our lives has come down to being close to zero..

yesterday i read reports of over 17,000 nothern gazans who had fled their homes and taken refuge in UNRWA schools further south.. i know many israelis close to the borders with gaza were also forced to leave their homes - in some cases only to be greeted by rockets falling elsewhere.. the gazans have suffered many more deaths and as is always the case the true numbers only come out once the dust settles..

the second lebanon war didnt feel very conclusive to us in 2006 and many people expected a follow up war in the following summers.. people said that our ability to deter hizbulla was heavily compromised and that we would probably face more confrontation.. and yet that war has thankfully yet to arrive.. and hopefully never will..

in this round with gaza the gazan leadership took straight to its bunkers and probably still doesnt have a full grasp of the damage done to its infrastructure and rocket manufacturing capabilities.. its not about defeating an already crippled population - but i hope that in any event the begrudging palestinians of gaza will now be able to convince hamas that these mischievous adventures are not true acts of resistance but rather more than anything acts of self destruction and only exacerbate the suffering of the palestinians affected..

i wish upon gaza a fate that is very different to its predicament today.. i wish that it be demilitarised voluntarily.. i wish that it turn into the bread basket of palestine.. and that gaza turn into the banking capital of the arab countries in the eastern mediterranean basin and north africa.. i hope they establish first rate learning institutions and resort towns and serve as a coastal jewel as beirut once did.. i hope we get to sell them our awesome technologies and that they turn into a nearshoring centre for israeli high tech companies ultimately leading to fertile joint ventures that also raise the standard of living for the palestinians in the west bank and in neighbouring countries..

i do not believe that islam is a barrier to this occurring but i do hope they become kinder to the almost extinct christian population.. and i hope that in the future we endup envying the gazans..

i know that this sounds fanciful but so did a jewish state 200 years ago.. hamas is our sworn enemy but so was the PLO/FATAH.. during this conflict our government openly stated that it doesnt want to topple hamas.. because hamas is a preferred option over the possible alternatives.. so if we can go that far in effectively supporting/tolerating hamas and we clearly constantly acknowledge their sovereignty - cant we go a step further and negotiate?

enough with this stubborness already..

Sunday, July 13, 2014

why dont we leave??

overseas friends who obviously care keep asking me why i dont leave with my family and go somewhere else while the war between israel and gaza rages on..

so i want to explain a few things..

(a) israel is my home - there is nowhere else i belong more..

(b) there is stuff to be done here while we are attacked.. we need to stand upright and bold.. this is not the time to fold..

(c) because we need to support eachother..

(d) thats exactly what our haters and enemies want..

(e) we have an amazing country that despite its challenges makes us happier than we can possibly be anywhere else ever..

(f) i believe that one day we will have peace..

this clips is funny - but we like funny.. and it shows you how diverse alive and joyous our country is..

hoping once its over - those of you who find it strange that we are here  make an effort to come and find out for yourself..

Saturday, July 12, 2014

the children..

of course this is heart breaking.. and of course no Israeli soldier wants to kill mayssam.. she's beautiful and adorable and fully deserving of a normal and healthy life - as is any child..

what happens when you need to choose.. what happens when she lives on a house that is a rocket reserve or what happens when rockets are being launched from her roof top..

do you just ignore it because of an adorable girl who lives there and her youtube video? of course you want to say yes? especially if rockets were made of marshmellows.. but you have adorable kids too and you also want them to not live in fear and terror..

this is why this conflict is so complex.. it is not only about tactical correctness ie whether or not your military actions are sanctioned by local and international law.. but it is also about a whole of lot of zero sum games you play in your mind with every article you read and every little piece of information you acquire..

beyond living with our neighbours (whether by virtue of a cold peace agreement or through protracted ceasefires) we also need to live with ourselves and our own consciences..

a date from hell..

hamas said they would bomb us at 9pm tonight..

it was in fact a quiet and tense day.. sunny and hot but caging and unnerving.. we let the girls enjoy some wet time in an inflatable swimming pool on our balcony which was fun for them.. we had them do paper mache.. bake stuff.. play music.. draw.. colour in.. whatever.. just to alleviate their sense of entrapment..

the build up after a quiet day certainly shaped our state of mind and by 9pm we were left wondering as to whether or not the hamas threat/promise was real..

7 minutes later two consecutive sirens were set off and apart from the respective interceptions a couple of "independent" explosions could be heard..

we of course rushed to the security room and even after 10 minutes of calm my wife is in no mood to leave it.. personally - i cant stay there a minute longer than i need to..

we then heard some ambulances go past but couldn't even guess if there was any direct connection to the attack..

moments later the muslim call to prayer kicked in.. where we live we have about 3 or 4 active mosques within a few hundred metres from our house even though very few arabs live in our area.. normally (unlike many of my compatriots) i enjoy the call to prayer for its melodic and spiritual significance.. but this evening it made it hard to hear the sirens.. which pissed me off..

what a shitty date.. thanks hamas.. now go away please..

it doesn't help to hear about the people of gaza celebrating these rockets in the streets either.. wtf guys - that's just stupid..

at least i have my work laptop with me this time around.. so if things get worse tonight - ill work from home tomorrow..

wishing us that this nightmare be over soon..

שבוע טוב

a very particular christian palestinian view..

in the meantime the moon is now totally round and hamas has issued a statement that it will begin to bomb us exactly now..

Friday, July 11, 2014

the revised pallet of sounds..

* the sirens - we have heard them in tel aviv before but theyre pretty fresh on the scene..

* the explosions - also have had a couple before but not as many as during this war..

* war planes - also not new but they certainly woke me up this morning..

* absence of street life sounds - very rare..

* the birds and cars - they sound louder as the urban hum has weakened..

* cries of bored children..

* the locking mechanism of our security room..

* the echoes of my thoughts in my mind at hours im used to reserving for sleep..

so much for a peaceful friday night..

a fair few explosions in the skies of telaviv tonight.. we don't always get sirens warning us.. sometimes we do and sometimes we don't..

the moon is one night short of being full.. but it feels like the crazy has already arrived.. i can see the moon from my study window..

during one of the last interceptions we could hear the security room's window's iron cover rattle from the impact.. wasn't so nice..

im sick of running to the security room every few minutes..

my wife is pissed off about me not cooperating..

don't the terrorists sleep at any point?

alternatives to bombing eachother..

just a suggestion..

we are kind of fighting in the name of the families of the victims of nationalist terrorism.. interesting that the victims' families are not bombing anyone.. they're reaching out to eachother in an attempt to heal..

how come our governments aren't aware of this alternative.. yes yes i know not everyone wants to hug and cuddle but maybe they would if our leadership was solidly behind peace..

video game..

id like to dedicate this song to this bizarre war.. though other than the title any connection the lyrics may have to the war are purely coincidental..

this morning my wife was out at the local fish markets and i had one kid asleep and one on the balcony.. they are too young to understand why they have been stuck at home for the last few days..

minutes after she left the sirens busted out.. i grabbed my daughter off the balcony and rushed to the security room visually combing the living area for my phone and ushering us in - i slammed the door shut.. i then smiled at my girls and forced out some laughter and once i established their agreement that this was somehow in fact funny i pressed my wife's shortcut on my phone screen and made sure she was ok.. she had taken cover in some store..

then we heard the booms..

this afternoon the shrapnel reports were quite intense.. much less vicious than what a direct hit could have been but still quite dangerous and disconcerting.. a synagogue was hit in telaviv.. almost ironic that in israel's city of sin even the enemy help eradicate religion.. i wouldn't be surprised if the media and the politicians dramatized some of shack with a star of david on it as being more than it was.. luckily no one was hurt..

my family is collectively wired.. we have been voluntarily drip fed news updates and siren notices.. the phone keeps signalling that we need to either talk or answer or review or read something somewhere..

one of those messages was from close friends of ours who decided to defy the state's instructions to say close to secure areas and to go and have a fun day at a beach further north and asked us if we wanted to join spontaneously.. we often go to the beach together and nothing would have been more soothing on this scorching israeli summer day - but that beach is a 40 minute drive away by highway for us and the last thing i want to do is pull over as the lady did the other day and place my daughters on burning road side under the midday sun and cover them with my body as i wait to hear a boom and then continue to lay there for 10 minutes.. for them its closer but i still couldnt fathom it.. i secretly envied their bravado..  but we stayed home..

and another one of the messages received moments ago was a survey smsd by the army.. yes a survey..

we also sent messages - cancelling our daughter's birthday party.. we planned it for a month or so.. anyway who cares - as long as we're all safe.. that's the least of our worries..

still waiting for the ***game over*** message.. do video games still do that?

frankly id be quite happy to just switch this war off myself if i knew how..

Thursday, July 10, 2014

90 seconds warning..

hamas has hit some homes directly.. it appears that our iron dome (despite saving thousands of lives) is not completely water tight..

hamas has now declared that they want to hit our parliament house in Jerusalem and in their attempt to do so have reportedly hit arab and bedouin villages.. classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face..

there are also the first Israeli casualties in this round of violence and very soon we will start the war accounting.. every one will start to spew out the numbers of dead and injured and many arguments will be based around these numbers or their irrelevance..

you can feel the tension in the air.. its sliceable..

my wife and daughters are asleep and i have been working since i got home because this too is defence.. kind of.. at least of our economy..

the missile warning sirens sound a lot like ambulance or police sirens - so every time i hear one i kind of have a micro panic.. every time i hear a car accelerate too fast i instantly think of war planes.. any stray cat sounds to me like someone screaming.. basically the stress is beginning to settle in..

today at work we had a site conference of all local workers to do with a project that affects the whole local site and people were so snappy.. even rude.. it was so odd it made is all laugh.. we try to keep our cool but frankly this whole situation is so deranged that to keep your cool completely would indicate nothing but a profound personality disorder..

my wife and i have already agreed that if the siren is sounded while she is sleeping (given you only have 90 seconds to reach safety and this is a highly relevant number no matter what anyone might say) that i will simply pick her up in my arms and run to our apartment's security room (where our daughters are asleep) and lock us in..

we have come to learn - over the course of the past 3-4 wars - that security rooms in apartments are a key to your potential survival when a building is directly hit.. there were buildings that didn't survive in the last conflict - except for the security rooms..

90 seconds isn't long when it takes you around 20 to figure out if its a missile warning siren or not.. but its better than 15 which is what the israeli towns next to gaza have.. gazans have an Israeli system called knock on the roof which means that the building is first hit with relatively harmless weapons to supposedly warn the residents and only after they have a chance to leave is it attacked.. but hamas doesn't want anyone leaving.. it has specifically requested that the families living in apartments above its weapons cache facilities serve as human shields..

wishing us all a safe night.. may this madness soon come to and end and may it pave the way for better times ahead..

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

above my head..

i was hoping id get to work before the rockets started to come our way from gaza this morning.. and while i did get closer the sirens broke out just as i hit the stretch that offers nowhere to take cover..
quickly all the cars pulled over and people poured out of their vehicles as well as public busses and we all hit the ground and covered our heads..
a few metres away from me a middle aged woman lay on top of her child covering her head with her hands.. this is also as per the instructions of the defence authorities.. the child cried..
as we waited for the explosions to indicate that the danger had passed my mind went into flipcard mode.. i was imagining awful things.. i peeked towards the sky between my forearm and bicep and then i closed my eyes thinking that i didnt really want to see a rocket at any distance..
finally the explosion(s - i couldnt really tell how many) arrived and with them the cocktail of relief and confusion.. youre supposed to stay in your safe zone - but outside we're not really safe so i looked for the smoke of the interception and couldnt see it.. 
it was above my head.. i immediately urged the mother to return to the car with her child and drive and not to wait (as usually instructed) in case pieces of detonated rocket fell our way given our proximity.. [there must have been a few rockets in this attach because reports later came in of rockets over other parts of town at around the same time and you could kind of hear them]
the sirens hadnt stopped yet but i preferred to head to the nearby highway and take cover under its overpass at that stage.. by the time i got there they stopped so i just drove to work - all the while scouting places i could seek cover if another siren went off..
i called home to say that everything was fine and got an earful for not having brought my work laptop home last night.. she was right - my mistake..

i know it doesnt look like much.. and i know its nothing compared to the 70 reported dead in gaza.. and i know that once the ground operation starts (and ill be surprised if it doesnt) there will be carnage and that people would give everything to have a rocket intercepted over their head or even just to be afraid.. my heart is with the people who are copping the harsher reality that this conflict has to offer on both sides and particularly the children of gaza..

at least for us in telaviv - you cant really call this a state of fear.. our interception systems are holding up for now and touch wood theyre keeping us safe..

i am so greatful for amir peretz's foresight and the investment made by the government in the development of these missile interception systems back in 2006-7.. a topic that had long been discussed but was subject to monumental foot dragging until he kicked it up a notch..

in any event - oh how we mocked this guy.. for his poor english and upper lip black forest..

turns out you dont need english to save thousands of lives and keep millions of us safe..

i cant wait for this stupidity to end.. i really dont understand how such violence is still relevant in 2014.. we wont talk to eachother (which is free of charge - let them skype) because we're sworn enemies.. ok.. but we'll spend millions of dollars bombing eachother? dollars needed to alleviate poverty and heal the sick and treat cancer and build homes for people?? really? no - really????

initial shock draining the streets..

we needed stuff from the pharmacy last night.. some basics.. nappies.. listerine.. baby formula.. you know..

the local pharmacy isn't far from our house but it was awkward.. i walked taking note of all the places i could take refuge if a siren was sounded..

the streets - normally awash with people cycling home and strollers checking in at the boulevard cafes - were relatively empty.. instant flashbacks from 2003 (days of the second intifada).. oh no there's that word.. intifada.. cant believe ive evoked it.. its been so out of use that its gone rusty..

ultimately telavivs bubble normally restores itself and typically itll happen before the conflict subsides.. but for now it looks like people have taken the warnings quite seriously and are largely staying at home.. which based on the last round is probably the smart thing to do..

it might sound obvious to people from the outside - but when a war erupts - there is a serious dilemma as to whether or not we should allow it to impact our routines or resiliently remain loyal to life and its regular course..

also this is the cover up/lies stage.. you have no idea what is being under or over reported at this stage.. the casualty reports are distorted by both sides to serve the respective side's interests and you can physically feel yourself being manipulated by two manic political leaderships..

old news is being rampantly recycled as the current state of affairs.. youll see it in clips and images that may well not even belong to this round of violence..

this is emptier than telaviv ever gets on a weekday afternoon at 530pm..

work chitchat..

do you have a security room?

yes i do..

i dont - we had countless sirens last night so we just hid under the table..

did i mention i was pregnant? week 14..

mazal tov - why dont you stay with your inlaws..

no chance - we watched a couple of interceptions as well..

looks more peaceful that in sounds..

yeah.. oh and look what i saw on my way to work today - a piece of one of the missiles on the road.. there were quite a few pieces..

imagine what the gazans are stumbling into..

must be rough - so where did your wife give birth..

email from kindergarden [loosely translated from hebrew]..

Dear Parents

We share your concern regarding the tense security situation and seek to provide information about the kindergardens activity.
Teachers know which room they should report to in the event of a siren.

Many of you have been asking us for information.
We strongly suggest avoiding any explanations of war and missiles to your children and refrain from tones that will convey anxiety and panic in front of your kids.

It is important that children feel that the adults around are under control and know how to address the situation calmly and confidently.
It is equally important that we react to our children creatively and avoid sharing governmental statements.

It is better to give images of protection and security than images of being under attack and in a state of war.
As you know, our kindergarden does not have any reinforced security rooms.

According to national guidelines, when there is no space, we are stick to the walls of the innermost rooms, and in the event of an alarm while the kids are inside we gather the kids into the inner room and sit by the walls.
In light of the situation, it is obviously your decision whether or not to send your child to kindergarden today.

The teachers will remain accessible by phone all day and if there are any changes we will let you know.
Naturally, the well being of our children is our top priority [the teachers also send their kids to the same kindi]

Hoping for quieter and more peaceful times.

The staff

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

uncomfortably numb..

i left home for work.. because we work in israel even through wars.. in fact some of us will end up working harder to cover up for colleagues who have been drafted..

within minutes i hit a traffic jam.. i was surprised.. suddenly the sirens started wailing and people got out of their cars and lay on the road covering their heads with their hands - just as we have been instructed to do over the years when the sirens are sounded..

my fingers must have fumbled as i took my keys out of the ignition when i hit the road and i accidentally called my wife's cousin.. as soon as i noticed i hung up..

it was oddly calm..

one man - a bit older - decided to stand on the northern side of a tree trunk (gaza is around 60km south of telaviv).. he looked scared..

we then heard several consecutive explosions overhead and most of us got back in our cars to take shelter in case any bit and pieces fell onto us..

my wife called crying - she asked me to come back home - but war isnt a holiday and we need to work.. i asked her to stop crying so that the girls not sense any panic..

the radio went on to wish us a morning of successful [missile] interceptions..

my wife's cousin called me back shortly after.. she lives in a town that constantly hears sirens all year round and sustains many more hits..

you never get used to it she said.. you just get numb..

the sleep killer..

its the same every time this happens.. lebanon 2006.. gaza 2009.. gaza 2012 and now.. sleep goes nuts.. cant fall asleep.. mind goes into overdrive.. emotions go nuts.. the blogospheres.. the fb posts.. the sms torrent and the calls..

we're safe.. i'm sure of it.. just as i was last night when my wife went to visit a friend.. and as soon as she left i started having terrible thoughts.. imagination went into overdrive..

as she came through our high tech door two explosions took place and the sky blinked..

she had decided to grab some sushi from the neighbourhood sushi store and darted home as soon as she heard the sirens getting in just as the missiles were intercepted.. this is nothing.. the people that live closer to gaza hear the interceptions of most of the rockets including those intended for telaviv that are stopped by our iron dome systems early.. which makes me feel lousy for any even remote sense of self pity..

we wondered what my wife's grandparents had chosen to do - they live not too far away from the gaza border.. their safe room is in their basement.. but theyre old.. we just assumed that they were sleeping in that room tonight.. often they have to sprint (as much as 80+ year olds can sprint) down in the middle of the night.. and they are just one elderly couple out of hundreds of thousands of couples that live with the constant fear  or rockets that punctuate their lives regularly..

and then theres the people of gaza but I cant stop there my mind goes straight to the kids.. the kids who have quickly adapted as kids do to a disgusting reality of unplanned distress.. although it is so constant they can probably plan it.. its basically all day and all night.. every plane overhead must look like an angel of death and every shriek of a bomb a reason to prepare grieving.. grieving must have long become a very very mundane event even if the excruciating pain that comes with the loss of family only compounds..

i wonder how this works.. both sides know that they have no genuine interest in the conflict.. hamas (currently alienated) might be able to score some points of sympathy in the arab world if the war is brief and lots of people die in gaza but if it is lengthy they will just become weaker and the media is constantly telling us that with their protracted isolation they are currently extremely fallable and could crumble.. israel - ironically - needs hamas to stay.. sure they shoot at us but we can recognise them and spot them.. if they fall apart we may potentially end up with a mini iraq pumped by iran right at our doorstep filling the power vacuum.. and theres no telling what hell thatll bring for us or the region..

so whats different - one night into the escalation and the hamas is already stating its conditions for a ceasefire.. israels are less measurable which is quite typical of us.. we normally don't have clear objectives for fear of then missing them i suppose..

and then my mind goes back to the kids of gaza and the Israeli towns surrounding gaza.. why do they deserve this shit.. why do they deserve to cry this much and fear this much.. what kind of monsters tolerate children's misery..

my daughters are staying home today..

anyway lets infuse the day with some hope..

gaza is exploding..

i used to be a free spirited surfer who lived in telaviv and rode the waves of the sea as well as the waves of violence.. unperturbed.. knowing that everything would subside and the swell would rise again so to speak..

but gaza is going nuts again - firing rockets indiscriminately all over israel and now as a father of two i cant pretend to be so indifferent.. i cant suspend my recognition of how awful this is..

i don't know what to do with my daughters tomorrow.. their kindergarden doesn't have a secure zone (with extra reinforced concrete) as the regulations require.. but that's the short term question..

how do i remain committed as a father to raising my children in a land where their safety comes second to the entrenched hatred.. how do i justify risking the future of their moral compass - not to mention my own - by tacitly supporting / tolerating this reality.. and yet this our home - not something one abandons..

this evening in telaviv we saw several gazan rockets intercepted.. a bit like silent lightening - i noticed a flash through the triple glazed windows.. the explosion was diluted by the white noise from the air conditioning and news broadcasts blaring in the background on my laptop..

last time this went on ~2 years ago i was racing down the stairs with a new born to seek shelter on the landing of the stairwell several floors below.. now we live in a place where we have a secure room in our apartment - our daughters sleep there and there is no need to run to the stairs.. so does that mean that we (as parents) can sleep in our less secure room peacefully? is it sufficient that our daughters are "protected"? are they?

infinite scenarios are ticking through my mind and while its almost midnight - sleep seems like a distant eventuality..

this whole time i wonder.. how did hatred get prioritised so highly..