Wartime Updates

Israel is at war.

Yitzchak is relieved – between Syria, Hamas, and Iran, he’s been tracking the news and worried about who, what, when, where, and how we will have to fight.  So now that we are busy with one of them, he’s relieved – one issue out of the way, and less worries that all three will explode at once.  I understand him.  Really, I do.

It doesn’t make me less nervous.

I will say this once, and I will say it again.

I.  Hate.  Wars.

I hate, and all of Israel hates, dead bodies.  Israel, a country born in the wake of the Holocaust, especially hates dead Jewish bodies.  Especially when the dead Jews are young and innocent.  We will do all we can to avoid having to face dead young Jews.  We will do all we can to prevent young Jews from dying.  And that is why, we left early in Cast Lead, why we did not send in tanks in Defensive Shield, and why we waited so long to do so now, in Protective Edge.  It is also part of the reason why we cannot cite the Second Lebanon War as a success.

Because Israel’s repulsion at the thought of dead young Jews – and the thought of causing their deaths –  is just too much.

This is the reason we went into Gaza now.  Because we understood that our repulsion is going to have to be ignored.  Either the dead young Jews will be civilians, traumatizing families and communities, at unexpected times and in unexpected ways – like the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered, Hy”d – or the dead young Jews will be soldiers, fighting in battle, accomplishing something with their deaths, and fighting in an organized fashion for the rest of the country, for their younger siblings, for their cousins, for their communities, for their children.

And Israel prefers – everyone prefers – to die on the battlefield accomplishing something, than to risk dying for nothing, with the killers running loose, after being captured by terrorists.

So we sent soldiers in.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy.  It doesn’t mean that we aren’t scared.  It doesn’t mean we don’t understand the sacrifice.

Like Bennett said, if we had not done this now, there would be an Israeli 9/11.  We prefer to fight and defeat.  We do not want an Israeli 9/11.  The American one could’ve been avoided.  It was an avoidable tragedy, and those are the worst kind.

I am actually glad that we are getting so many sirens and that they have discovered so many tunnels.  I am glad that they break humanitarian ceasefires and that they have outrageous demands.  It means there is no chance of a ceasefire.  Which means that finally, finally, we have a chance at security.  The flip side of our sirens is that most of them don’t make the news.  And even when they do, we don’t know how many were shot or where they landed – for the simple reason that we don’t want to aid Hamas in bettering their aim.  But the more sirens our particular city gets, the higher the chance of us seeing this through to the end.  So let them throw sirens, as long as we are all at home.  We will find mattresses and sleep in the shelter if need be.  As long as it’s not in vain, and we accomplish everything we went into Gaza for.

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We are getting more and more used to the sirens.  At the very beginning, it seemed that everyone but us and a few other cities/areas had not had sirens.  (Not counting, of course, the very north of the country, which has had sporadic spillover from Syria for a while, but that Hamas can’t yet reach.)  We knew our turn would come, it was just a question of when.  We knew our ‘neighbor” (a city quite a bit away from us and everyone else) turn would come, too, and wondered about when.  Both us and our neighbors’ turn came at the same time.  Within a few seconds we were in shock, freaked out, and then calmed down and went to the shelter.  I spent three and a half hours in flight-or-fight mode.  The next morning, we had another siren.  I freaked, Yitzchak freaked, we went downstairs to the shelter and were done.

Now we don’t freak.  We just get up and go, racing against the clock.  It’s kind of good that we’re not freaking out anymore.  It’s also sad.

We don’t have one every day.  But a day that has two sirens – and we’ve had two of those days so far, three if you count the first siren we had, when a minute after the first siren there was a second siren (I don’t usually count it though, because we were already in the shelter) – makes up for a day without a siren, when you’re just worrying, wondering, and waiting.  And when you do the math, it comes out to a ratio of about a siren a day, maybe with one extra day in there with no siren to match.

 

 

P.S. – I am writing up a bunch of posts about Protective Edge and setting them to publish during the coming week.

P.P.S. – Anybody who would like to help families closer to Gaza – those who have between fifteen seconds and a minute, and suffer rocket attacks several times a day, can take a look at Janglo‘s list of things to do to help.  There are also options for helping soldiers and helping the families of the reservists who were called up.

 

 

 

An Apology

Around the middle of March, my computer went kaput.  When I say kaput, I mean kaput.  Gone.  Slim chance of reviving it, but it’s far more worth the money to just get a new one.  How many times can you fix the same computer?

So, we didn’t.  And still haven’t gotten a new one, simply because we don’t have the money at the moment.

However, you didn’t notice for a few weeks, because just prior to my computer breaking, I had set up a slew of old blog posts to publish on set dates.  I was glad, because it meant that for the few weeks we wouldn’t have a computer, or at least the first few weeks, my readers wouldn’t suffer too much.

At some point we will get a new one.  Until then, rare trips to the library, such as the current one, will have to do.  I will see what I can do about automating posts; comments will be tougher.

My apologies to all of you.  I have a lot to say, but typing under stress at the library is simply not conducive to good blogging.  I’ll see what I can do to make it up to you, though.

Peace

“There will only be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

- Golda Meir

While I certainly don’t agree with her outlook on everything, I wish there was a politician today with the guts to say what she said.  She was definitely someone special.

*       *        *        *        *

May the IDF authorize soldiers to shoot at rock-throwing and rock-slinging terrorists.

Amen.

 

From march 8, 2013.  And the second part is from march 15, 2013.  See, we’re getting there . . .

Umbrella

Post from July 1, 2013:

Is it pronounced um’-brella, or um-brella’?umbrella, rain, red and yellow umbrella, picture of umbrella

Help us resolve this disagreement!

(Yitzchak says that it depends on the word’s use in a sentence: “I have a green um-brella’.”  vs. “I borrowed an um’-brella from the guard.” (Umbrella is the key word in the sentence.)  However, I have not really heard him differentiate between these two in pronunciation, except for right now, when he is trying to prove a point.)

Shlomo loves umbrellas.  I can just imagine his reaction if and when he sees this post . . .

The Big Box

Yitzchak’s mother sent us a big box of stuff.  Well, she didn’t want to send a box; she wanted to send stuff with someone who was traveling to Israel.  But El Al changed their suitcase allowance from two to one, and someone was already paying for said traveler to take a suitcase #2.  That is, he was paying the airline’s fee for a second suitcase, and possibly paying the traveler, as well.  And this person didn’t want to take suitcase #3.  Plus, it would have cost at least $150 in airline fees for the suitcase.  So, MIL sent a box.  It cost $100 for the box, and they said it would get here in ten days.

When the box didn’t show up after ten days, we figured that they had meant ten business days.  It took a month.  When we finally received the notice that we had a package, I went up to the post office (against Yitzchak’s direction, because it was heavy, and I already had Shlomo in tow), and asked for it.  Turns out, I couldn’t receive the box, because a) In my excited rush to leave, I had forgotten my identity card, and b) I had to pay 245 shekels in customs tax.  In my rush to leave, I had also forgotten my wallet.

I called Yitzchak and told him.  He arranged to come home a bit early, take the notice, go to the post office, pay the fee, and pick up the box.  So, he did.  He came home, went to the bank and the post office, and came back home carrying a BIG box.

In the box were some toys and a LOT of clothes.  There was also a coat, snow pants, boots, and gloves, the last of which Shlomo hates.

And now we have a big box on the floor, that I don’t want to get rid of, because it is such a good toy.  So the big box stays.  It takes up space in our small living room, because it is a great toy.

As they say, the packaging is more fun than the contents.

(This one from July 1, 2013.  Boxes are still a lot of fun, but Shlomo has learned that the stuff in the box is often worth a second glance.)

About Marriage and Ethics

One of my friends, A., recently bought a new bookshelf and did some sorting.  Since she’s a Ukranian immigrant to Israel, A. knows English, but doesn’t know it well.  (But, she already knows two languages well, so she’s quite forgiven.)  At any rate, A. and her husband have been collecting random books for years, and they have a few in English.  As part of her cleaning/sorting project, she decided to add to my already overstuffed bookshelves (we need to buy another one) and give me all her English books.  After all, they’re just taking up space in her house; once upon a time, she had time to sit, read, and translate the books, but right now, they’re just sitting useless.  And it’s pretty obvious that if she ever wants to read on, all she has to do is call up.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, Esther Jungreis, books, marriage, relationships, commitment, Judaism, the commited life, lifetime commitment, living together, eloping, judaism, marriage, parenting, children, grandparents, jewish life, jewish values, jewish women, women in judaism, hineni, outreachSo, we got a few new books.  And, because I’m a bookworm (so is Yitzchak, by the way) I spend time reading them.  They’re actually good additions to our library, for the simple fact that we don’t have a lot of “easy” reading around here.

Today, I decided not to get on the computer until around Shlomo’s bedtime.  (He is in bed, by the way.)  The book that I have been perusing for the past few days is “The Committed Life“, by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.  It’s a book I’ve skimmed before, but she’s an excellent storyteller and someone that I really admire.  So, without being paid for this, I am quoting two paragraphs that I think are right on target for today’s society:

. . . Pearl’s husband was a good man, devoted to his wife and children.  Because he couldn’t earn a living, he was held in contempt.  Were he a ruthless, nasty, but successful businessman, no one in the family would have suggested to Pearl that she seek a divorce.  There is something profoundly wrong with a value system that measures a man not by what he is, but by what he has. (pg. 65)

And then she says, later:

 . . . “Rebbetzin, I agree with everything you say, but if I don’t live with the person I’m seeing, I’m afraid he’ll walk out on me.”

” . . . You’re so afraid, so you give the guy everything he wants without any commitment on his part.  You move in with him, so now he has a girlfriend, a cook, a housekeeper, a companion – all free of charge with no responsibilities.  You convince yourself that you can trust him when he says, ‘Eventually we’ll get married, honey, I’m just not ready yet.’  A year goes by, then two, and then, as in your case, three years.  Meanwhile, your biological clock is ticking away, and with every year that passes, the prospect of having a family becomes more and more remote.  Should you bring up the subject of marriage, he puts you off with, ‘Not yet!’  Finally, if you really press, he may break up or agree, but even if he agrees, it doesn’t mean a thing, as you so well know.  At the last minute, after living together for three years, he suddenly discovers that he loves you, but there are some issues that separate you.  . . . countless couples who live together only to divorce after they were married.  . . . ” (pp. 262-263)

So, what do you think?

(This one is from December 30, 2012, but I think its message is timeless.)

Rules in Our House

rule sheets, what you can do, what you can't do, rules, regulations

1) No playing with matches or touching them, unless you found it and are giving it immediately to an adult.

2) No playing with plugs, or sockets.

3) You may not go outside without permission.  (The flip side is, ‘You must lock the sliding thing at the top of the door every time someone goes out or in.’)

4) No banging your chair back so that it tilts on a diagonal.  (This used to be annoying and damaging to the chair.  Now it is also dangerous.)

5) No hitting or biting, either yourself or anyone else.

6) The parent who put you in time out is the parent who ends the time out.

7) Do not throw anything that is not soft.  (Ducks, pillows, and scarves are allowed to be thrown, and are often thrown as part of a game.  Balls are not included, either.)

8) If you throw your food or dump your bowl, you are officially done.

9) If you choose not to eat supper, you get nothing except water until 6:00am.  (This sounds awful, but it’s really not.  He either chooses to eat, or chooses to sleep.  This became a rule because he wanted to play instead of eating supper a few times, which lead to sleepless nights.  After two or three nights in a row, I understood that it was a game and a habit – that gained him more playtime, and attention in the middle of the night.  So, we made the rule.  It only had to be tested once, and now he makes his choice and accepts the consequences.  Yeah, it was awful.  Yeah, it was mean.  But oh, man, was it necessary.  And better now, when he can’t get out of bed, than later, when he’ll be able to.)

10) Only Mommy milk is instant.  Everything else takes at least a few minutes to prepare.  Since you chose not to drink Mommy milk anymore, you no longer have instant food.  And not always, at every second, can we give you attention.  The moment we can, we will.

11) Writing is only on paper.  Not on laundry baskets, floors, walls, or buckets.

12) You can take a big-person book off the shelf to read it.  You may not take it off the shelf to step on it or otherwise harm it.  Books that get torn will get you put in time-out (only since he started ripping books to see how we were going to react; before that, we took the book away and told him that we don’t rip books).

13) After you make a mess, you have to help clean up.  After you help clean up, you get lots of praise.

14) When someone is talking to you, listen.  (This is a rule for the parents, too.)

15) If you hurt someone, you have to apologize, give a hug, and do “gentle”.  Hitting in order to get attention, gets you none.  If you want something, ask nicely.

Rules for the parents:

a) Do not make a rule that you cannot or will not uphold.  It lowers your status considerably.  (I learned this from my own parents, the hard way.)

b) Choose your battles.  If it’s not dangerous, and he’ll grow out of the stage, let it be.  For instance, if he wants to wear a belt with an outfit that doesn’t need it, or if he wants to mismatch his clothes, let it be.  No kid does this after they’ve grown up.  Or, if he wants to take all his clothes out of his drawers, let it be.  It takes about ten minutes to put them away neatly, and five seconds to dump them in.  No kid does this when they grow up – unless they’re looking for something.  So, let it be.  Ditto for your clothes.  But not for Dad’s pants that must be folded a certain way; those you have to teach the kid not to touch.

c) Stick with your rules, and give appropriate punishments.  For instance, banging the furniture next to your playpen at 2:00am cannot be punished with time-out, because both parent and child need to go to sleep and are overtired.  So, the punishment is psychological:  Tell the kid that he had a choice of where to sleep, but now, since he made a bad choice, Mommy is going to decide where he sleeps.  Then put him back in the playpen (note: playpen has been out of use for months now), which was what you were going to do anyways.  Note that this is not really a punishment, but it sounds like one to the child, who doesn’t know whether or not you were going to let him decide.  Also note that the option of pushing punishment off until morning is kind of stupid when the child is less than two years old.

d) Don’t do something that you’ll regret later.  For instance, don’t go out when it’s almost naptime.  If you do decide to risk it, be prepared for either a very late nap and a later bedtime, or for a very cranky toddler.  Either way, you have only yourself to blame.

e) Anything that you do not want to see played with, needs to go high up.  Otherwise, you have only yourself to blame.

f) Items on the counter must be at least two inches from the edge.

g) Act mad, don’t be mad.  And even if it’s so funny that you can’t be mad, you’d better play the part, or the kid will never learn.

h) Save the real anger and yelling for the big stuff – like running into the street.  Ditto for slaps.

i) Something you don’t like – time-out.  Something moderately dangerous (picking up the cord to the fan or a box of matches) – gets a gentle slap on each hand and time out.  Something extremely dangerous (trying to plug the cord in, opening the box of matches, running into the street) gets a not-so-gentle slap on each hand, three slaps on the bottom that wear the parent out and barely hurt the kid – there’s a diaper, remember – and time out.

j) Messing around with documents like birth certificates, passports, and the like is categorized as “moderately dangerous”, earning a gentle slap on each hand and time-out.

l) When the child is playing or reading nicely, or helping out, give lots of specific praise.  (“Wow, you really listened quickly; I didn’t even finish the sentence!” or “This is going so fast.  There’s no way I’d be able to clean everything up this fast without your help.”  or “You knew just what I needed!  I didn’t even have to look for my shoes!”)

m) Admit when you are wrong, and apologize for it.

n) Kids are smart; treat them as such.  Teach them what they can touch and what they cannot.  Teach them to take responsibility for, and to accept the consequences, of their actions.

o) Take responsibility for your actions and accept the consequences of them.  Yeah, many adults have issues with this.  That’s a big problem, but it’s not one of mine, not one of Yitzchak’s, and won’t be a problem for any of our kids, G-d willing.

(This one is from November 2012.  See what happens when I go through five pages of drafts?)

Do We Live on Stress?

Two days ago, I realized that I had to de-stress.  I am the type that worries about everything.  The specific thing that I was stressed about is irrelevant at the moment.   At any rate, I started thinking of ways to relax.  And then it hit me:  I don’t know how to relax.  I function by being stressed, by stressing myself out.  If I’m not stressed, I don’t function well.

I work last-minute; I procrastinate.  Then, at the last moment, I do what I need to.  One example is my seminar paper (or B.Ed. paper, or whatever you want to call it).  I pushed it off and pushed it off and pushed it off, and I handed it in at the last minute, after working on it for about two nights and one day.  It scored an 85%, which, in my opinion, is pretty good for such a last-minute paper, with last-minute interviews.

I told Yitzchak, “You know, I don’t think I know how to relax.”  He replied, “Really?  What makes you think that?”
Me: “Well, I’m always stressed, and I don’t think I ever really relax totally.”

Him: “I can’t fathom why you would think that!”

Me: “Are you being sarcastic?”

Him: “Obviously!  You seem to like stressing yourself out.”

This got me thinking: How many of us are so wound up that we can’t relax?  How many of us are so stressed out that we equate even less-stressed with completely relaxed, because, to us, it is?  How many of us stress ourselves out on a daily basis, over things that matter and things that don’t?

Things that matter: Paying the bills, eating nutritious meals, taking care of the kids.  Things that don’t: Buying a fancy gift for the birthday party, making a fancy birthday party, buying a new car (assuming the old one is servicable).

More things that matter: Making sure that you communicate well with your spouse, that the two of you support each other’s opinion and parenting, at least in front of the kids.  Making sure that you get enough sleep that you will be able to function the next day.  Making sure that you and your family are healthy, and know basic safety guidelines.

More things that don’t: Buying a new computer when your old one is still good, buying an Ipad5, being friends with everyone, making sure you don’t miss any social events, making sure your house is always super-clean.

See what I mean?  We all stress ourselves out about things that don’t matter so much.  I’m guilty of it too; we all are.  But is this stress good for us?  What will really matter in ten years?  I think we all need to take a step back and think foward: Which of these things will continue to matter?  Which will not matter in ten years, or in twenty years?  If my child isn’t sitting quietly, why is that?  Because he’s a toddler?  Because he’s a hyperactive 7 year old?  Or because he is rude and violent?  Only the last one is a problem that needs to be solved; usually, toddlers grow out of their toddlerhood, and hyperactive seven-year-olds learn to sit through business meetings.  So do I really have to worry about what the people on the bus, who I will probably never see agian, think of me?  Should I even bother?

I am trying to take a deep breath and relax.  I try to envision my ideal life (which is not unrealistic, by the way).  I try to see myself as if I am there now, feeling calm, relaxed, happy.  I try to feel the relaxation that I am pinning on the image in the daydream.  I close my eyes, lie down, and imagine it.  I try to think of ways to relax.  Unfortunately, spending time with my MIL in quiet L. is not feasible at the moment, because we can’t get away right now.  But, I can imagine how it would be, and that is also relaxing.

(Note: This was written last December.  As in, December 2012.  Now, thank G-d, we live in a much quieter city.  Though I wouldn’t mind visiting my mother-in-law, I don’t dream of visiting her nice, quiet city the way I used to.)

Malaysia – Again

Reading NBC news – and listening to their videos – has gotten me kind of annoyed.

First of all, there are the debris sightings – which could be nothing, obviously – and oil slicks – which, again, could be and probably are nothing.

Second, these guys don’t sound very convincing.  The former pilot, Tom Casey, said that there’s always enough time for a mayday call.  He also said, when asked if he thought that the it was credible that plane was taken over and then ran out of fuel, said, “I think the people who are closes to the investigation think it is.”  In other words, he is keeping his opinion to himself.  And here Greg Feith, an aviation expert says explicitly that he is skeptical that what we’ve found is debris from the plane.

Third, if you’re going to claim that it’s a hijacking and the planes were flown south on purpose, then:

a) Where were they going and why were they going there?  Were they going to bring down a tower in Atlantis?

b) A plane is hijacked and the hijackers don’t know how much fuel remains, so they run out in the middle of the flight and it crashes?  Huh?

c) A plane is hijacked and then downed, but they made sure to use up all the fuel first?  Got news for you buddies, if someone is going to down a plane they usually prefer it to have a lot of fuel, not to be on empty.  Give me a break.

d) If you admit that it was hijacked, why under the sun can’t you admit that flying south is useless?  Unless, of course, they wanted to down the plane immediately, but we know that that’s not what they did.

Fourth, time is running out and they insist on exclusively searching useless places.  If the plane is there, then we’re done.  If it’s not, we’ve wasted another week searching exclusively south while terrorists are getting ready to attack.

Go, brilliant governments.  We’re all proud of you.  And Israel will be prouder when we down the nuke over Iraq when you didn’t even know it existed.

___________________________________________________________

from A.B.C. News

from A.B.C. News

Now the investigators have come up with two possible flight paths delineating and area for search.  Given that the search paths were made by taking the distances for the pings and connecting them on the straightest line possible, while assuming constant speed, Yitzchak decided to try to reflect them north instead of south (using Google Earth, Paint, and Mercator maps with Euclidean geometry) because he suspected that their northern paths would lead to Iran, which would be further proof that the plane might very well be in Iran.  If you remember some of my previous posts, this new piece of information (the ping path) would probably make the green line (Keith’s) the most likely flight path.  Now I am giving the computer to Yitzchak so that I don’t have to listen to him dictating and consequently confusing me with information that is disorganized and slightly contradictory to the ideas in my own head.

Here he is:

As mentioned previously by my wife, I made an extremely approximate effort to find the northern reflection for the suggested flight path, which unsurprisingly ends near Iran’s northeastern corner. This flight path passes over a significant portion of India’s airspace, which is a question for others, at another time.  (See the theory that the plane hid in the shadow of other planes.)

Of course, the question arises, why?  What would be the benefit in stealing so large a plane, if you are not going to crash it immediately?  This has been the questioned brandied about to dismiss the idea of a 9/11 style hijacking, and I feel it lacks imagination.  Whenever we involve ourselves in such questions (in our case, the hijacking possibility) we need to perform a “red team” analysis.  This would mean considering the potential value, or benefit that such a plane might have, and what problems it might solve.

To consider this from another point of view, first generational nuclear weapons are large, often on the order of 5 tons.*  They are also very physically large, almost impossible to carry on an external hard-point.  The missiles which Iran is currently in possession of are woefully inadequate to port anything near this size and weight, which is unsurprising.  The US did not begin mounting nuclear warheads on missiles until the later 1950s, after considerable success in miniaturization. This, amusingly leaves Iran in a comical position: possessing a nuclear weapon, but being unable to use it except to blow themselves up.

They could, of course, design a significantly smaller warhead than the standard starting 20 kt.  Yet, if their target is in fact Israel, according to the US DoD’s manual on the effects of nuclear weapons (3rd edition),  a 20 kt. warhead will  hardly be more effective than putting your finger into the ground hole of a hornet nest.  This will, effectively, give Israel permission to turn Iran into a large work of glassy art.

This leaves Iran (given that they are, in fact, looking to use a nuclear weapon) in a sticky situation, possessing a capacity to create nuclear weapons, but leaving them without a credible or useful delivery mechanism.  Meanwhile, if Israel receives a whiff of an actual weapon on the ground, Iran faces the very real possibility of being subject to a nuclear first strike, so what can they do?

The answer would be to load the bomb onto a civilian plane.  This has the added benefit of being able to mask the assault as a regular passenger flight, either by mirroring a flight, or even downing the flight in question using small bombs while replacing it with the newly painted version while claiming electrical difficulties.  Such a plane might even be placed over a major city.  However, after answering this question, I was struck with the excessive size of a Boeing 777, and then asked myself a question.  If a primitive atomic weapon is large, so too, are hydrogen weapons.  In fact, not only are they large, but early versions were horrifically unreliable.  The test concept, Ivy Mike, was designed to be as conservative as possible, ignoring considerations of size and deliverability, and using liquid deuterium and tritium instead of lithium deuturide.  It was a building that weighed 85 tons.  Sure enough, the 777 can carry 150 tons.  My first question, would be whether or not the primary (atomic trigger for the hydrogen) could be made of a simpler U235 gun weapon.  Such a device might not even require testing to be effective.

(While a 20 kt. weapon would be mostly ineffective against Israeli concrete architecture, a 10 megaton weapons would be much more effective.  Not only would it be more effective, but it could be used as a limited range EMP device or used to destroy an entire American city, even the size of New York.)

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*Explanation for how Yitzchak jumped from talking about a 5 ton bomb to a 85 ton bomb:  If they cannot deliver a five ton bomb because it is too big for anything they currently have available, the size becomes irrelevant.  However, no one would think that Iran would specifically make a bomb the size of Ivy Mike, except that instead of hijacking a 757 (which would deliver their primitive nuclear bomb) they stole a 777.  Which, obviously, means that they must have something bigger in mind.

Don’t Forget Your Laptop!

So, this may sound obvious, but. . . why is it very, very important not to forget your bag on the bus?

Reason:  It might get blown up.

No, that’s not a joke.  Honest.  Here in Israel, bags that are forgotten on a bus – or at a bus stop, or anywhere else – will be blown up by the police.  If an item is spotted and no one has claimed it for all of five minutes, it is dubbed a “suspicious object“.  I.e., it could be a bomb, or some other explosive device, left by terrorists who did not want to harm themselves.

What happens is as follows:

1) Someone reports it.

1a) The police call him back to ask a few questions.

2) The police send over some officers, along with a special police car that’s equipped to handle these instances.

3) The police clear the area for about 50 meters around (don’t quote me, I’m not good with distances).

3a) They make sure that there are officers keeping everyone away.

3b) They drive their car (which I think has a robot) to the object in question.

4) They blow up the suspicious object.

5) Crowd hears a big BANG!

6) The police clean the area up and leave.

If the item proves to be innocent, which it usually does, they try to find the owner so that they can return the item.  So, if you forgot your laptop on a bus, you might just get it back, blown to bits, two weeks later.

(This post is from November 8, 2013 (2012? I think I wrote 2013 by accident.), but was never published.  I’m not sure why, so I’m publishing it now.)