Hamas’ Tunnel Plans

If you were wondering what Hamas was planning to do with the tunnels it was digging between Gaza and Israel, here’s the answer.  They were planning a massive massacre, to be carried out on the holiday of Rosh Hashana (in about two months).  Remember what happened to the Fogels?  Multiply that by a thousand.

Egypt, by the way, has been a good friend.  They’ve destroyed a number of tunnels (though their tunnels are different than ours; theirs are smuggling tunnels and the ones we’re destroying are meant for kidnapping, running, and hiding)  between Gaza and Sinai, and have killed quite a few terrorists.  Obviously, they have personal interest in doing this – it’s not just for us.  But it sure helps.

Of Shelters and Illegal Settlements

Another post that I wrote on Sunday (July 20).

I feel bad for the Bedouins that were hurt yesterday (Shabbat, July 19).  Really, I do.  They didn’t deserve it and for the first time, my heart hurts for a Muslim.  But when I hear complaints, I get annoyed.

First of all, if you are building illegally – and these people are not in a legal settlement, nor do they want to be* – then you have no right to complain that the country is not helping you out.  The government would help, and has offered to help, you relocate to a legal location.  The offer was angrily rejected.

Second of all, not every place has a shelter.  There are neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and here, and everywhere, that do not have shelters.  Sometimes there is a communal shelter, sometimes there is a single neighborhood shelter that is not easily accessible to everyone.  And sometimes there is nothing, and you do the best you can, according to the instructions of the Home Front Command.

Yitzchak and I happen to be safety freaks.  One of our criteria for choosing an apartment, with the exception of the first one we lived in, before we had Shlomo, was that it have easy access to a shelter.  We would prefer a safe room in the house, but that is not a reality yet.  However, we do have a shelter, shared by our neighbors, that opens with a key that we have a copy of, within the amount of time allotted.

Another of our criteria was no less than a minute of time to run, preferable a minute and a half.  These are our criteria, and we are nuts and admit it, and if these were also the criteria of the Bedouin family that was hurt, they would not have been hurt – because they would have chosen to live in a different place.  Yes, we are crazy.  (Example: I plan furniture arrangements and picture hanging around what would happen if there was an earthquake.)  But we are also blessing our craziness every single day.  So while I do feel for them, and hurt for them, and do not believe they deserved to be hurt – I also do not think that the anger at the government is justified.  There are people who are spending most of their day in sewage pipes that serve as movable shelters.  They are constantly barraged with rockets, and yet the government can only offer sewage pipes.  And we’re not talking about ten minutes once a day.  We’re talking about ten minutes twenty times a day.  And these people are in legal settlements, and they are Jews.  In addition, I have friends who live in areas with only fifteen seconds and without a proper bomb shelter, or even a sewage pipe, nearby – they just go to the innermost room in their home.  In Be’er Sheva, there are 50,000 people without access to a bomb shelter.  So don’t tell me about illegal Bedouin settlements and how the government doesn’t care about them, specifically.  The government isn’t helping a lot of people.  JNF, though, is thankfully picking up some of the slack – not just for Bedouins, but for legal, Jewish cities as well.

The only good thing about the rocket having hit Bedouins is that maybe Hamas will think twice after they found out that they hit their own brothers.  Maybe.  But knowing Hamas – who has no issue using children as human shields – maybe not.  It’s still a possibility, though.

 

 

*I get mad about destroying Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria because the vast majority of homes that get destroyed were legally built, with all the proper paperwork, and then someone decided to make trouble.  This is different – these homes were never legal in the first place.

Planning Around the Sirens

I wrote this post while sitting in the library on July 20.

Last Friday (July 12) Yitzchak went to the store.  We kept Shlomo home just in case there was a siren, because his gan doesn’t have a shelter.  But, what to do? As I said previously, I can’t carry him down.  So Shlomo and I played outside during the heatwave, for an hour and a half, so that we would be withing Shlomo’s running distance of the shelter.

*We canceled a meeting in a neighboring city on July 10, because of the possibility of a siren while on the road, and not wanting to leave Shlomo in gan while both of us went to the meeting.  It’s not that we never have this concern about both of us being out of the city while Shlomo is in gan, but this time was a tad different, if you get what I mean.  So we canceled.

*Before we leave the house, we go through the route in our heads, to make sure that there will always be a shelter within a few seconds from us, no matter where we are on the route.

*Before Yitzchak goes to the store in the evening, we think twice.  What if there’s a siren while he’s gone?

*Yitzchak measured the amount of time it takes him to bound up the stairs.  If he’s at the bottom and runs to the top to get Shlomo, will we still have time before our minute is up?

*Yesterday (Shabbat, July 19) after the siren, our neighbors wondered whether they should walk their dog or if there would be another siren.  I errantly said that we usually had a few hours in between sirens, so it should be fine.  They left, and about ten minutes later I felt stupid for giving them bad advice.

*I’m sitting in the library (July 20), waiting for a long time to receive my 2-step verification code from Gmail.  I have a project to finish.  Behind me, the librarians are setting up an area for some kind of slideshow or video.  They debate whether to move the tables in the back of the room to somewhere else, just in case everyone has to run out of the room.

The irony of planning life around whether or not there will be a siren.  We don’t change everything, because we can’t change everything, because you can’t just stop life in the middle.  But it’s the little changes in thinking, planning, and how we do things that are the most poignant examples of what it’s like to live under threat of rockets.

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.

 

Shlomo’s Reaction to the Sirens

Most of you remember me writing about how Shlomo dealt with Operation Defensive Shield.  Suffice it to say that now he is dealing with the situation much differently.  Probably because of a combination of his age and the number of sirens.  In Defensive Shield, he was younger and we only had two or three sirens.  And still, if we forgot to warn him before a drill, he would sometimes get scared.

This time is different.  Much different, much worse.  And I can’t say I blame him.

Shlomo has woken up from nightmares almost every night this past week.  He’s not sleeping well; he can’t sleep well.  A few nights ago he woke up crying that the “shoshanim” (the lights in his room) hurt him.  It’s a story for another post, but suffice it to say that I was extremely happy, because at least it was his normal three-year-old fear, and not another woo-woo (air-raid siren) dream.  Every other nightmare he’s had has been about woo-woos.  He wakes up crying, sleeptalking about woo-woos.

He sleeps with us.  Either he comes to us in the middle of the night, or he insists on going to sleep in our room, or he wakes up in the middle of the night and won’t go back to sleep unless he’s with us.  We let it be.  Yitzchak feels better having Shlomo beside him, even though if you count the seconds, it takes about the same amount of time to pull Shlomo out of his spot by the wall as it takes to pick him up out of his own bed.

During the day, Shlomo goes back and forth between asking for another woo-woo and saying that he doesn’t want one because he’s scared.  He tells me what he does when there is a woo-woo in gan and what we will do if there is a woo-woo at home.   He told me that Friday’s woo-woo didn’t have a boom (the ones in the Iron Dome videos that we show him when he asks for a woo-woo do have booms, obviously, but if you’re in a shelter you don’t usually hear a boom).

Shlomo was sick these past few days.  I think a big part of it – and why it wasn’t just a 24 hour bug – is because he’s not sleeping well.  Which, obviously, is because of the sirens.

He doesn’t want Yitzchak to leave the house without him.  We live on the fourth floor, and the shelter is all the way at the entrance level.  Shlomo could walk down, true, but it would take two minutes and we only have one.  Thank G-d he’s a pretty big kid (height and weight both) and I just can’t pick him up anymore.  When we had an earthquake a few months ago I did, but I regretted it for a few days afterwards and just can’t chance having to run the day after hurting my back.  Obviously, if I had to, I would pick Shlomo up and run, but we are doing everything possible to avoid me having to do that.  So, Yitzchak carries Shlomo down to the shelter.  And because of that, Shlomo is clinging to Yitzchak.  And when I say clinging, I mean clinging – like you’ve never seen a three-year-old do.

I miss the days of Shlomo refusing to go to sleep because he was scared that the “shoshanim” would hurt him.  Yes, it was annoying.  But at least it’s a normal three-year-old irrational fear.  When I go to the bathroom, Shlomo also points out that I don’t fall in the toilet, neither does Yitzchak, and neither does he.  He insists on falling asleep with light.  And it looks like the “shoshanim” fear is instead of the fear of the drain – probably because Shlomo likes to plunge the shower drain and therefore isn’t scared of it.  But all in all, annoying as the “shoshanim” fear is (and sometimes it’s just an excuse to stay up), it’s normal.

Nightmares are not.

And nightmares about woo-woos (AKA air raid sirens) are certainly not.

It makes me mad that my kid is waking up from nightmares every night because of a stupid, inhumane, terrorist group that kills its own children, tries to kill ours, and then blames us for everything.  It makes me mad that because of terrorists – who are murderers, by the way – my kid can’t sleep.

Hamas, and terrorists everywhere, I have a message for you:

אשרי שישלם לך את גמולך שגמלת לנו.  אשרי שיאחז וניפץ את עולליך על הסלע.

This post was written on July 20, while we were waiting for the daily siren, which had not yet come.  Thank G-d, it didn’t come, and hasn’t come – the two in a row on July 19 were the last two so far (watch me jinx myself by writing this . . .).  However, Shlomo is still getting over the trauma, little by little.  It’s going to be a long process, I think.  And Yitzchak and I still jump at unexpected loud noises, especially engines starting up and ambulance sirens.

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.

——————————————————————-

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.)