Back in January, I joined a Hebrew-language forum on a site that caters to religious Jews. As with all communities, it takes a while to get used to the unwritten rules. I had a few ups and downs, but have pretty much become part of the online community and settled in.
Last night someone started a thread on what to do when there is an air-raid siren. She asked for tips from people living in areas that get a lot of sirens and rockets. She has two kids: a two year old who sleeps in the next room, and a baby who sleeps in the parents’ room. Their “protected space” is an alcove by their front door. She has 60 seconds to get them both in. And her question was how should she do it, if her husband happens to not be home at that moment. If he is home, it’s simple – they each take one kid. But if he’s not, how will she manage to get both kids into the protected space within 60 seconds?
It’s a really sad question, and a tough one, too. It’s something that I think about a lot. Right after Shlomo was born, Yitzchak and I made an earthquake plan and a rocket plan and a chemical-weapon plan. And we started putting together an emergency kit, equipped to deal with all three situations (it’s not finished yet – most of what is missing is food and appropriate clothing for chemical attacks).
Her question got a lot of answers. Some people said that they just gave up – they can’t get all their kids into the protected space within fifteen seconds, and they can’t choose, either. Some people said that 60 seconds is a lot of time. I guess that depends. But if your protected space is nearby, and you have a minute and a half until the rocket falls, that time can feel like forever (I know). One person said that technically they have fifteen seconds, but she often hears the rocket fall within that time.
And the saddest response was someone who wrote that they listen to where the siren is coming from, and if it’s not close, they don’t go. That means that they’ve been listening and detecting where the siren is coming from for way too long.
And that’s really, really sad.
Just remind me – who is occupying who over here?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Me, I’m not willing to give up my minute and a half. I want to move somewhere where we’ll have at least that amount of time, and if we have two minutes, all the better. I know that in the middle of the night it’s not fun. But at least in the daytime, when you’re not necessarily beside a safe room, you have time to run.
And I won’t rent an apartment without a safe room. And the safe room will be the kids’ room.
One person wrote that during Operation Cast Lead, she was in charge of a branch of one of the youth groups, and her branch invited a branch from the line of fire to join them. The two branches started playing tag. Guess who ran faster . . .
Then, of course, there’s always the emotional effects of the sirens.
I think the best thing that could happen is that Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other terrorist organizations will get mad at each other and do the dirty work for us. Then, at least, we will have quiet.
In the meantime, Netanyahu doesn’t seem to care about what’s happening, as long as it doesn’t affect him personally. Neither does the rest of the world, of course, but that’s not surprising; it’s pretty much expected.
Note: Not every apartment has a safe room. Sometimes the “protected space” is just the space the has the fewest outdoor walls and is not the kitchen or the bathroom. Some apartment buildings have a first-floor bomb shelter that all the tenants use, even the ones on the fourth floor or higher. And some apartment buildings don’t have anything, and you have to choose, in a split second, whether to make a run for the neighborhood bomb shelter (which may be too far away or too old to be really safe) or the stairwell (which may be better than staying where you are but not necessarily is it 100% safe).