It was bound to happen sooner or later. Everyone here knew it. After all, when you fail to finish the job, just as the Israelites in the Bible, you’re going to be left with a thorn in your side.
Ever since the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers, a steady rocket fire has been coming out of the Gaza strip.
It was a rocket here and there at first, gradually increasing, until yesterday’s culmination of 160 rockets towards virtually all parts of Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and even Hadera (about halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa).
Yesterday morning, the IDF announced the calling of 40,000 reservists, and Operation Protective Edge (Tzuk Eitan – literally High or Strong Rock) began.
In addition to rocket fire, five Hamas terrorists were spotted yesterday, just before sundown, coming from the sea into Israel’s territory close to the border with Gaza. Because of the alertness of a female soldier, they were taken out within minutes, averting a disaster effecting soldiers and civilians in the area.
Even as I’m trying to write this blog, rockets are falling in various parts of Israel. A couple of hours ago 5 rockets were shot down by the life-saving Iron Dome over Tel Aviv.
Thankfully, there have been no serious injuries and no deaths. I give all the credit to our Father in heaven for that.
However, we must not forget the faces behind the facts. Behind every rocket that falls, or is intercepted and destroyed before it reaches its destination, there are people: they are soldiers… they are children, mothers, fathers, the elderly…
Though I’ve seen hundreds of times the glimpse of horror in the eyes of people in southern Israel after each attack, experiencing war in person brings out emotions that cannot be easily described.
I could not help but think about all the people in the south, who have been living with this reality daily for a few weeks now… and even before that. All the children whose summer camps were cancelled and are forced to stay home, since they only have 30 to 45 seconds from the time of Red Alert until they have to be in the shelters. I thought about all the children in Gaza who are being held hostage by the blood-thirsty Hamas and their likes.
Last night, my family and I were watching TV. My two girls were tucked safely in their beds. They went to their daycares in the morning. They came home and played. They had their baths and ate their dinner. I kissed them goodnight and they fell asleep happy as can be.
The events that followed just after 9pm made me realize how privileged beyond measure we have been to have a day without interruptions of attacks on our town just north of Tel Aviv.
Suddenly, the reports started coming in very quickly of Red Alerts… and these sirens were sounding across Israel, in areas far beyond the Gaza proximity. It was Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and small towns around the greater Tel Aviv area… these flashes were accompanied with images of rockets being fired from the strip. Some were intercepted in the air by the incredible Iron Dome. Some, which were destined to fall in unpopulated areas continued traveling. Each time we saw a flash in the sky and a rocket go down without harm it was like a little victory.
And then, the dark screen of the TV (it was after sunset, and the camera was toward the Gaza strip that is quite dark) lit up like the fourth of July. Simultaneously, it seemed like a dozen rockets were fired… and a few second later a dozen more… and then again…
In a couple more seconds, the Red Alert alarms went off near our house.
What goes through the mind of a mother during these moments is indescribable. Because we are beyond Tel Aviv, we have 90 seconds to get into a protected area. In our apartment, there isn’t one. The decision making process, much like the analytical thinking of Sherlock Holmes, is so quick, it can hardly be traced back.
Here’s some of my train of thoughts:
My girls sleep in different rooms. To get them both out of bed will take longer than 90 seconds. By then it will be over. I don’t want to scare them by taking them out of beds in the middle of the night, so I think I will just let them sleep. I am not afraid of the arrow by night… The Lord will just have to protect us extra carefully tonight. Father, please protect us and let the girls sleep through whatever follows.
All this took less than two seconds to process, and with my heart beating out of my chest, I, against all reasoning and advise, ran up to the roof of the apartment, from where I can see Tel Aviv and surrounding areas.
It is only when with my own eyes I saw three fireballs light the sky several miles south of me, signaling that the rockets have been shot down by the Iron Dome, that I realized how real and close to home the danger was, and how God must love me, my girls and all Israel. It made me realize that all the prayers of those who love Israel – those who read mine and other posts asking for prayer in real time – make a huge difference in our reality.
I want to thank you for your prayers. I thank God for His protection. His army of angels is, no doubt, surrounding our country these very moments. Please don’t stop them, as the coming days will continue to be hard on all Israel.