Thursday, November 15, 2012

Imma it's an emergency situation, we NEED chocolate!

At around 02:00 last night there was an almighty hullabaloo outside our building with a car pulling up outside, much frantic slamming of doors, good natured spirited chatter and laughter and from the sound of it many many people getting out and running up the stairs to our building.

Today I noticed an unfamiliar infant buggy in the hall. Turns out our upstairs neighbours are hosting relatives from the south, quite a number of them. More than one vehicle's worth by my estimate. That would explain all the door banging.

In some towns within rocket range where school has been cancelled due to the security situation the local municipalities have arranged day trips for the children to safer parts of the country. Many of my friends' kids have spent the day in Jerusalem.

For our part we've invited friends from the south to come to stay with us, but most insisted they were staying in the south, putting their faith in the Iron Dome anti-missile system to intercept most of the rockets from Gaza and not wishing to send the message that Hamas could chase them from their homes.

Maybe they were on to something. This evening just as my husband was just leaving Tel Aviv on his way home from work the sirens wailed over the city, sending people scattering for cover by the side of the road. My husband and several friends reported hearing booms, apparently Iron Dome intercepting rockets. It's the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein fired Scuds at Israel, that the air raid sirens have sounded over the Tel Aviv region.

When my daughter heard the new about Tel Aviv this evening she took out the little Home Front Command "What to do in an emergency" booklet from it's place next to the phone book and proceeded to read the entire thing out loud to me, chiding me for not having the plastic sheeting and other essential emergency equipment ready in our Mamad, or "secure room", the small reenforced shelter room all modern Israeli homes have been built with since the rocket attacks of the 1991 Gulf War.

I pointed out that a)not all of the items mentioned in the booklet were relevant to our current situation b) if we filled our Mamad with all the stuff recommended by Home Front Command there wouldn't actually be any room in it for us!

Then she asked if we could at least get some emergency rations like chocolate and Bamba (peanut butter fluff snacks, an Israeli institution), you know, so that her toddler little brother won't get nervous in case we have to go to the shelter.

I went back into the kitchen to finish clearing up from dinner and there she was with her favourite My Little Pony blanket, map of the world pillow and a stack of books ready to set up a cosy corner for herself in the Mamad, "Just in case there are sirens tonight Imma."

I explained to her that while our small town is technically in range now, as far as we know the Hamas people in Gaza shooting the rockets don't have that many long range rockets and anyway, they have their sights set on bigger and more important cities. Also there is the Iron Dome anti-missile system that thank God has managed to intercept many rockets before the could hit Israel. And in any case, if the siren did go we would probably just spend a short time in the shelter, not like in the towns and villages right next to Gaza where they only have 15 seconds warning time.

Finally I said to her "You know how quickly you can get to the shelter, we've done quite a few drills and we've done timed race games so that Toddler will know too, I think you'll be fine."

My daughter looked at me thoughtfully. "Well Imma, you are probably right about these sorts of strategic issues, but I think I'd like to set up a cosy corner in the Mamad just the same, you know, in case you're wrong."

Here's hoping and praying that our boys and girls in green get the rocket launchers before they can launch any more.

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