Second Jerusalem Update—Another Letter, 9 July 2014

After last night’s excitement with the alert sirens and bomb shelter foray, things quieted down here. Apparently rocket fire from Gaza also slowed down in the night, but picked up again in the morning. While Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport have had rocket attacks today, according to local media, it appears that the Iron Dome anti-missile defense intercepted them. Jerusalem remains quiet so far (it’s about 4 pm our time as I’m writing this). Rocket fire remains intense in the south of the country, and rockets have struck within a few kilometers of Haifa. The rockets near Haifa in the north mark a significantly larger range for Hamas.

Iron Dome launch (archive photo)

Israel’s attacks on Gaza have continued with some intensity. Civilian casualties have been reported in the media, an unfortunate consequence of the violence. Israeli ground troops reportedly are near the border and likely will be used in Gaza. The BBC reports that photos being posted on social media as purportedly from Gaza now are also from as long ago as 2009 and from Syria and Iraq, not from Gaza. Still, no doubt living in Gaza right now would be hellish.

Today has been a mostly normal day. Moshe has a virus, so is home. There are indications of the war zone—some daycares closed today because they don’t have adequate safe room space, many public events (especially those in open spaces) have been canceled by order of the government (exceptions for large events only if they have adequate shelter space close enough to the venue for all in attendance—which is unlikely); and a lot of social media discussion about the situation. However, people are in cafés (Moshe and I had chocolate milk and coffee ourselves at a nearby coffee shop).

The weirdest thing for me today—as last night—was talking to Moshe about all of this, well enough for him to be prepared for more shelter excursions should they be necessary. I took him on a daylight tour of the bomb shelter to familiarize him with it. We showed him the video of the children’s Code Red song. He liked it, dancing with the children in the video and laughing when they did.

Aviva went to work. I didn’t do much work as I was home with Moshe and his virus, but I’m just grading papers at the end of the academic year now anyway. My lack of work was not directly related to the situation. Life largely goes on here, and many say this is necessary to keep terrorism from “winning.”

The horrendous recent political murders of the four teens continue to spark outrage here, too. Many, possibly most, Israelis are more shocked and dismayed by the Jews murdering the Palestinian teen than the three teens murdered by Palestinians. Over 300 Israeli Jews organized by Tag Meir (pronounced / tag my-ear / ), an anti-racist group, visited the mourning tent of the Abu Khdeir family to express condolences to the Palestinian parents and rejection of violence. Hebron Palestinians visited the Fraenkel family mourning tent, also to convey their personal condolences and rejection of violence. These gestures provide glimmers of hope. If enough regular folk on both sides can stand up like this, something could change.

Meanwhile, I keep listening for sirens. I have added an app to my phone developed in 2012 during the last battle(s) that sets off an alarm on the phone when the siren signal goes out, set for Jerusalem. But I’m mostly spending my time encouraging Moshe to drink water and watching Finding Nemo with him, playing with blocks, too.

Tanks near the Gaza Border

Tanks near the Gaza Border

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