Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Winston Churchill once famously quipped, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result”.
While that may be technically true (having been shot at, I can provide my own affirmative data-point to the body of research), the famous quote doesn’t begin to address the fairly obvious question of what it feels like before you know the shot has missed you.
I can say with authority that glib media phrases such as ‘crude, home-made rockets’ and ‘the low odds of actually being hit’ don’t really mean much when the sirens are going off all around you, and you find yourself caught out in the open, doing the sick mental math that reveals that it will take you longer to reach shelter than it will take the incoming rocket to reach you.
And so you narrow your focus.
‘There’s a parked car over there that might offer some cover from shrapnel’.
‘There’s a low stone wall across the street that, if I crouch down next to it will protect me… at least from one direction’. Which way is Gaza again?
‘The gutter and curb next to me will offer a snug place protected from two sides if I lie down really flat in the dirt collected there’.
And while these thoughts bang against each-other inside your head, the Red Alert siren wails on… and you know with absolute certainty that somewhere up in the sky is an inbound rocket packed with explosives and ball bearings, that has to land somewhere very soon.
True, statistically, the odds are extremely low that it will land on or near you. But the odds are dead certain that it has to land somewhere (that pesky old ‘what goes up must come down’, thing).
It’s strange how gambling quickly ceases to be an enjoyable pastime when the stakes include your life.
Why am I telling you this? Is it because the 200+ projectiles fired at Israel on July 14th didn't even make the international media needle twitch?
But it is also because I want you to join me in something... something that will allow you to experience a tiny fraction of the reality we Israelis endure on a daily basis... something that will allow you to become a bit more 'woke':
I want you to download a free app called ‘Red Alert: Israel’.
Once you have it on your phone or tablet, please go in and enable notifications and select ‘All Areas’ from the settings menu. This will allow you to be notified each time a projectile (rocket or mortar) is fired at at any part of Israel by one of our ‘neighbors’.
Keep in mind that each and every time you hear an alert, somewhere in Israel (usually in multiple places simultaneously), thousands of innocent human beings have suddenly been given between 10 and 50 seconds to get themselves and their loved ones to shelter – any shelter – before the projectile lands.
Looking at your watch that may seem like a fairly long time. Trust me, when the sirens are blaring, it is an instant.
Be warned, this app will disturb you at inconvenient times. And it will almost certainly wake you up in the middle of the night.
But I think it is important for you to be aware of the rocket attacks in real time - not just read about them on the rare occasions that the foreign media outlets decide they are 'newsworthy'.
I think it is essential that you know with absolute certainty, in real time, that thousands of innocent people just like you - people with hopes, dreams, loved ones, plans, possessions, talents, aspirations - have suddenly been forced into survival mode, and are running for cover or laying in the dirt, trying desperately to make themselves smaller… as explosive tube(s) filed with death streak through the sky towards… something.
I can tell you from experience (although certainly not as extensive as those living in the Gaza periphery or Kiryat Shmona), ‘exhilarating’ is the last word that comes to mind during those precious seconds while you wait to find out if the shot has actually (hopefully, please G-d), missed. This time.
Posted by David Bogner on July 17, 2018 | Permalink
David, I know the app. I installed it on my laptop -- for one day. Then I took it off. It was too much.
I pray for you and yours.
Posted by: antares | Jul 18, 2018 4:08:07 AM