I’m not leaving tonight, as planned. American airlines are not flying in or out of Tel Aviv for a couple of days, first flight out is Friday night and that’s what I’m on. But nobody knows if it’ll really happen.
“You suppose El Al is flying and only American airlines are too wimpy?” I ask my sister.
Stupid question. I watched last night as the television showed rockets flying over the airport. Do I want to sit inside a plane while that happens? No, sir. My brother-in-law flew to NY last night and ended up in a shelter 7 stories underground, and finally managed to leave. I’m not so lucky.
There are occasional explosions from far away, no siren warning us of incoming rockets. Tonight is Eid-el-Fitr, the last night of the Ramadan, and fireworks are to be expected, but this is way different. After the initial 7 rockets aimed at Jerusalem on Monday early evening, Jerusalem has escaped the onslaught of rockets coming from Gaza and hitting the south and central parts of Israel.
My brother took a walk with his wife and two missiles hit an uninhabited field not far from them.
I got upset. “Why are you taking a walk outdoors when all the warnings ae to stay in?” When the sirens go off, instructions are clear: Go down to the shelter. If you don’t have a shelter, go into the building’s staircase but avoid the ground floor. And if you don’t have a staircase, stay in an inside room with as few window panes as possible.
The Israeli forces show videos of how their Iron Dome downs missiles. One missile meets the other in mid-air and explodes it, and it looks like a video game. Those are probably the explosions we hear all the way here.
We watch TV endlessly, and the Israeli army makes optimistic announcements and videos of the buildings and Hamas commanders that are going down. But journalists are demanding to understand why is it that with all this damage done in Gaza, Hamas is still succeeding in sending rockets into Israel. Also, how is this going to be different from other battles with Hamas?
There is absolutely no talk of cease-fire.
But for many people, what is happening inside Israel, between Israeli Jews and Arabs, is by far the worst. This is the first time in many years that Israelis see Israeli Arabs rioting in the cities, burning cars, throwing rocks, stones, and Molotov cocktails, rioting especially in Lod, where a curfew has begun but is not yet enforced, Bat Yam, Tiberias, and other cities. Whereas yesterday Arab citizens rioted against Jewish citizens, with police presence scant, now they ae rioting not just against police but also against Jewish counter-rioters. We can see people with Israeli flags walking the streets, attacking Arab passers-by, attacking mosques.
My sister took Molly the dog to the dog park at 10 at night, and as she was getting the dog out of the car another car passed by and a young man threw a couple of full orange soda cartons hard at her.
I have lots of thoughts about all these impressions, but this is not the time, things are moving way too fast. This is the time to maintain some steadiness and bear witness as much as possible. Take in as much as possible.
Announcement of more rockets coming in in 20 minutes, at 9:00 pm.