Saturday, November 17, 2012

Israel Under Fire - Saturday night update

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
17 November '12..

We were off-line for the 25 hours of the Sabbath, plus some time before it to get ready, some time after it to clean up and re-organize for the week. But as much as any self-respecting Jewish Sabbath-observer wants to establish a firm disconnect between the life of the workaday week and the special atmosphere of the Holy Sabbath, a war that's going on around you makes that a special challenge.

A handful of vignettes from our Jerusalem vantage point:

Like practically everyone, we try to stay in touch with family members. That ordinary, human need to be in contact with loved ones doesn't go away when there's electric tension in the air; quite the opposite. We were Skyping with a close family member living in the south - meaning (in these days of medium-range rockets that can be operated by even the dopiest of terrorist thugs) south of Tel-Aviv - in the last few minutes. As has happened far too many times recently, he had to run from his computer and rush his family to shelter in mid-sentence. To say that people are on edge is understating it.

There have been contradictory indications of what we can expect from the Hamas side during these evening hours. On one hand, IDF head of Southern Command Tal Rousso addressed a press conference tonight; we heard it in the car while driving our children to their home tonight. Rousso was upbeat, speaking in terms of the IDF's successes in destroying a large proportion of Hamas’s weapons and rocket. Haaretz quotes him tonight declaring that "We devastated their long range weapons arsenal, but there is still a lot of work left." The but is well understood by everyone here.

TOI's useful ongoing timeline speculated on the fact the rocket fire from Gaza had reduced "a trickle" since nightfall, a possible sign, it wrote, "that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are beginning to feel the effect of IDF strikes. The army has hit some 950 targets in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the operation, including symbols of Hamas power, such as the prime minister’s office, in the last day. They have also taken out a number of rocket launchers and missile arsenals."

On the other hand, a swathe of major southern communities including Ashdod, Ashkelon, the Yavne region and the Yoav region were all subject to rocket attack warnings at about the time we sat down to write this post some minutes ago. Fortunately no fewer than four GRAD missiles (according to TOI's report) were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system on their way to Ashdod in that evening attack. Achievements like this, impressive as they certainly are, are no antidote to the horror of being on the ground, bathed in the wail of sirens, waiting for the boom.

(Continue reading)

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