Thursday, July 17, 2014.
A funny thing happened on the way to the hospital.
It's been almost 10 hours, but I'm still not over it.
This morning, I took Adi to Schneider for a checkup. I had a lot on my mind -- I needed to remember to ask for a prescription; Adi's PICC line needed to be rebandaged and flushed; I planned on cooking later in the day, and I was mentally reviewing my grocery list; and I had a great playlist on in the car.
Adi, per his request, was sitting in the seat behind me. We were at a red light about 3 minutes from the hospital when the sirens started. It took me about 3 seconds to process what I was hearing, and then I reacted pretty badly, in retrospect.
"We have to get out of the car," I shouted, throwing the car into park, slamming on the parking brake, opening my door all at once. I flung open Adi's door, shouting, "Get out, get out, get out!" This was not an ideal way to handle the situation, but I was totally unprepared. I should have made it fun, a game. I should have kept my cool. Adi was terrified as I pulled him out of the car, and I tried to get him to lie down so I could shield him. He refused to lie down. Around us, people helpfully shouted at me to lie down with him, but Adi wasn't having it. I made myself as tall as I could and hugged him, trying to keep his head covered.
The booms directly overhead made me look up -- and them immediately wish I hadn't, because the rockets were really DIRECTLY OVERHEAD.
My cousin (I can hear my husband now, "SHE'S NOT YOUR COUSIN, SHE'S YOUR MOTHER'S COUSIN'S DAUGHTER) posted this picture a little while ago.
It's sidewalk graffiti in Tel Aviv. It means "Over 200 people killed in Gaza. Enough murder. Refuse."
I want to take the person who wrote this and shake him. I want anyone who thinks Israel's actions are unjustified to stop and think about this for a minute. I was on the way to my son's oncology appointment this morning. CANCER was supposed to be our biggest problem. And in a matter of seconds, cancer was the farthest thing from my mind.
It took me a few extra minutes to get Adi and myself back in my car. The cars behind us never honked, and there were a few people who asked me if we needed help. (Adi has a lot of trouble getting his body up into the minivan, plus he was pretty confused.)
After I got to the hospital and got Adi inside, I saw that my hands were still shaking. It was about half an hour before they stopped. This was ONE rocket. (Well, three, actually, but all at once.) People in southern Israel have been living like this for YEARS, with multiple rockets falling DAILY for weeks, even MONTHS, at a time.
Think about that. Think about what you would do if ONE ROCKET threatened your children.
"BUT ABBI," shout the Tel Avivim. "WHAT ABOUT THE POOR INNOCENT PEOPLE IN GAZA? OVER 200 HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE LAST 10 DAYS!"
Yes. And that is a tragedy. It really is. Do you know why they have been killed? Because whereas Israel chose to invest in the early warning system of alarms and the Iron Dome anti-missile system, Hamas chose to invest in building underground tunnels for its "army" to use. Ordinary civilians don't have access to those tunnels. Israel educates its citizens. When we hear the alarm, we know we need to take cover. Hamas instructs women, children, and families to remain in areas the IDF has announced it will target.
Hamas hides its bombs in family homes, in hospitals, in schools. Just today, UNRWA was stunned to discover 20 rockets hidden in one of its schools in Gaza. They were probably the only ones surprised by this incident.
When the IDF plans to target an area, it sends text messages to residents. It drops leaflets warning them to evacuate. It fires warning shots. And Hamas tells the citizens of Gaza: IGNORE THEM. DON'T LISTEN. STAY IN YOUR HOMES.
And then they die. It's tragic, but it's also what they are apparently choosing for themselves.
Much is being made of the four Palestinian children who were killed as they played on the beach the other day. Tragic, absolutely. But the children in southern Israel haven't been able to play outside for days, because they live under the threat of bombs. Do you know what they do? THEY STAY INSIDE. AT HOME. CLOSE TO THEIR BOMB SHELTERS. THEY DON'T GO RUNNING AROUND OUTSIDE.
After ONE morning when the sirens caught me outside WITH MY SON, I am still shaky. I don't plan on leaving the yishuv tomorrow.
This has to end.