What is the Cancellation Policy in a War Zone?

As I stood this morning in my pajamas in the middle of the stairwell – next to our religious neighbors, a funny thought popped into my head. What is the cancellation policy of the Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv?

Just yesterday, a friend coming from Paris asked me what she should do. Her flight left in a few hours – about 12 hours after the first siren was heard in Tel Aviv.

My response, “I’m honestly not sure what to tell you. Do I think you will be in danger? No. Do I know whether or not you will need to find a shelter while you’re here – possibly. But since there are shelters everywhere, it’s not much of an issue.

And yet, this morning, I was slightly relieved she had decided not to come. Primarily because this situation, this war, is not necessarily one to choose to come to if you don’t have to be here. (I know many would disagree on this.) However, those that want to come, should…and we will welcome you with open arms.

To live in Tel Aviv right now is to live in relative normalcy, if having the latent dread of a siren going off every once in a while is normal. To live in the South of the country that dread is not latent at all – pounding time and time again as you sit in safe rooms, afraid that exiting to go to the bathroom means you may be sitting there just at the moment a siren goes off.

Yesterday, the super of my office came in to casually inform me of where the safest place to run to was in case of the siren “should I want to do anything at all.” Last night at the sound of the siren, he informed me, he decided to take his dog for a walk. Because as many people feel here, their lives shouldn’t stop because Hamas wants them to.

And yet, as the rockets approach, life does stop for the amount of time the siren sounds to detect the oncoming weapon. Life stops as we stand in the stairwell chatting to our newfound neighbors – waiting to hear the blasts of Iron Dome protecting us. Life stops as we wait to hear the siren stop – knowing that if it doesn’t, it means the rockets also haven’t stopped coming – even after the first BOOM. Life stops as we hold our children close to us safe – knowing that the fortification of our buildings is incomparable to what the children on the other side has to stand in. Life stops on the other side as we work to defend ourselves.

What is the cancellation policy in a war zone? Hopefully here in Israel we won’t need to ask this question for very long – or ever again.