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Air raid sirens, prosthetic legs, and Tel Aviv lattes

Having a disability doesn't mean you get any more seconds to reach the bomb shelter

My 16-year old son is an amputee and walks with a really nifty prosthetic leg. He doesn’t sleep with it though and like all teens, he sleeps pretty deeply.

Wednesday morning, 3:39 a.m. The air raid sirens break through the quiet autumn night but the old air conditioning system muffles their sound. Two flights and 36 stairs separate my son from our basement bomb shelter.

Sixty seconds. The clock is ticking.

By the time we realize what’s going down and he reaches for his prosthetic, an enormous boom rips through the early dawn.

A home was hit. Not our home. Not that night.

The Gaza Envelope has been especially volatile since March, but the “activity” was pretty much limited to the incendiary balloon-scorched fields of the kibbutzim and the immediate area on both sides of the Gaza border.

Usually, before an escalation beyond the Gaza Envelope communities, tensions rise even further, the media outlets herald the winds of war and the Iron Dome Defense system looms above Beersheba’s yellow desert landscape.

Not that Wednesday in late October.

When the sirens blared, warning more than 250,000 residents of the greater Beersheba area of an incoming rocket, apparently no Iron Dome missiles were available to counter the incoming Grad.

Sixty seconds is the estimated time we have to reach our shelters or safe rooms. (Although it may not sound like a lot, the residents of Sderot and the Gaza Envelope communities would be thrilled for an extra 45 seconds to supplement the meager 15 seconds that they have to reach safety.)

About a mile away from our house, a home suffered a direct hit and was destroyed. A mother and three young children are alive today because they made it to their safe room in the 60 seconds between the siren and the impact.

They were lucky.

If that Grad rocket had hit our home on that fateful night things would’ve turned out very badly.

So…what’s our plan for tonight? For next week?  For next month?  I guess we’ll figure it out… it’s just a prosthetic leg… But… What about our many wheelchair-user friends?

What about our elderly neighbors? What about that mom alone with four little kids under the age of 10?

Sucks, huh?

How about finding a solution? Who are our leaders? Where are our leaders?

Sipping lattes in Tel Aviv?

About the Author
Zimra was born in Budapest and grew up in New York City. She immigrated to Israel in 1994 and for the past two decades has worked with diverse for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Currently, she serves as a resource development expert on the Civics and Shared Education team at the Center for Educational Technology (CET) in Tel Aviv. Zimra is mother to 4 children, ages 11 to 20. Inspired by her 16-year old son Amit, a lower limb amputee, she is passionate about competitive wheelchair basketball and spends much of her free time rooting for her favorite teams. Today, she and her family are living in the Negev.
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