Up early the other day, I was reading on my balcony when I noticed two cottony puffs in the distance. They looked like gauzy white balloons. As they dispersed against the otherwise cloudless blue sky, they seemed so unassuming that I didn’t recognize them for what they were: an Israeli Patriot missile intercepting a Palestinian Qassam rocket.
Soon after, a siren screamed, and my wife and I retreated to our bedroom, which also serves as our apartment’s bomb shelter. We spent maybe an hour there, with our window’s heavy iron guard shut tight, waiting for an all clear. For the record, we fell asleep in the interim.
If we’d been more savvy, Judith and I would have known that we needed to spend only a few minutes in the shelter before resuming our activities outside of it.
So goes our education as new citizens of Israel.
That was two days ago. Since then, more than 400 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel in response to the targeted killing by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander.
According to press reports, none of the PIJ rockets killed anyone in Israel, while an Israeli official said that the IDF’s counter-offensive took the lives of more than 20 terrorists and destroyed PIJ infrastructures.
As I write this, a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad seems to be holding. In the meantime, today my wife and I marked the end of our first three months living in Israel as full-fledged citizens. This means we are now eligible to receive our Israeli passports and vote in the next election, whenever that may be.
For my American friends who might be wondering if we have any regrets about moving to Tel Aviv, my answer is simple: No. For any who might be worried about our safety, I have a more detailed response.
Considering the higher US crime rate, and much higher incidence of mass shootings in America, coupled with the threat of Donald Trump’s extreme-right supporters taking to the streets with their rage and their guns if he is driven from office, I think my friends and family in Wisconsin, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Florida, may be living in greater peril than Judith and I are in at the moment.
I believed this before we headed to Israel, and I feel the same way now, if not more strongly.
Think I’m making this #$&!! up?
Here’s proof. —->