“There is no normal life, Wyatt, there’s just life.”

Doc Holliday [on his death bed]: What did you ever want?                         Wyatt Earp: Just to live a normal life.                                                           Doc Holliday: There is no normal life, Wyatt, there’s just life.

From the movie “Tombstone”.

Your humble servant had to smile while reading a report in Maariv this morning about yesterday’s meeting of the Golan Regional Council to discuss the Syrian mortar fire which struck the Golan Heights on Saturday. In every aspect, this report confirms what I have been stating for years about the IDF response (or non-response) toward what goes on here in southern Israel. 

As you may know, the IDF has been claiming for months now that the mortar shells falling along Israel’s northern border are merely the result of “spillage” or “leakage”. To believe the IDF spokesman, the mortars that have been hitting near Israeli moshavs, kibbutzes, and towns in the area are “accidental” strikes produced by errant shooting when the Syrian rebels and Syrian Army misfire at each other.

Almost since the inception of this mortar fire, the IDF explanation has been disputed by Israelis living on the Golan. Saturday’s numerous volleys underscored their contention because the mortar fire was simply too numerous in number and too directed to be explained away as “accidental errant fire.”

At the meeting yesterday of the Golan Regional Council (attended by representatives of the IDF), a number of interesting facts emerged, not the least of which was the “non-alarm” warning of incoming projectiles. It seems that the local security officer wanted to manually sound a siren to warn residents to enter protected places such as bomb shelters, but he was overruled by the IDF.

Why you may ask was he overruled by the IDF? Because the IDF officers in charge wanted to “preserve the status quo” and not put “unnecessary stress” on “residents and travelers” in the area. These officers, who are part of Israel’s Northern Command explained that the warning time is just seconds “due to the area’s proximity to the Syrian border”. What is more, the IDF said that it was calculated that the mortars would fall “in an open area” so there was no need to disrupt “normal life.”

Picture this. Here you are crouching in your home on the Golan Heights with loud explosions booming all around and your house shaking, and the IDF thinks that your “normal” life is not being disrupted?

Back to your humble servant having to smile. Of course, having our fellow Israelis on the Golan Heights getting mortared is no smiling matter, but this IDF non-response is exactly what we have been enduring in the South for the last decade.

It is a non-response has been especially true for residents living in close “proximity” to the Gaza border. “Errant” missiles that supposedly hit in Gaza; missiles that explode all around when no alarms are heard; incoming missile alarms that are supposedly “false alarms” (the rocket impact points are usually found shortly thereafter): there is no end to the dissembling done by the IDF –all in the name of not disrupting the supposedly “normal life” of people here in the South.

Of course what has happened down here is that all of these dissemblances have become excuses to do little or nothing. As has been noted by your humble servant on numerous occasions, if there are “no missiles or mortars”, then there is no need to respond.

The fact is that there has been no normal life for people in southern Israel for years–and the same can now be unfortunately said for those Israelis living in the Golan Heights in northern Israel. There is just life–a life of continuous mortars, rockets, sirens, bomb shelters, and explosions.  


About the Author
George Rooks is a retired faculty member of the University of California, Davis. A lifelong writer, he has been writing the israelstreet.org blog for more than two years with readers in more than 100 countries. Long time chairman of the largest committee in his synagogue back in northern California, he directs numerous Israel advocacy projects in his locale and is a well-known speaker in the area. He and his wife live half of each year in California and half in Ashdod.