Waaaaah, Waaaaah, Waaaaah – Babies or sirens?

Herzelia, Israel. Kindergartens, schools, beaches, sea, swimming, restaurants, bars, shops, quiet.

Herzelia, Israel. Suburbia.

Waaaaah, Waaaaah, Waaaaah.

Two weeks ago, that was the “welcomed” sound of a hungry baby, crying.

“Is the bottle ready?”

Baby 1

Just two weeks ago, that was suburbia.

Waaaaah, Waaaaah, Waaaaah.

Herzelia, Israel. Sirens.

Waaaaah, Waaaaah, Waaaaah.

Tel-Aviv, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ramat Gan, Ramat Hasharon, Eilat, Ranaana. Sirens.

Waaaaah, Waaaaah, Waaaaah.

Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba, Holon, Sderot, Zfat, Netanya, Dimona. Sirens.

Waaaaah, Waaaaah, Waaaaah.

Now it’s the sirens that make the babies cry.

The sirens have stopped. The babies not.


Baby 2

Brace yourselves …. 

30 seconds to go.

You hear the babys’ cries, but you don’t.  Your ears are elsewhere.

10 seconds to go.

Brace yourselves

About 5 seconds …

Of life?

Only the other babies hear the babys’ cries.

Boom, boom, boom.

The shockwaves trigger the birds’ instincts into instant flight.

Like a Hitchcock movie.

Boom, boom, boom.

“I counted 5”, says David, from the fourth floor, now under the stairs.

“I counted 4”

“Definitely 6”

I’d never really met my neighbors in our building before. Now we meet 3 or 4 times a day.

Under the stairs.


One for good luck.

“I’m Sarah”, said one of the neighbors, with an outstretched arm.

Nice smile, but this is not the time.

Anyway, we’ll probably meet again in a few hours.

Under the stairs.

As I depart from my “new friends”, there’s silence outside. Total silence.

Where are the birds?


Nothing moves.

Has Yom Kippur come early?

The phone starts pinging. 10 news bulletins in as many seconds.

  • Sirens everywhere.
  • Booms everywhere.
  • Injuries reported in the south.

The people start appearing. The cars start moving.

Another minute to check the kids are OK.

My kids.

Not the babies.

My solider and my soon-to-be soldier.

And life returns to “normal”.

For a few hours.

We understand this is not normal, but we get on with our lives.

We understand this is not sustainable, but we get on with our lives.

It’s all about the rockets

No more Hamas rockets, means no more Israeli retaliation.

No more Hamas rockets, means no more Israeli casualties.

No more retaliation means no more innocent victims.

No more Hamas rockets and no more retaliation means babies crying only for milk, everywhere.

Alternatively, no more Hamas.

“News, or Breaking News?”

But what does the World see, and therefore think?


#SKYNEWS, there is “News”, and there is “Breaking News”

#SKYNEWS, what were you thinking?

Your lead TV article yesterday was extensive coverage of the innocent victims in a Gaza hospital.

Your lead article yesterday was numbing and so sad.

Your lead article mentioned “rockets” once, hidden, but hopefully not camouflaged, in a single sentence in the middle of a 3 minute report.

What about the rockets found in the Gaza schools?  Where else might they be?

Is someone checking the hospitals?

And the tunnels; inbound for weapons, and outbound for terrorists.

glass half full

#SKYNEWS, whilst you reported what you reported, Obama declared Israel has a right to defend itself.

And Hilary Clinton publicly supported Israel.

#SKYNEWS, your lead article was “News”, but not “Breaking News”.

But this isn’t about SKYNEWS; it’s about balanced news, globally.

It’s all about the rockets

No more Hamas rockets, means no more Israeli retaliation.

No more retaliation means no more innocent victims.

It’s not complex.

Of course it’s also about the victims; the children crying in the hospital in Gaza. That’s news. Horrible news.

But it’s the rockets, and their consequences. That’s the story.

Take away the rockets, and empty the hospitals. That’s your Breaking News, SKYNEWS.

How’s your Saturday?

It’s Saturday morning.

Herzelia, Israel.

It’s quiet, outside.

The sky is blue.

People are going to the beach.

People are going to synagogue

Everything looks normal.

Our brave soldiers have gone in.

They don’t want to be there.

Our soldiers see what they should never see.

Our intelligence units know what they should never know.

Born a year or two earlier, they’d also be on the beach, or in the synagogues.

Born a year or two later, they’d maybe be feeding their own babies.

They don’t want to be there.

We don’t want to be there.

We don’t see them, from Herzelia.

We don’t see them, from suburbia.

Except in our thoughts. And our prayers.

And on Israeli TV.

But yesterday, not on SKYNEWS.

But this isn’t about SKYNEWS; it’s about balanced news, globally

But it’s not about Herzelia

Don’t shed any tears for Herzelia.

Just for Eitan Barak, age 20, the first soldier, killed in this conflict. And for his family. They are from Herzelia.

Yes, “first solider” and not “first Israeli soldier”, because there are no soldiers in Gaza. Just terrorists, and innocent victims. There was no ambiguity. No mistake.

We’re fine here, in Herzelia (mum).

Don’t shed any tears for Herzelia.

Instead shed your tears for Ashdod, and Ashkelon, and other close neigbours of Gaza.

Where the “booms” are “BOOMS”.

In Ashdod, and Ashkelon you’ll hear the mothers shedding tears. And probably the fathers.

And shed your tears and send your prayers for the soldiers, who do what they are told and trained to do because they have to.  We have to.

And for the soldiers who won’t come back tomorrow.

And for those whose lives, whatever will be left of them, will never be the same again.

Because of the damn rockets.

It’s Saturday morning.

20 minutes ago, sirens in Ashdod.  Then a dull, rumble in the far distance.

10 minutes ago, sirens in Dimona.  A Bedouin family ruined. 1 dead, 4 of his family injured, including 2 children.

It’s all about the rockets.

SKYNEWS, will this be your lead story, today?

Will this be your Breaking News?

Herzelia, Israel.

It’s quiet, outside.

But any second, or minute, or hour……

Waaaaah, Waaaaah, Waaaaah.

When will it be just be a call for milk?

About the Author
Originally from England, Stuart Ballan moved to Israel in 1997. He has over 25 years business and B2B sales experience working in companies of every size, including his own. Stuart holds an MBA from the Kellogg-Recanati Executive MBA program and has been the President of the Kellogg-Recanati Alumni Club since 2002. To balance life, Stuart writes and publishes childrens' books, with his first book selling 10,000 copies, here in Israel. He's also a keen off-road cyclist.
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