Yesterday an air-raid siren sounded in Jerusalem for the first time since the Gulf War in 1991 (my family moved here – it’s nice to say “here” – just in time for that).
There are two types of sirens. The up and down one signals an air raid and a flat one signals that it’s safe to come out. The flat one is also sounded every Friday at candle-lighting time to signal that Shabbat is starting.
Yesterday, around 1pm, my mom sat in the kitchen eating lunch with my sister and brother-in-law. My dad was resting. My little sister was sitting in her classroom. My best friend was walking downtown pushing her baby in a stroller. And suddenly the siren sounded.
My parents, etc., felt there was no helpful action they could take, considering they didn’t know why it was sounding and the bomb shelter is too far away to get to in normal time anyway. They were three stories above the shelter. There is no way one could make it down there fast enough. So they just sat and waited to see what would happen.
My little sister, along with all the children in her school, were quickly taken to the bomb shelters. My little sister felt she was being properly taken care of but worried about me since she figured I was in the plane or in the airport which means that I wasn’t in a “makom mugan” (a protected space). She was very, very scared for me.
She told me afterwards that this was terribly traumatizing for a lot of the kids. She said that during recess a while later, many of the kids still had red eyes from crying.
My best friend immediately thought that it was probably a mistake, the siren, so she just kept walking.
It was a mistake. And someone said that it was a great lesson for Jerusalemites to get a tiny feel of what it’s like living in the South the last few years.
For those of you living in Israel, just so you know, many of your miklatim (bomb shelters) might currently be used as storage space. I heard through someone that you can give notice that people must remove the stuff and you can get the authorities involved since your miklat should always be in usable order. You have to look into it but this is approximately what I was told.
The people of Israel and Jews around the world should be safe.