Testimonials from Floridians living in Israel

Testimonials from Floridians living in Israel

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    ​From Jessica Rozental, Tuesday November 21

    There was a major attack on a bus in Tel Aviv this morning - they are looking for the terrorist (they caught one and are looking for the other). I was taking an exam for work in the north part of the city and didn't hear the explosion. I was about to take a bus when I found out what happened, and waited a little while to find an empty taxi. I'm home safe and sound, and I promise I remain safe.
     
    My dreams of peace are still a dream...

    From Jessica Rozental, Monday, November 19 

    "Planes 'slightly rerouted' to avoid being hit.  The Commander of central Israel's Iron Dome battery says planes arriving, departing Ben Gurion Airport have been diverted to avoid being hit by intercepting missiles.
     
    Planes departing from and arriving at Ben Gurion Airport have been diverted from their regular take off and landing routes in order to avoid being hit while the Iron Dome is intercepting rockets over central Israel, according to an IDF officer.
     
    The officer, Major Itamar Abo, admitted that the aerial defense system "isn't 100% accurate." Due to concerns that the intercepting missiles could hit planes, the defense establishment has decided to "slightly reroute" the passenger and cargo jets in order to allow them take off and land safely.
     
    For the second time yesterday, red alert sirens rang out in Tel Aviv and surrounding cities. The Iron Dome took down the two missiles, but you could still hear the loud booms of the interception. We just got home from the dentist. I actually wondered if the exam rooms were protected, and what they would do in case the doctor was in the middle of a procedure. 
     
    Someone on Facebook suggested holding a "va'ad bayit" (renter's association) meeting in the shelter the next time we're all together...funny how the strangest things bring perfect strangers, though neighbors, together."
     
     
    From Jessica Rozental, Sunday, November 18th
    "We went to the Red Band concert last night with hundreds of others -
    they are a bunch of guys who sing with puppets. It's funny but wasn't
    awesome enough to stay, and I listened to my instinct and told Shay we
    should leave. I just didn't want to be anywhere but my apt, where I
    was safe and would hear instructions and watch the news. We are happy
    we went for a few hours, but thought the best place was home.

    Earlier yesterday, I had the upgraded siren experience - we were at
    our usual cafe on Rothschild when we heard the siren. We joined a
    hundred or so others in various building stairwells in the area for a
    few minutes, until the siren turns off. And then you hear a boom, loud
    but in the distance. And then that's the signal for you to continue
    what you were doing. You go back to the cafe and finish your coffee,
    pay for it and leave a good tip. Parents resume their walk with
    strollers and dogs continue to rule the boulevards.

    Don't judge the hour (around 10:30 am), but this morning I had an
    upgraded, upgraded experience - the siren woke me up. Iron Dome
    intercepted them over the water and its proved to be an incredible
    defense system. I'm very relieved that one is deployed in my area.
    The fact that its nearby increases my confidence in my
    safety but casts a doubt at the same time. The engineers said they
    didn't have time to drink their coffee between installing it and using
    it live.

    Home Front Command says life should continue as normal in TLV and
    schools are open. In the South, where schools are closed, the Jewish
    Agency is taking over 3,000 schoolchildren on field trips around the
    country. I wonder if they get extra days at the end of the year to
    make up for "war days" like our "hurricane days or snow days."

    There is talk of ceasefire but I'm not ready for it. You can't shoot
    missiles at TLV and then ask for respite.

    I blame Hamas entirely for this. Laying waste to their offices and
    leaders is what works in Middle East. Israeli military action after 4
    years of rockets, 3 a day as an average, is the government's right and
    RESPONSIBILITY to what is now 3,000,000 civilians within missile
    range. We are all civilians, even those who serve actively. The young
    girls I saw on the side of the road, in their beautiful green uniforms
    and huge backpacks, are civilians. They have families who dropped them
    off, opened the trunk and handed their kids or their husbands or their
    fathers a snack for the bus ride to the army's staging grounds. No one
    wants to do this, but they will serve honorably and bravely to defend
    their families and neighbors."
     
    From Yael Ben-David, Saturday November 17
    "I consider two consecutive hours of sleep an achievement. I never get to drink my tea while it’s still hot. More of my clothes have been spit up on than not. And I can do any and everything with one hand. On my daughter’s 12th day in this world I can say motherhood is pretty much what I expected. The sleep deprivation, endless loads of super cute mini-laundry, swollen breasts and zillions of photos of my sleeping baby girl that all look exactly the same and yet in the moment each seemed so unique… I was ready for that.
     
    On my daughter’s 9th day her baby gas mask-tent arrived. On her 11th day a missile siren sounded and her dad and I worked out our plan for various scenarios including if he would be called to serve as reservist in the Israeli army. I was less ready for how that would feel, how different I’d become.
     
    I’m the girl who after being half a block from a suicide bombing went downtown for a beer with friends because I refused to let the terrorists win by keeping us terrorized, inside. This time I held my baby close and worked out the closest bomb shelter, the quickest way to get there, what to bring with, and a back-up plan. And I didn’t feel like then I was strong and defiant and now I’m weak and scared – it’s just that now my defiance has a different face: It’s no longer a bar on Ben Yehuda, it’s the safety of my newborn, of the next generation of Jews in Israel. My defiance now is continuing to thrive into the future.
     
    I found myself staring into my little girl’s face, and promising her as she slept that we’d solve this mess in the next 18 years so she wouldn’t have to serve in the army her father might be called back into active duty for any day. Before my promise fully formed in my mind it was revised to a mere hope, and then just a hug. Because I don’t think that’s a promise I can keep, or a very likely hope.
     
    Maya, I can’t necessarily give you peace. I can’t make the Arabs love their children more than they hate you. I can’t stop their leadership from their destructive fanaticism. I can only love you and teach you who you are, why we are here, why you deserve to be loved. I can hold you tight and let you grow. I can pray for you and trust you to lead the way."
     

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