Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Siren....

This week, here in Israel, is a "National Preparedness Week". There are all kinds of exercises and drills going on to give us all some "practise" in the event, G-d forbid, of some national emergency (i.e. war).

My kids have been telling me all year that they have "Bomb drills" at school. When the alarm goes off, the kids are supposed to dive under their desks and cover their heads. Orli's wry observation: "Yeah, like that's going to help if we really do get bombed".

Today there was a nation-wide siren going off at 10:00 a.m. This was supposed to be a specific drill for school children. (The schools in Sderot and surrounding areas were exempt, because the government figured those kids get enough practise). As soon as the siren sounded the kids were supposed to do the requisite dive under the table, and then walk calmly and quietly to the miklat--bomb shelter--where they were supposed to wait for an hour.

Yikes. Tali and Orli attend a school that was intended for 500 students, but is currently bursting at the seams with almost 900 students. How were they going to fit all those kids in those tiny shelters? You know how there is an expression "אין סומכים על הנס"--you don't rely on miracles, you do everything you can to help yourself. But here in Israel, we just depend on miracles all the time.

I informed my kids about what was going to happen. They took it in stride and were completely unconcerned--if anything they were happy they get to miss whatever class was taking place during the drill. I don't think they believe that anything like that could happen here in Modiin.

They ended up lasting 24 minutes in the shelter, with windows and doors open. There were 80 kids in a space the size of my living room. I guess we really do rely on miracles.

I was in my ulpan class when the siren went off. Our teacher stopped talking and we all silently listened to its wail. I thought about something like this really happening and not being with the children. I wondered if Isaac was hearing the siren in Maale Adumim. I thought about the people of Sderot who run to their shelters umpteen times a day. I thought about the "mamad" (shelter room) in my apartment and how the only thing in there to occupy us are Liat's books.

I thought, "Dear G-d, please don't ever let this be for real".

The whole thing lasted about a minute. I don't know if it was considered a success or not. But it definitely reminded me that I live in a country that is surrounded by enemies.

Not that you ever forget that.


RivkA with a capital A said...

I was at Sha'are Zedek. Everyone in the dept just ignored the siren.

If there is an emergency, I hope someone knows where to go....

I can't believe I forgot to ask my kids about it. Hope to remember today...

Anonymous said...

Hi Baila. I believe it was Ben Gurion who said: Anyone Israeli who does not believe in miracles, is nor a realist."

Chag kasher Vesameach to the whole family!


Anonymous said...

Sorry about the typo"

"...is NOT a realist."


Baila said...


See E's comment below yours!


Have you been reading my blog? Has Mazi? You should start one of your own, you'd probably be really good at it!

And a chag Kasher V'Sameach to you and the gang--give Mazi a kiss for me!