Shaul Amir

July Diary of an Israeli

Shaul Amir
Shaul Amir

July 8, 2014. Pretty crazy here. No body knows where it is going and for how long. What you will see on TV at your end will be biased in favor of the Palestinians. Nobody talks about over a million people in shelters for weeks now as they keep on dropping missiles on Israel’s south daily. We are lucky to have Iron Dome defense. They targeted big cities in the south and center yesterday, only G-D knows how many casualties we could have had, all civilians mind you!!! Let’s hope it will be over soon for the sake of both sides. The Palestinians are captured by their extremists and are afraid to rebel. I feel sorry for the innocents on their side as well.

Photo: This was taken at the empty field in Nes Ziona not far from my son's apartment and ours. Yes they are shooting at civilians!!!!
Photo: This was taken at the empty field in Nes Ziona not far from my son’s apartment and ours. Yes they are shooting at civilians!!!!

Sitting in our secure room while the sirens are shrieking outside. We are fine but are getting the taste of what the citizens in the south feel every day. We are well and quite safe.

Here is another one you will not hear about due to the propaganda tactics Hamas is using. While we use the “Knock on the roof” tactic, that is, calling the family of the terrorist whose house is going to be attacked from the air and warning them to leave the house and then send a small bomb to the corner of the house to show we are serious, Hamas is instructing the Gaza people to go to the roofs of the houses whenever they hear Israeli planes, knowing that we will not bomb a house with civilians. What a cynical and cruel people!!!

July 10.  The madness continues. Just out of the secure room for the third time today. One of the heaviest attacks in a stretch of five minutes, some 60 rockets fired at the south of Israel and the center. Two direct hits in Beer Sheva with only property damage and three anxiety victims. Fortunately the family was in the secure room due to the early warning of the Iron Dome system. The rate of interception of Iron Dome missile defense system is around 90%. We are lucky to have it. 

One of the debates in Israel today is how to act against missiles embedded by the Hamas in a heavily populated area. Whether to attack or not. Our concerns for their civilians is more than their leadership’s concern. The pictures you will get in the US and Britain will probably show the damage in Gaza and not the suffering of some 5 million Israelis, in and out of shelters several times a day with disruption of our daily routine.

I am afraid that a ground offensive is on the horizon and I pray that this round of violence will all end before that, for fear of heavy casualties of our soldiers and innocent civilians on their side, people who are not involved. The Hamas leadership and their “brave” terrorists hide behind their civilians. Stay tuned for more.

July 11.

Dear friends,

I wish I didn’t have to write this post to you. I wish that the only times I would be writing would be to announce only happy occasions. Unfortunately what I have predicted in previous posts, mails and other communications, turned to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

When I spoke about the need for the underground emergency hospital at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, I said that the question of the next barrage of missiles is not a question of if it will happen, but a question of when it will happen. Well…. Here we are, running to our secure room at home or secure public area with every ear piercing siren several times a day.

I am not sure when this round will be over but I do know it is not the last one. Assaf Harofeh Medical Center does not have the Underground Emergency hospital for this round of hostility but I am sure that we will need it even more, next time when the terrorists weapon systems, missiles and rockets will improve and the warheads will get more destructive.

It is now the time to make the effort and help us get what we most need, a secure place for our patients, for what we will most likely have to face in the future. Not if, but when the next round will be here.

You can make a difference by making a donation to: American Friends of Assaf Harofeh Medical Center
Send it to:
12367 E. Cornell Ave.
Denver, CO 80014

And make sure you mention on the check that it is for the Underground Emergency Medical Center.

Thank you!!

July 12.  A small personal story that represents the story of so many here in Israel between the south and the center of Israel (only 5 million people). 

Friday dinner is a family dinner at our home. Last night my visiting daughter from Amsterdam with our grandchildren, (who is staying north of Tel Aviv), did not want to come from fear of getting caught midway by a missile attack. Our young son from Tel Aviv was also reluctant (and so were we to make sure they are all safe). Our son, Ori, who lives around the corner came with his wife and three daughters for dinner, knowing that they can get to a safe place even if an attack catches them on their way.

Half the way through dinner we hear the siren, left our half-eaten food on the plates, went to the secure room and five minutes later resumed dinner. When the time to leave came, my daughter-in-law was worried about the safety for their short trip home. I only want to demonstrate what so many, the citizens of the cities, kibbutzim and others around the Gaza Strip, are going through in the last 13 years on a daily basis.

That said, I must also mention the suffering of 1.8 million Gaza Palestinians who cannot even sit and have the Iftar dinner at the end of their Ramadan fasting day. They are hostages to groups of ideological, religious fanatics and are afraid to rebel for fear that they will get killed by those who think they know better and have the means to retaliate and kill whoever dare raise his head.

A sentence I heard recently, that can best describe the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other rogue organizations in the Gaza Strip is, that “their rational is irrationality.” Instead of spending billions on their people’s welfare, they’d rather build weapons, missiles, tunnels into Israel to hurt us. Instead of chartering peace and economic development alongside and with Israel, their charter calls for the destruction of Israel. The weaker they get, the more vicious they get to regain their recognition in the world of terror. As I said, the irrational, is their rational.

July 15.  Just another update of the reality of another day in our life without any political views this time. 

It started like a wonderful morning, blue sky and hope for ceasefire at 9:00 am.

First siren at 11:00 am, second one caught us as we went to take our granddaughters from the school and kindergarten. The first mission went without a hitch, my wife picked up our granddaughter from summer school and we drove to get our other granddaughter. My wife went to get her as we waited in the car. All of a sudden as I am listening to the car radio, my granddaughter (with much better hearing than mine) told me that the siren went off. We left the car, went to the safe room in the kindergarten and found some 25 kids, two teachers and one grandmother sitting in the safe room quietly waiting to get out a few minutes after the siren stopped.  Every school and kindergarten in our area had safe areas to protect our kids.

The third siren of the day caught me in the gym club. Yes, we have a safe room there as well! We all went to the safe room and resumed activities a few minutes later. What a surreal reality!!!

I hope that by 9:00 pm our time the Hamas will accept the Egyptian ceasefire proposal to prevent more casualties of more citizens on both sides.

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About Shaul Amir

Shaul Amir has served two terms as Shaliach to the Denver area from Israel, the most recent combined with directing Allied Jewish Federation's Israel Center from 2002 to 2007. He and his wife Kika now live outside Tel Aviv and enjoy welcoming visitors from Colorado to Israel.

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