My first WAR experience since Aliyah (Ever)

A chaotic,heart pumping, fear and adrenaline filled Shabbat it was. This past Friday, a friend who gets these 30 dollar a day rent a car deals asked me if I wanted to head down south..Ya know..Support the folks…At first there was hesitation…I’ve never been within 30 miles of Gaza..Maybe Yavne where I lived for a year in the early 80s..It sounded too inviting to be with those suffering…So, three of us headed out of Tel Aviv from Florentin where I dwell…After visiting the Iron Dome Missile battery in Ashqelon (Notice the armored porto potty that doubles as a bomb shelter. There is a hatch door to underground once you step inside)

Iron Dome Missile Battery, Ashqelon – Operation Defensive Pillar
Iron Dome Crew, Ashqelon -Operation Defensive Pillar 2012

On Friday early afternoon..We headed..Here, Kibbutz Nahal Oz

Military OutPost – Kibbutz Nahal Oz – Operation Defensive Pillar

Probably unknowingly.But, what the heck..We saw soldiers..One thing I noticed is that while soldiers welcome visitors with open arms, they don’t tell people to get the heck out of there..When they should..This was pretty much as close as anyone not dressed in green or has a press pass was going to get to HamasStan…My first taste of war ever was Diving under a military vehicle, 20 minutes after we arrived and were about to leave.. with 5 soldiers outside this kibbutz during a missile alert…A Qassam rocket landed and burned a mere 50 meters away.

Honestly, I wanted to come straight back to Tel Aviv..But we headed to Sderot to watch the bombing campaign from 2KM away on a hill where we saw missiles firing out of gaza in the directions of Tel Aviv, Ashqelon and Be’er Sheva and on a few occasions. Straight at us…

I don’t know if even Einstein could have created something like the Iron Dome missile system..It’s comprised of a few different systems at a central post..There is no one touching the launchers..The crew are just there to guard them so the dome can guard us…We saw it live as it  senses launch, identifies trajectory, speed, direction, wind speed and blasts missiles out of the sky right over our heads..Eating dirt on a few occasions to protect ourselves from falling shrapnel

57 MM Piece of Shrapnel from a Qassam Rocket that landed in a room next door to an Australian journalist that was Staying in a Sderot cottage.BEFORE THE JUBARI Assasination

such as that destroyed a car in Tel Aviv yesterday….My friend works for Raphael Advanced Defense Systems (That is all I am allowed to divulge) and told me the basics last night..

<———–Alex sitting on a hill as an Iron Dome Missile coming from Beer Sheva is on its way to blast a rocket out of the sky seconds later..See the streak in the sky..

A short while later we heard there were sirens in Tel Aviv..This wasn’t TV or YouTube..This was LIVE..and SO WAS I…After Nahal Oz we headed to the Kfar Azzah gas station,

Entrance to the Kfar Azzah Community

where they had these sandwich specials..Lots of soldiers, some reporters..For the rest of Shabbat we stayed close to Sderot, shooting (no pun intended) pictures of Gaza and Missiles from the hills around…..I saw Missiles as they were launched heading in the direction of Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva and straight for us..Booms that lasted 30 seconds and waved from Gaza targets passed us for another 20 seconds all the way to the desert..Smoke columns from direct hits (see photo below)..The smell of burnt metal seeping into my nostrils..

IAF Bombing Gaza, Operation Defensive Pillar

After some nudging at a Cafe Joe in Yad Mordechay that was swarming with Press and Soldiers..We made a plan to leave Motzei Shabbat, I told my friends that I have seen and experienced enough…They agreed and we headed back to Tel Aviv by 7 Saturday night…By us being there, I feel we showed support to the people of Sderot and the South who for the most part think they are alone, barely a 45 minute drive from Tel Aviv..I don’t know what prompted me to go to Sderot for the first time ever..There was a voice in my head that said I had to be there…And even though there were a few close calls, I can say I was happy I did..There are some who watch movies and some who watch TV..I was watching a war…As darkness fell and the explosions became more vivid, I heard my name..It was my neighbors Orit and Uri from Ha’Tikva and who helped me move a few weeks back..On this hill? Here? Why? I dunno but their presence was felt zand Orit gave a solid interview to Channel 2..Speaking of..I was on Channel 2 for my 7.5 seconds of fame this past Friday night..

כך נראתה תל אביב של אחרי האזעקה

For now, this Tuesday morning it is quiet..Sunday in Tel Aviv was my 4xth Code red in about 60 hours..It’s time to end it..IDF..You know what you have to do…

A crowd sitting on a hill watching a War – Operation Defensive Pillar 2012
Cup a Joe – Yad Mordechay – Close to the Israel/Gaza border – Operation Defensive Pillar
Room Number 13 at the Sderot Cottage where the Australian journalist was staying. The Qassam demolished the room. James was staying in the room next door. #14 and left unscathed. At least physically.
MORE Coffee – Cup a Joe – Yad Mordechay – Operation Defensive Pillar

Just the sound of cats in Florentin…Let us hope it stays that way..ALL OVER THE LAND…Peace be unto you my brothers and sisters..Stay strong..Stay Safe..Am Yisrael Chai! עם ישראל חי!!