OPINION: Huddled in the bomb shelter, waiting for the boom
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

OPINION: Huddled in the bomb shelter, waiting for the boom

Journalist Eylon Levy reflects on survival planning for the moment the siren goes off in the middle of the night

Inside the bomb shelter
Inside the bomb shelter

It’s a strange feeling knowing some one is trying to kill you.

But last night, huddled in my apartment block’s bomb shelter at 3am, as Hamas unleashed a titanic barrage of rockets at the greater Tel Aviv area in an attempt to overwhelm our Iron Dome defense system—that’s exactly what was happening.

First off—I’m safe, and I’m fine. In Tel Aviv, we have 90 seconds to reach shelter when the bone-chilling Red Alert siren goes off. That’s an eternity, in Israeli terms. Israelis living closer to the Gaza Strip have mere seconds to wake up, grab their kids, and run into a bomb shelter—if they have one.

But still, you find yourself doing the sort of survival planning you never banked on.

Install the Home Front Command app, keep your phone on full volume. Sleep in a t-shirt and shorts, despite the warm weather. Keep the bedroom door open, light on in the corridor, and keys and a water bottle next to the door. So when the siren wails at 3am, you’re downstairs in 20 seconds flat.

Then when you go out in the morning to run an errand, you have to think—if the siren catches me outside, where do I hide? That’s an underground car park on my left, that’s good. Maybe I can run into a nearby building, that’s something. Or maybe just lie on the floor this time, hands protecting my head, keeping a safe distance from any cars that might explode from a rocket strike.

Sitting in the communal bomb shelter, a room of reinforced concrete, with all my neighbors, the walls rumble gently with every Iron Dome interception in the sky, and a dull thud. There’s poor reception, but the videos streaming in show what looks like a Star Wars-type battle above our heads.

Ten minutes after the siren, it’s safe to go back home. But a few minutes later, another siren, and we’re back. News comes in: a direct rocket strike on an apartment block a mere kilometre away. Mercifully, nobody is killed.

My grandmother, who lives nearby, doesn’t have a rocket shelter. If the siren catches her at home, all she can do is cling to the mezuzah in the stairway and pray.

The hardest thing has been seeing far-left groups in the Diaspora, like Na’amod in Britain, protesting on behalf of the Palestinians while we’re literally cowering for our lives, and our young men and women are risking their lives to eliminate this terrorist threat.

If you, our friends and family in the Diaspora, don’t have our backs—who will?

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments