What's It Like Being in Israel During the Most Recent Hamas Rocket Attacks?

The best answer to any question.
Nov. 20 2012 3:56 PM

What's It Like Being in Israel During the Most Recent Hamas Rocket Attacks?

156745772
During a lull in militant rocket fire and sillouhetted against fighter jet vapour trails, a young boy plays on the roof of a bomb shelter and blows soap bubbles on November 20, 2012 in Ashkelon, Israel.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

ylivne

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Yair Livne, Quora data scientist:

It's pretty surreal.

Advertisement

As someone now living in the United States full time and who was just lucky enough to come for a visit a day ago, here are some things I've experienced and found pretty shocking (yet oddly familiar from spending more than 27 years in Israel):

  • You change plans based on news updates on where rockets are currently falling. We're here only for several days and were hoping to meet a bunch of people all over, dine at a few favorite restaurants, etc., now those plans are all in limbo based on the geography of how the conflict progresses (yeah, "first world problems," but still something you would never encounter in the U.S.).
  • You worry a bunch. Our families don't live in the southern part of the country, and we hardly know people who are under constant fire, but almost everybody we know is either in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, which now both seem like legitimate targets. Yes, the chances for actually getting hit are minuscule, but feeling that there's someone out there actively gunning for you or your loved ones with medium-range rockets is pretty unnerving.
  • You experience indoor camping. A ton of people have temporarily relocated to safer areas and are shacking up with family or friends. We're currently sharing a roof with 10+ family members. This is great for family bonding but really drives in that feeling that a war is going on.
  • You feel a lot of stress and tension. Even if you're not super worried, there's probably someone around you that is way more worried. Worried people are tense, and this tension builds up as the situation is getting worse.
  • You're often surprised by the turn of events. I was sitting in a bar in Jerusalem when the first rocket in more than 40 years hit the Jerusalem area, which was quite shocking as almost everyone assumed Jerusalem was off limits even in this current conflict. It was a pretty loud bar scene so we didn't hear the preceding warning sirens, and only found out after the fact from a TV playing in the background, so no one was immediately scared, but you could see on people's faces how their reality just shifted under their feet in an unexpected way and something they took for granted was now gone.
  • You celebrate life. That bar scene—three seconds after the news comes in the bartenders are handing out free shots (your choice of whiskey or arak) to celebrate. It's hard to define exactly what we were celebrating (being OK? keeping happy?) but it probably boils down to wanting to feel like you still have control over your life.
  • You keep going. This is perhaps the strongest motif—lives move on. Errands need to be taken care of, appointments kept and work needs to be done. It's probably very different in the areas just adjoining Gaza that are more heavily hit, but for the large part of the country that is in rocket range but isn't under constant fire, day-to-day life is close to normal. People here are pretty hardened and have seen much worse. You need to throw more at us to really disrupt our lives.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 5:07 PM One Comedy Group Has the Perfect Idea for Ken Burns’ Next Project
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.