Monday, March 12, 2012

Short Takes on Falling Rockets

Once again we find ourselves the targets of rockets falling from the sky, lovingly launched by a legion of lunatics directly to our south. A few random thoughts:

A Strong Reaction Must Be Good
You can always tell how high up the victim was by the strength of the reaction. The IDF must have gotten a pretty important guy. Otherwise, they would have just bid him well with his 72 virgins and moved on. The fact that they're shooting rockets in "revenge" must mean that he was important.

Israelis Aren't All Macho. And That's Good.
On Friday night we had two azakot (alarms) in Yad Binyamin, one at 12:30am and another at 7:20. Doing an informal poll, I was surprised to discover that those who did enter their protected rooms (called a Mamad) and those who did not did not fall along Israeli/Anglo lines. Some Israelis were freaked out by the sirens, and some Anglos were just taking it in stride, preferring not to freak out their kids. My uncle was in shul during the second alarm (actually davening Amidah) and he said that no one moved.
Truthfully, I'm not that moved by the sirens. The odds of a direct hit are really, really low. But we still did go to the Mamad because it just seems like the prudent thing to do. I often wonder about the macho group dynamics that would cause people to hear the siren, look at one-another, and just ignore it. It seems to me that we wear our bravado on our sleeves at our own peril, God forbid.

No School Today. Which is Worse.
They cancelled school today for pretty much everyone, which only makes things worse for the kids who have to ponder why they don't have school while they're bored all day. Thankfully, the local Matnas (that's Israeli for JCC) quickly organized buses to the Safari in Ramat Gan. And, since we're victims of the rockets, everything is discounted for us! 25 shekel for the Safari? Half price! You knew the rockets were worth something!

Warning Technology is Amazing
The sirens don't actually go off all the time. In fact, you can often hear a siren in an adjacent area, while yours is quiet. Ten years ago, we'd have been running to the Mamad all the time. Now, it's much less. Also, they reported that the Iron Dome missile battery shot down 27 out of 30 rockets, (the numbers keep changing) which is amazing, but that altogether, the Loony Loons to the South shot over 130. All of this means that as soon as a rocket goes up, the IDF:
  • Identifies the trajectory of the rocket and possible hit area
  • Determines if there's even a possibility that the projectile will strike a populated area
  • Decides whether the fire an Iron Dome rocket (after all, those things are expensive)
  • Alerts the projected target area - and that area only - of the incoming rocket
That's some pretty awesome defense tech, if you ask me. And, they're soon going to roll out a cellphone SMS system where anyone who's physically in the projected rocket strike zone will get a text message warning him to take cover. (I've also read that the company that developed this technology is working on expanding it to warn of an incoming tsunami around the world.)

And, While All of This Continues...
The State of Israel has kept the border crossings open, allowing aid and other goods to pass into Gaza. After all, a terrorist has to eat. How else will he have the energy to shoot rockets at us?