The third day of our "mini-war" with Hamas is coming to an end. My day began a few minutes before 8 am, when the sirens went off in Tel Aviv. We have stopped going down to the shelter, but stand in a part of the hallway of our apartment that has no windows. This morning, about a minute after the siren, we heard a very loud explosion that shook the apartment. It was (of course) Iron Dome intercepting the rocket in the sky about a mile from us. This was followed by three weaker explosions (the second intercept and the extra intercept missiles self-destructing.) Two hours later the scenario was repeated. This time the explosions were slightly more muted, meaning the intercepts were probably further South. That was it today, for us. Although there were a few more rockets fired in our general direction, the alarms did not go off (meaning they would not have landed near us), and Iron Dome did its job intercepting the incoming missiles.
Later in the day Hamas fired five missiles at Jerusalem. Two missiles were seen being intercepted on live TV and three fell in open areas – one of them outside an Arab Village in the West Bank. This evening there were two potentially more dangerous attacks. The first one was around dusk, when Hamas launched 50 rockets at Be'ersheva. One of the rockets got through, nine were intercepted, and the rest fell in the desert. Luckily, the missile that got through fell into the yard of a family who were in a shelter. As a result no one was hurt.
Later tonight, a large number of rockets were fired at Ashdod. One missile got through there as well, setting a car on fire. Again, no one was hurt. However, two soldiers were wounded this evening when Hamas fired mortars at them.
Meanwhile, the Israel Air Force continues to attack targets on the Gaza Strip. The IAF claims to still have many more targets they can hit – but the Air Force always makes that claim. The big question hanging over Israel tonight is whether or not to send ground troops into Gaza. In a poll conducted tonight, 47% of Israelis said they opposed doing a ground initiative. On the other hand, there may be no other way to stop the rockets. At the moment, the world seems not to care – with our usual critics remaining rather quiet for the meantime. I could make predictions as to whether we will be going into Gaza by ground, or for that matter, how long such an operation would last. Though quite frankly, any prediction I might make will be no more accurate than using a "Ouija board".
I can say the following – On one hand, the Israeli public is being remarkably resilient in dealing with the current situation. Having Iron Dome certainly takes away the feeling of real physical danger. On the other hand, there is a clear psychological and economic cost. I can’t imagine what it was like to live through the London Blitz or equivalent events. I was here for the First Gulf War – when we had no anti-missile defense system. There is absolutely no question that it seems much less dangerous here now. At the same time, it's hard to try to go about daily life, and work productively when a siren can go off at any moment. I can’t imagine what life is like for those closer to Gaza, where instead of being subjected to red alerts two or three times a day, sirens are going off every hour.