We are coming to the end of the second day of our "mini-war" with Hamas in Gaza. This war effectively began on Monday night when Hamas launched attacks on many Israeli cities south of Tel Aviv. Once that happened, it was clear Israel would respond with heavy air attacks on Hamas targets, and thus the fighting was on. It has been a strange two days. Last night, when the sirens went off for the first time, we all headed to the bomb shelter in our building. We found that only the entry light worked in the shelter, but that was enough. After two minutes we heard the explosion that signaled the missile had been intercepted. We then headed back upstairs to an evening glued to the TV, with many attacks on different parts of Israel – but no more rockets were sent to Tel Aviv. There was one missile over Givatayim (the next town over), which was erroneously announced on TV as an attack on Tel Aviv. There were no warning sirens for this in our neighborhood since the system is designed to only send out an alert if there is a possibility of an attack exactly where you are. However, from our apartment we could hear the explosion when that missile was once again intercepted. Yesterday, during the course of the evening, the Hamas attacks spread as far north as Hadera, and also hit the Jerusalem area.
This morning we were greeted with sirens soon after getting up. My son and one a close family friend who is staying with us were asleep. I decided not to try to wake them. Since I realized the night before that with a 40 story building across the street from us (immediately south of our location) there was almost no physical way for a missile coming from Gaza to strike us, even if Iron Dome failed to shoot down the missile.
During the day today Hamas continued to attack (mostly immediately around Gaza). Although they did shoot one rocket as far as the Carmel Hills area, to the south of Haifa. Tonight they also tried to attack the nuclear facility at Dimona. However, all the rockets that might have hit that location were intercepted. Thankfully, in all the attacks to date, not even one Israeli has been wounded The Israeli anti-missile system that is primarily – but not exclusively Iron Dome – has hit 97.5% of the missiles launched that would have hit populated areas. The few misses have been very close to Gaza, where the missiles have very limited time to engage and intercept. Of course, that has not been the case in Gaza, where our attacks have killed 50 people. That is sad, but I am afraid unavoidable.
Hamas is getting more and more frustrated. They attempted to sneak terrorists into the country three times in the last 24 hours. In each case, all of the attackers were killed. Israeli observers are divided on whether Hamas is close to breaking.
Where this goes from here is not clear. There is a lot of talk of a ground assault. By tomorrow night we will have enough troops on the Gaza border to begin a limited assault, but it's not clear if we will actually do so. Before Iron Dome the cost-benefit analysis was clear. We had to stop the rockets at whatever the cost. However, what about now? At this point we are incurring no casualties. Once we send in troops we will suffer casualties. Is it worth it? Do we have a choice? As of this writing it's been a remarkably quiet night. That may be because at the exact moment Hamas was planning to launch it's missiles the Israeli Air Force initiated a massive assault on Hamas launch sites. At 11:30 PM Hamas launched 40 rockets at targets in Southern Israel. Iron Dome intercepted seven of them and the rest landed in open fields.