Friday, July 18, 2014

Watching the rockets go by: Hamas missiles over Tel Aviv.

Missiles are currently being fired at Tel Aviv almost every morning, around 8:30 am. I assume that Hamas leaders go to morning prayers, pray to God and then press the firing button on their automated rocket launchers, before heading home to sleep off the exertions of Ramadan.

The other day they caught me on my bicycle. There was a siren and people around me began running for cover.  I considered the option of crouching next to a wall and decided to ignore the whole situation: in Tel Aviv being hit by a rocket is a bit like winning the lottery: Extremely unlikely but just as that never stops people buying tickets, so it doesn't stop Hamas firing or people running for cover. 

On the highway near me, the cars had stopped and some drivers were crouching behind their cars while others were simply standing there looking up into the sky.  There was a bus full of black hatted Haredi men who just got out and watched upwards, making no effort to take cover.

I also stopped and craned upwards, trying to see the missile heading towards me, when I saw four smoke trails rising up from the East - not from Gaza - they were heading up at incredible speed and I realized they must be Iron Dome missiles. Then I saw a bright light high in the sky heading South to North. Coming from the direction of Gaza, it was clearly the Palestinian missile: the light must have been its engine. One of the missiles fired by Iron Dome went straight for it and the light went out.  

The explosion came about five seconds later: sound travels at 350 meters per second and this must have been a few kilometers away.  It was followed by several more explosions.  If there were more missiles I didn't see them but some of the action was in the clouds so it seems reasonable to assume there were more.

The siren lasted a couple of minutes, but the missile drama was over in seconds, too fast to photograph. I got back on my bicycle and headed to work, as I rode through the park, every one I saw seemed to be smiling: perhaps from relief.  Perhaps happy to know that Iron Dome is out there protecting us. I spent my ride thinking about how I would write this blog.  Its taken me a couple of days to get round to it because of work pressure.  
Yesterday evening we finally went out to see a movie - a wonderful Israeli film called Zero Motivation about teenage girl soldiers. We took a baby sitter and figured that the Hamas rocket men would, as usual, leave their rockets for the morning prayers.  Well they didn't. The siren went off at the exact moment that the cinema advertising ended and the movie started: so it didn't interrupt our viewing and we had the strange experience of the entire movie audience going down into the exit tunnels to wait for "the booms" which indicate that its all over and then wandering back to their seats.  "Where were we?" shouted the bloke who was manning the device that runs the movie (can't think what he's called).  "Just start from the beginning!" we all shouted.

This shows something like what I saw:

1 comment:

  1. It's odd to think of you experiencing this in your everyday life.

    By the way, I assume you mean the projectionist. Can't be so many of those around any more - these days, they probably just have to bung some sort of DVD into a computer.


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