For months, Israeli officials had been debating whether a strike would be worth the risk. I’m relieved they have finally acted, but I worry: What if the reactors and other nuclear facilities, which are scattered throughout Iran, some buried deep underground, aren’t entirely destroyed?
Outside my house in Tel Aviv, the early-morning stillness has been pierced by the sound of explosions; sirens lag behind the shrieks of incoming missiles. Military vehicles, loudspeakers mounted on their roofs, roll through the streets, announcing passwords that call up reserve soldiers — Israeli men and women who’ve completed their mandatory military service — joined by some volunteers. The soldiers hurry out of their homes, buttoning their uniforms and scattering to bases and missions across the country. The massacres of Jews and the piles of ash left by the Nazis are part of our collective memory. So we take responsibility for our own defense — of a land that is both a haven and a self-imposed ghetto for the Jewish people.
My husband, a volunteer beyond the age of his mandatory reserve duty, is called up to defend the home front. In the past, the Israel Defense Forces’ preference for male over female reservists bothered me, but this time I am happy to stay home.
After the Holocaust, we said “Never again,” and we meant it. The world must understand that when the Jewish people are threatened, it is the first sign of a threat to international order and world peace.
I bring my mother, who lives nearby, over to the house so she won’t be alone. Her 72-year-old face is lined from age and decades of worry and war. “They will never leave us alone,” she mutters. “Your father was in Iran for two years when he fled Iraq on his way to Israel. It was different then; the Iranians loved us. Why did everything change?”
Together, with my three children, we go to our safe room. Almost every house in Israel has a room like this: a bomb shelter with thick, concrete walls, stocked with food and water, a radio, TV, and Internet, sometimes in the basement, but often a spare room used as a bedroom.
Analysts on the news repeat what we instinctively fear — that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is probably hovering over a map of Israel in his headquarters, pointing at targets to hit. A TV announcer reports missiles falling on Tel Aviv, launched from the Gaza Strip by Hamas militants. The Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad has hit civilian targets in the south in the Negev Desert. And Hezbollah, another Iran proxy, aims missiles from Lebanon toward the port city of Haifa in the north.