Blogging the War: Too Close for Comfort

by Brian on August 7, 2006

in In the News,Living Through Terror,War with Hezbollah

This article was posted on on Sunday, August 6, 2006. The link is here.

Missile lands ten minutes from my daughter’s camp.

Last week I wrote that my
12-year-old daughter, Merav, was scheduled to depart for two weeks of
camp at Kibbutz Shluchot, just south of the town of Bet Shean in the
northern Jordan Valley. In my post, I questioned whether it was
irresponsible to send Merav that much closer to the front, despite the
fact that nothing had happened at Bet Shean nor was anything expected
to at the time. In the end, we decided to continue with our “normal
life” and Merav climbed happily onto the camp bus that Friday morning.

then, my concern last week, less than a week after camp had started,
when I received a frantic call on my cell phone from the father of
Merav’s friend Shayna who was at the camp with her. “Did you hear?” the
father asked breathlessly. “Sirens just went off in Bet Shean.”

minute later, the phone rang again. It was another parent who had just
spoken with his daughter. “She said she heard a big boom,” he said and
asked if I had any more information. I didn’t – there was nothing on
any of the Internet sites I’ve been monitoring constantly since the
conflict began.

After several tense minutes where I
incessantly pushed the “refresh” button on my browser, a headline
finally appeared: a long-range missile had penetrated into Israel the
farthest of any to date, landing in Bet Shean proper, while another hit
an open field somewhere between Bet Shean and the West Bank city of

Bet Shean is 10 minutes north of Kibbutz Shluchot – a
veritable gulf in this war of missiles. Still, that didn’t particularly
put my mind at ease, considering that at the very moment the missile
was striking ground, my daughter Merav was not at the kibbutz at all.
She had been come down with a nasty stomach ache that morning, and the
camp nurse sent her to the closest HMO doctor…yes, where else, but in
Bet Shean.

Now, I know the chance of the one missile Hezbollah
has fired at Bet Shean actually hitting the exact spot where Merav was
traveling at that moment was very low. But yesterday’s strike in Kfar
Giladi that killed a crowd of 10 people who were standing in a
wide-open field shows that sometimes one’s worst fears of being in the wrong place at the wrong time really do come

Until we located Merav, I was shaking.

a very long 20 minutes, my wife, Jody, got a hold of Kenny, one of the
camp directors, on his cell phone and he told us that Merav had just
returned and was heading to the infirmary to take the pills the doctor
had prescribed. We learned further that the camp had taken to the
kibbutz bomb shelter for a drill that morning (Merav later told us she
had done the real thing at the doctor’s office, spending 15 minutes in
the shelter there).

They were taking all precautions, Kenny
reassured us, and were in touch with the home front command for any
further instructions. We were not to worry.

The missile that
landed near Merav is, fortunately, one of only a few long-range rockets
Hezbollah has left. The IDF has been particularly effective at knocking
out these weapons. It’s the thousands of short-range missiles that pose
a more constant threat to Israel’s north. It was one of those that
caused the deaths at Kfar Giladi.

about the same time as the missile was landing on Bet Shean, I received
an e-mail from an irate reader who took exception with my post on
sending Merav to camp in the first place. In his particularly
ill-tempered message, he called me a variety of names I will not stoop
to print here, but his message was clear: Either I am “in denial” or am
“unbelievably cavalier” he wrote. “You think sending your kid closer to
the border war is OK, because that means you are not taking a defeatist
attitude? That’s a bunch of s–t if I ever heard it.”

After the
missile that landed near Bet Shean, I was momentarily inclined to agree
with him, despite his foul language. But then my unpleasant
correspondent continued on to shoot himself in the foot (not an easy
task given that his pedestrian appendage was inserted firmly in mouth).

“Imagine if the U.S. was in a border skirmish with Mexican
terrorists,” he wrote, “and I decided to let my kid go to summer camp
in San Diego or La Jolla, Calif., a stone’s throw from the border? How
stupid would I have to be to do that?”

Other than the fact that
I have family living in both the aforementioned southern California
cities who would be equally offended at his accusation, I have to ask:
what would my tormentor do instead? If everyone took his approach, all
terrorists would have to do is hit a few well-situated locations in the
U.S. and, eventually, the entire population would wind up confined to a
tiny corner of Wisconsin. Guess who’d win the global war on terror then?

didn’t send Merav to camp in order to fight. But we’re not pulling her
out either, despite our concerns and the Katyusha that landed too close
for comfort. The big bully who wrote might call me cavalier. If so,
then bring on the cavalry.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Anonymous August 7, 2006 at 4:12 pm

The irate American may be pleased to know that in Arizona, at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (the southern border of which is on the International border), the National Park Service has closed almost one-half of the monument to visitation due to the threat of violence by illegal border crossers.
Even though it may be the prudent thing to do, the Park Service is actually ceding ownership of the monument. I was very saddened to learn of this during my visit in Jan 2006.
If the girls' families and Israel were to follow the same logical as the Park Service, there would soon be no Israel.
I realize that this is an extreme comparison, but at some level, I hope you'll agree, it is very apt.

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