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The Edge of Protection

Binyamin Rose

If the Hamas missile threat had until now been relegated to the towns in Israel’s south, this time around the entire country is living under the threat of rocket fire, as Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak, Rechovot and Holon, Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, have all become the new frontier. Will Operation Protective Edge finally put an end to the seemingly infinite missile barrage, or will it be another Band-Aid on Gaza until the next round?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Israelis are long accustomed to living with the tension of feeling they’re living in a protected bubble on one hand, and knowing they’re a moving target for a deadly attack on the other. Seeing soldiers patrolling the street or emptying your pockets on your way into a shopping mall is second nature. Yet there’s no such thing as a lockdown even in case of a “hot terror alert,” where radio announcers might warn that a terrorist is reportedly heading for a major city and citizens should be alert for any suspicious people or objects. When bus bombings were prevalent a decade ago, no sooner were the casualties evacuated than “clean-up crews” would arrive to begin working through the night to restore the scenes to their pre-attack appearance. With the exception of whatever memorial candles or wreaths might have been left by mourners, by the next day, there wasn’t a trace of the previous night’s terror. That Israeli aplomb in the face of sudden death is still holding up, for the most part, as Operation Protective Edge — the IDF response to the third major flare-up of rocket attacks from Gaza in less than six years — enters its second week. There is a veneer of business as usual. Television networks show joggers along treelined Rothschild Boulevard inTelAviv continuing apace, sneakers pounding the pavement, as the sirens blare. Photojournalists snap candid shots of citizens on rooftops watching the white streaks of Iron Dome interceptors knocking incoming Hamas missiles out of an otherwise bright blue summer sky. But it is a sobering fact that all of Israel’s 7 million Jews are currently living under the threat of rocket fire. Life between sirens, in and out of bomb shelters, has become the daily routine for hundreds of thousands of Israelis, after close to 1,000 rockets have landed somewhere in Israel. The IDF has retaliated with more than 1,000 air sorties on the sources of the firing in the Gaza Strip. Jewish casualties so far have been kept to a bare minimum, but disruptions to daily schedules are running at a maximum. 

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