Thursday, December 26, 2002

I dislike describing what's happening here in a way that would make it sound as if I’m whining or wallowing in self-pity. This is why I have been writing much less about the "situation" lately.

The other day I got an e-mail from someone who said something about a few months ago when we (meaning Israel) were in a bad way. But the thing is, we still are in a bad way. Even if the security forces manage to prevent or foil nearly all the terrorist acts, it doesn't mean they are not being attempted daily, or that we don't know about them here. We are being updated all the time about terrorist attacks that have been foiled, or terrorists that have been arrested and found to have had explosive belts or other weapons aimed at killing Israeli civilians (this is usually about two or three a day). A few times a day, there are announcements on the radio of increased alert in such and such an area, then announcements that the alert has been cancelled, then announcements of alert somewhere else, or in the same area again.

So we are still very aware that we are living under the shadow of terrorist attacks.

Now the media are doing their best to increase hysteria of an Iraqi attack on Israel. The left is saying its all a Likud plot to get back votes, but I hadn't noticed that the Israeli media were necessarily the Likud's lackeys.

With or without the media's help, preparations for the war are stepping up here. They've started teaching the children in school how to put on gas masks. My girls had these lessons this week. Bedtime was delayed this evening while I explained to them a bit about how it was last time, what we are planning to do this time and generally calmed them down. Mainly my eldest. My youngest is a toughie (or she puts on a very good act). It looks like my eldest and her girlfriends had all gotten a bit panicky together.

The Health Ministry has decided not to inoculate the population for small pox, for the time being. In the meantime, they've been inoculating police and emergency medical personnel. They're also giving out pagers to deaf people in order to alert them, because they won't be able to hear the air-raid sirens.

The economic situation is getting worse. People are losing their jobs and businesses in droves. Today I spoke to a friend whose whole department was laid off a few months ago. She says there are no jobs, no projects, nothing. She says that even when she gets a job interview she discovers it isn’t a “real job”, as she calls it, but something limited in hours and duration. She’s a single mother. She needs a real job.

So this is the score: It can hit from above, it can hit from ground level, it can hit through your pocket. The amount of uncertainty and tension people are living with is making the atmosphere here very unpleasant (even more than on my comments lately ;-), but then again, maybe that’s just me passing on some of the negative energy from over here).

My friend at work is thinking of voting Mitzna. She needs someone to tell her: "This is what we're going to do and this is how and when we're going to do it."