Pirate Cat Radio


Guerrilla Artist Banksy targets Disneyland

A life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee has been placed in Disneyland by “guerrilla artist” Banksy.

The hooded figure was placed inside the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at the California theme park last weekend.

It is understood to have remained in place for 90 minutes before the ride was closed down and the figure removed.

A spokeswoman for Banksy said the stunt was intended to highlight the plight of terror suspects at the controversial detention centre in Cuba.

Banksy is notorious for his secretive and subversive stunts – such as sneaking doctored versions of classic paintings into major art galleries.

In 2005, he embarrassed the British Museum by planting a hoax cave painting of a man pushing a supermarket trolley, which he said went unnoticed for three days.

Last week, he smuggled 500 “alternative” versions of Paris Hilton’s album into record shops around the UK.

Topless fake cover

The artist replaced Hilton’s songs with his own remixes, which were given titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?

He also changed the artwork to show the US socialite topless and with a dog’s head.

The Bristolian is most famous for his graffiti artworks, which are often created in prominent public places.

Last year, he produced nine stencil sprays on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier.

The satirical images showed images of life on the other side of the barrier.

One depicted a hole in the wall with an idyllic beach, while another showed a mountain landscape.

Earlier this summer, a piece of Banksy’s graffiti art on a Bristol building was allowed to remain in place by the city council after the public voiced overwhelming support.

The stencilled image, which showed a naked man hanging onto a window ledge, won a 97% approval rating from residents on an internet discussion forum.

Banksy is due to hold what is billed as a “three day vandalised warehouse extravaganza” in Los Angeles this weekend.

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Popularity Prevails, Poops On People

I’m not crazy (save for maybe a li’l bit)…and I don’t think I’m out of touch too much…so why am I still discussing the now long-gone 2006 Oscars? Because I just saw “TransAmerica” last week and am now convinced that Felicity Huffman was robbed of the Oscar for Best Actress! This bothers me because I believe in art and I believe in merit…but apparently (and often traditionally), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disagrees. It would be really gratifying to hear a voting member explain why Felicity was less deserving than Reese. I have to admit in all fairness, I’ve not seen Walk the Line in its entirety and I’m not claiming Reese was bad. However, a hyped up forray into singing country music (and actually recording without any prior experience) as part of the ‘challenge’ of accepting the role of June Carter Cash could not have been the deciding factor when comparing Felicity in TransAmerica. (I’m focusing on what were the two frontrunners for the award). Felicity Huffman impressed me by taking on the obviously more extreme challenge of inhabiting the mind and emotions of a person who’s spent a lifetime of overwhelming unhappines with their natural physicality and outward appearance. Moreover, to me she did become a man so disgusted by his own penis because of his ‘gender dysphoria’ that he’d gleefully have it removed in contrast to the sacred value a penis holds for most men men. I forgot that she was an actress without a penis to begin with. To portray this convincingly would mean having to connect with something/someone really far removed from her own experience. I doubt the ‘complexity’ Reese added to the character of June Carter Cash could come anywhere near the complexity Felicity needed to muster up and inject into her character in order to play the role as successfully as she did.
Overall, I was blown away by Felicity Huffman’s dramatic depth and artistry and the lengths she took for her craft. The falsetto she skillfully used in character and which she kept very consistent throughout the film’s entirety was even realistic in tone and inflection. It further showed a commitment to character that trancended the brunette dye job Reese kept for playing June. That’s work! That’s labor! That’s art! That’s a craft! That’s also part of the minutiae that Reese Witherspoon was spared from having to achieve. (She used a Southern accent but she’s already from the South!) Then again, Reese did have to learn to warble some country tunes, which was undoubtedly so much more impressive, she was handed the Oscar. That’s arts and crafts!
However, the Academy voted for her because she’s a media darling, a consistent actress, she’s a hollywood sweetheard, she’s legally blonde!, and because she’s MORE POPULAR. Felicity Huffman is older but lesser known in the industry. She’s also less recognizable in the media and only recently broke into fame through television (despite most likely having worked longer)
She’s no one’s sweetheart except William H. Macy’s and she’s got way smaller breasts. She’s not as popular but she gave a stellar performance in a difficult role. She ultimately got shit on by the Academy at the 2006 Oscars, demonstrating yet again that popularity prevails and will poop on people.

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Burning MN Weekend

This year we decided to go to Minneapolis for Burning Man weekend. It was so awesome, I mean we sat in this condo and looked out the window at all these people who were just drinking themselves silly. I mean, they were dressed up in Dockers and pale yellow tee-shirts and they were wearing loafers – really loafers – with soft soles and everything and they had playa names like “Polo” and “Ralph”, it was so amazing. And everyday at around 4:30 they had this thing they call “happy hour” where they passed around trays of little finger foods, and it was totally interactive –I mean, they’d just pass the tray to you and you’d pick one up, you know, like a little piece of meat or a pizza roll and you’d pop it in your mouth – and damn, things just taste different out there, I can’t describe it, words like “good” and “nice” really don’t do it justice, but those are the only adjectives they have out here.

Out in the courtyard, where they do “happy hour,” these things that shoot up into the air and turn the sky black – they call them “birds,” and they make so much noise, it’s incredible. One day, I can’t remember which because they all run together, we went for a drive; we just drove straight and kept going (I think Minneapolis is where they shoot all those car commercials,) and the sun was setting, and we were worried about finding our way back, but then we realized there were these big tall buildings on the horizon, sort of like a marker for center camp, and we just pointed the car back in that direction and kept driving. It was awesome.

The daytimes are so fun, everyone is tired and giddy and they just sit around on lawn chairs with drinks in their hands talking about what they did at happy hour yesterday, and just trying to stay cool because it’s like 72 degrees or something. But nighttime is when things really get crazy. Everyone puts on their new clothes they’ve all spent months shopping for at places like Target and Banana Republic, and after happy hour they head out to Hennepin Street, where music is pounding from all directions, and they see how much liquor they can pour down their gullets before last call at 1:30 am. Then everyone, all at once, crowds onto the streets and they have this contest to see who can make it home without tipping over, or falling face down in their own vomit.

The thing about Minnesota is that everyone is really nice. I mean they’ll ask where you’re from and buy you a drink and do anything for you. Even as it was all happening I knew it was changing my life. All those things I usually care about, like doing drugs with my friends until the sun comes up; and wearing glitter and hot pants, it was like none of that mattered out there. I mean there was no pressure to be an individual; you didn’t have to wear something interesting, or say something funny to be accepted, all you had to do was just show up. It was so easy. I mean, for the first time I felt like I could just be myself, and it was really easy to do, because everyone else was just being themselves, so you had something to go on, you know, something to pattern yourself after.

I hate to see it all come to an end, because I learned so much, and had so much fun. But I’ve decided that if I can do that here, then I can do it anywhere. I’m making a commitment to bring a little bit of Minnesota home with me. I know that in time it will fade, and that by this time next year I’ll probably need to come back to get a little shot in the arm, but until then I’m just going to try to be nice, really nice. Minnesota nice.

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Resturant in India Hails Hitler

A NEW restaurant in India’s financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters featuring the Nazi leader and swastikas, has infuriated the country’s small Jewish community.

The owner of Hitler’s Cross, which opened last week, says he chose the name to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.

“We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different,” Punit Shablok said.

But India’s remaining Jews – most migrated to Israel and the West over the years – are outraged by the gimmick.

“This signifies a severe lack of awareness of the agony of millions of Jews caused by one man,” Jonathan Solomon, the chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, said.

“We are going to stop this deification of Hitler.”

Posters featuring a red swastika carved in the name of the eatery line the road leading up to the restaurant.

A huge portrait of a stern-looking Führer greets visitors at the door and the interior is done out in the Nazi colours of red, white and black. The restaurant also has a lounge for smoking the exotic Indian water pipe or “hookah”.

“This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal,” Fatima Kabani, the restaurant manager, said, adding that more branches were planned in Mumbai.
The owner of the restaurant, Puneet Sabhlok told the BBC he was “very sorry” but he would not be changing the name of his restaurant.

Giant poster of Hitler outside the restaurant
The owner says a guest put up the poster
“My customers are not complaining about the name, they are very amused by it,” he said.

“Just like Hitler wanted to conquer the world, I want to conquer at least my area through the food served in my restaurant.”

Mr Sabhlok also said he was not promoting Hitler in any manner as he did not have any pictures of the German Nazi leader or decor related to him.

The cross in the restaurant’s name refers to the swastika that symbolised the Nazi regime.

The emblem has its roots in ancient Indian Hindu tradition and remains a sacred symbol for Hindus. Nazi theorists appropriated it to bolster their central hypothesis of the Aryan origins of the German people.

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A journal of the Israel & Hezbollah Conflict ( July 14th – August 14th)

A friend’s brother, who currently lives in Israel, wrote this journal between July 14th and August 14th. If you would like to contact him (the author) you may do so by emailing him at buji3@bezeqint.net.


Friday July 14, 2006 –

My father and stepmother land in Israel in the morning. Of course they want to know about the rocket which hit Haifa yesterday. I tell them it was only one rocket and most likely it was a stray… must have been an accident. If Hezbollah were to really shoot rockets on Haifa that would be the end of Lebanon. We come to Haifa, get checked in at the hotel where they are staying, and my wife comes to meet us there with the baby. It is to be the first time the baby and my father and stepmother meet. We eat a nice dinner with my wife’s parents and at night we stop by my house so my father learns the way from the hotel and back. We say goodnight and part ways.

Today we just hang out at my house watching movies, eating lunch, watching more movies, eating dinner… playing on the computer, and watching the news… We plan to go to the ministry of interior in the morning…to take care of some citizenship problem with my father. I tell my father I will pick him up with my car at 8:00 in the morning and we will drive right down there.

Sunday July 16, 2006 –

9:00 am-

Having finished up at the Ministry of Interior, we go back out to the parking complex across the street where my car is parked. En route to the car we hear the loud booms in the air… My father is petrified.. I tell him it is nothing, it is most likely the navy doing target practice… We are rushed underground into the parking lot where we find out instantly that Haifa is under attack by rockets and some landed not 300 meters from us… 8 people were killed in the train garage in downtown Haifa. They suffered a direct hit into the garage.

The building in this picture which looks like a ‘blimp’ is the Ministry of Interior… the arrow shows where the train garage is…

We were that close… I drive my father back to the hotel to find his wife… after searching for about half an hour, down in the shelter, up in the room, in the hotel, back in the shelter… we find her in a corner. She is extremely happy to see us… I try contacting my wife by cell phone, but there is no reception… it takes me 45 minutes to get in touch with her… After calming down from our shock, I convince my father and stepmother to come with me to get Tali and stay at our home where we can have our own privacy and if needed , we have a bomb shelter down the stairs. They agree to come with me. But no sooner than we get to daylight outside, another siren is sounded and some more rockets hit Haifa. We hear them land in the distance. My father and stepmother rush back down to the shelter. I tell them I am headed back home to get my wife and baby and we will be in contact later. We part our own ways.

I drive towards the Kirayot pretty quickly. There are very few cars on the street. Those who are on the street are in mayhem and driving recklessly with complete disregard for speed limits, traffic signals, traffic signs… I still try to call my wife nonstop, but get no connection… I finally get an SMS message from her that she is in a shelter at an address close to our house. I finally get there, we hug, everyone is ok, and I take her home.

18:00 pm-

My father and wife come over to our place to eat some dinner and watch television. We discuss the days events and my stepmother is not sure she wants to stay as long as originally planned. We play with the baby, watch some movies, and at night they go back to the hotel room… I find out later that night that one of the people who died in the rocket attack at the train garage is my friend’s cousin… and another is my brother in law’s neighbor who just got married a year ago and left behind a one month old baby…

Monday July 17, 2006-

10:00 am-

My father and stepmother show up at our place… we spend the morning looking at baby pictures we took over the weekend and hanging out with the baby. Time passes on and we look for a restaurant to go have lunch at. My father has always been fond of a specific fish restaurant in Bat Galim. We call to make sure that they are open, and sure enough they are. We obviously do not need reservations since Haifa is pretty much quiet on the streets, people are staying inside, but we are complacent.

13:30 pm-

We arrive at the restaurant and take a table near the window. The baby is fast asleep at the end of the table. The waiter, also the owner, brings us the 15 salads and spoils us with tasty goodies… we order our fishes. As our fish arrive the first siren of the day sounds and we walk into the restaurant to stay away from the windows… We hear some booms in the far disatance. My stepmother is a little on edge. My wife is also as she holds the baby in her arms. My father and I watch the television to get updates… The rockets had landed in the mountains in empty fields… others landed in the sea not too far from us. We go back to the table to finish our meals…

My father askes the waiter/owner how he feels about this whole thing. He is arab, but he is also Israeli… he says that he wishes the Israelis blow the Hezbollah of the face of the earth. He wants peace and quiet. My father asks him why he stays open during this whole thing… He answers by saying that God has predetermined when his time to leave this world is… nothing can change that… so he comes to work, he needs to make a living. If it is his time to go, it is his time. Good answer.

14:30 pm-

Another siren sounds…. I see people across the street rush into a shelter on their side… I see the streets empty to nothingness. I see police cars driving past, they are the only cars on the road. We rush again into the back of the restaurant and watch the news… We hear a boom in the distance. This one hit downtown Haifa not far from where the rocket hit yesterday… not far from the train garage. After ten minutes, everything cools down and we go back to the table for desert.

14:50 pm-

We pay the bill and head back out to the car. Our plan was to go visit my grandmother (my father’s mother) after lunch, but things got a bit shaky.

As we get to the car to pile in, a siren sounds… My father’s instincts were right on and he rushed us into a stairwell at the nearest building to the car… once we are all in the stairwell, no sooner than 10 seconds go by and we hear the biggest booms of our lives… a rocket directly hit an apartment building no further than 200 meters away from us… The boom was so loud that I saw leaves fall off the trees outside and papers fly along the road as if there were a wind. We were shaking with fearm hugging one another. Another woman was in the stairwell with us. She didn’t speak Hebrew. She was a new immigrant from Russia. Imagine moving to a new country where you have hopes to improve your life and THIS happens… The women are crying with fear. We pile back into the car and begin to drive. To the north, Bat Galim is closed off with police barricades, so we drive south along the beach. We are all in shock from the blast. We instantly decide to leave Haifa and head south to Ashdod to friends which is about 100 miles from Haifa. On the way we call my grandmother to tell her we wont be able to make it.

Here is what the building looked like in Bat Galim after the rocket hit directly…

Here is the building across the street, the scattered marks are from the little steel balls in the rockets

Here is a close up of that same hood of the car. There are thousands of these tiny steel balls in the head of the rocket…

Here are some of the balls in the palm of a hand. Notice the one shekel coin. It is about the same size as an American dime… there are literally thousands of these balls in the head of the rocket. They do the biggest part of the damage. They destroy, they KILL.

18:00 pm –

We arrive in Ashdod and decide to drive back to Haifa to get my father’s luggage from the hotel and check out, then we drive to my apartment to pack a suitcase and get my family’s things because we are certain not to go back to Haifa as long as my father and stepmother are still in Israel. That attack in Bat Galim was cutting it way too close. Yesterday was close enough, this was even closer….

23:00 pm-

After eight hours of driving back and forth and back again… Haifa/Ashdod, we go to sleep peacefully…

From Monday night until Thursday we are staying with an incredible host in Ashdod, enjoying ourselves, but we are definitely not on vacation as we are still glued to the television. The whole northern part of the country is under attack… nobody figured it would take this long, but it is not an army against an army. It is an army against terrorists. There are rules to this one… and strategy. Who knows how long it will take? Israel promises it will go to any extreme to drive Hezbollah out of Lebanon and get its captured soldiers back.

Thursday July 20, 2006-

My father’s flight was originally scheduled for today, but my stepmother’s flight was scheduled for August 3rd…. she was to stay on another 2 weeks with me and my family. She ended up getting an earlier flight with my father. Who is to blame her?

After saying goodbye to my father and stepmother, I drive my family back to Petach Tikva where we are staying with my wife’s sister, her partner, and their two boys (2.5 years old and 1.5 years old). It has been hectic being part of that household especially with our 1 month old daughter. I felt that we really didn’t have a choice since my main objective was to keep my newborn out of the line of fire of the katiyusha rockets coming in from the north.

Friday July 21, 2006-

Morale is still good at the home in Petach Tikva. We made a nice Shabbat dinner and we sat around the house at night glued to the television set. Things have been relatively quiet in Haifa and the north. RELATIVELY. Perhaps Israel is making progress… perhaps the Hezbollah is running out of longer range rockets.

Saturday July 22, 2006-

In the afternoon my wife and I decide to take the baby out for a walk. Finally we have some time together, privacy, quiet… we got our first chance to talk openly together. We decided to pack up our things and go back to Haifa. Living in someone else’s house is not so easy… we want our own home back and even if it means being back in the warzone, we will do it. When we get back to the apartment in Petach Tikva, we tell them we want to go back to Haifa. They try to persuade us not to go, but we are firm in our decision. We leave at 8:00 pm and head north. Much to our surprise we are not alone on the highway. As a matter of fact there is a traffic jam of others with the same intent as us… it took 2.5 hours to make what would normally be a 1.5 hour drive home. Once at home, we clean up our house that we left almost a week ago. We throw out the spoiled food from the fridge, the bad milk. I throw a load into the washing machine, and we go to sleep exhausted and a bit paranoid that through our deep sleep we won’t hear the sirens warning us of incoming rockets..

Sunday July 23, 2006-

We wake up early in the morning with the hungry baby. I make her food and allow my wife to sleep in a few more hours. At 10:00 am, I wake up my wife to keep an eye on the baby while I go out to pay bills at the post office. I wonder to myself how I will be able to keep this up. The bills keep coming in, rent, food costs, and I haven’t been able to go to work for 12 days now. I have no income and have no idea when an income will come in again. My savings is dwindling. At the post office I am the fifth person in line. When it is my turn to get to the clerk a siren sounds outside and we are all rushed into the bomb shelter there at the post office. One minute later we hear the echoes of the rockets hitting Haifa… I heard 4 or 5, and they sounded close. I tried calling my wife with my cell phone, but couldn’t get reception in the shelter. After about ten minutes of quiet in the shelter, we all come out and I pay my bills. At the same time I call my wife to make sure she is ok, but there is no answer. I get into the car and drive home and she is waiting in the living room. Everything is fine. Her phone was charging in the charger. I kiss her and kiss my baby and we watch the news together. We have been glued to the television, to the radio, to our phones for almost 2 weeks now. On the news they tell of 13 rockets to hit Haifa. All in random places. One in the community near ours (Kiryat Atta). There are 2 people killed from direct hits, 5 seriously injured, and many more with moderate to light injuries… After an hour of quiet I decide to make a shopping list for food to fill our fridge. I drive to the closest super market. Once inside, five minutes later an announcement comes over the loud speaker for all shoppers and employees to rush to the bomb shelter as there is a siren outside. We all make it to one of the two shelters in the supermarket. The one I am in has 30 people, it is air conditioned, and there is a radio. One woman accidentally leans against the wall and flicks off the light inside. People are yelling at her, everyone is on edge, tense. She apologizes. One gentleman tells people that it is nothing, the woman didn’t do it on purpose… 10 minutes later we all leave the shelter and go back to our shopping or work. I call my wife to make sure that she is ok. This time her phone is charged and I am happy to know everything is fine. I finish my shopping and go straight home.

Once at home, we put the food and things away and my wife prepares a nice lunch while I feed the baby and try to get her to sleep. My wife brings out the salad to the table and we begin to eat… The baby wakes up crying and my wife picks her up to calm her down . In the meantime I am finished with my salad and now eating my pasta… When I finish the pasta and finish my lunch, my wife asks me to hold the baby while she eats… I take the baby and it is no more than a minute when another siren sounds and we are rushed down to the bomb shelter… It is my first time in the shelter. We are lucky as we only need to go down 15 stairs and make the corner and we are there… There 10 tenants there with us. The room is tiny, no windows, it is musty… There is electricity, a light is on and a fan to circulate the air. It is hot. There are roaches on the walls and the floor is filthy. But as far as bomb shelters go, I suppose it is bearable. 10 minutes after the siren stops and everything is still quiet, we go back upstairs. We didn’t hear any rockets fall, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t. We get back into our apartment, and watch television looking for reports to whether or not rockets have hit. We sit down and my wife tries to eat her lunch once again, and just as we do, once again, sirens sound…. And here we go again…. Down in the shelter I thought I heard what sounded like a rocket hit far away in the distance, but I could be wrong. Our neighbors know that we have been gone for almost a week, and they tell us that yesterday afternoon there were 15-20 sirens almost every half an hour all day long… The baby is restless, trying to sleep and every time she almost drifts off we get another siren. I am not sure that we made the right choice coming back to Haifa, but at least we are home. We have our privacy, we are not dependent on other people in their homes… and we have eachother.


17:38 pm.
Feeding the baby and trying to get her to sleep, she hasn’t rested all day because of the chaos. I turn off the soothing music and put on the television. Only a few minutes ago a rocket hit in Nesher, Haifa, and I didn’t even hear the sirens. Sometimes you just can’t hear them. I can’t sit at the house with no music, no television, the windows open so I can hear the siren. Sometimes you just can’t hear it. All day long I hear the Israeli fighter planes flying overhead. All week long, nonstop. You would imagine that with all those planes, all that firepower… you would imagine the rocket fire would be over and done with. I underestimate the strength of the Hezbollah, I underestimate how many rockets they have. When Nasrallah says on television that he has even more rockets with much farther range than the ones he is using now, should we believe him, is he bluffing…

19:04 pm.
just back from the shelter for the fourth time since my last entry. We can barley carry on with our regular lives and hear it. It is about 28 degrees Celsius outside with about 60% humidity, so of course our windows are closed and the air conditioner is on… We hear a faint sound of what sounds like an ambulance which turns into the siren sound. Israel tries their best to give us at least 30 seconds of a warning before the rockets hit. By the time we make out the siren, it leaves us about 10 seconds. We are contemplating leaving home again and going back south to friends or family. Tough decision to make. We feel safe enough at home, not worried too much, but the reality of it is not comfortable. Anything that sounds like a siren… a video game I play on the computer makes my wife jumpy. The squeaking of the wheels on the baby’s stroller when my wife rocks her… The news playing a segment of a siren from this afternoon got us jumpy… Anything similar… and let’s not forget what happened when I accidentally dropped a book from the coffee table and my wife nearly threw a glass of water at me… we are all jumpy. But we won’t be forced out of our homes because of it… They say that Nasrallah is shooting rockets at Haifa not to kill, not to destroy… he is sending rockets to Haifa to create fear in the heads of the Israelis… and he is succeeding. We too are scared, but not leaving home.
– – – – – – —————————–

Monday July 24, 2006 –

15:16 pm

It has been relatively quiet in Haifa for about the last 15 hours. There was a siren this morning at about 11:00 am, but neither my wife or I heard it. There were no hits from the rockets, there might not have even been rockets in our direction. Sometimes they misjudge where the projectile is aimed at. The army has been doing a fantastic job with the sirens giving fair enough warning to get to the shelters and not sounding sirens when there are no sirens in our direction. Only in the very beginning did some rockets land in Haifa without warning. The ones which hit the train garage a week ago Sunday came in with no warning.

At 15:00 there was another siren and my wife came into the bedroom to wake me up. At 11:00 pm last night I found myself restless in bed with nausea. I couldn’t get to sleep. At about 1:00 am I found myself in the guest bathroom vomiting my dinner in the toilet. I cannot remember the last time I ever vomited. I brushed my teeth and drank some cold water and tried to get back to sleep. Fever set in. My concerned wife woke up and got a thermometer. I had a fever of 38 celsius (100.4 F.) She got a washcloth and cold water and did compresses on my forhead to try and relax me back to sleep. I felt pains in my feet and tossed and turned until about 8 in the morning. Could this be psychosomatic, or was I really sick. My wife and I have been together , glued together like Siamese twins since this whole thing started. We basically eat the same thing.

This stress has taken its toll… Me being sick which could be directly related to the shock. My wife has not been producing breast milk for a could of days now and we have finally made the painful decision to get prescribed pills from the doctor to dry her breast milk up. Could this be directly related to the situation as well…

They just reported that the rockets fell up in Nahariya and Shlomi. I heard a couple hits but figured it to be closer. Those communities are about 40 miles away. Imagine hearing a rocket which hits 40 miles away. Imagine how devastation the impact is…. They have a report of only one person injured so far… I pray it isn’t worse.

5 minutes later, my wife receives a phone call from her sister in law. As a matter of fact a rocket hit near her sister in law’s parent’s apartment building. It dropped in the lawn at the neighboring building… Close call… Fortunately nobody was hurt. The truth of the matter is that the Israelis do not report anymore about rockets landing if they do not harm anyone…

16:10 –

two more sirens sound in the past 10 minutes… The first one my wife rushes into the bedroom to tell me, I don’t hear it again. She asks me to run down to the shelter wit her, but I have just fallen asleep. My sleep has been valuable lately. I tell her to sit beside me on the floor hunched over the baby. I tell her everything will be ok.

The sirens stop and minutes later they start again… this time I get out of bed and escort my family to the shelter downstairs. I watch the baby fall asleep with the sirens still blasting outside. A few minutes and the sirens stop… even when it is silent I can still hear the sirens in my imagination. Paranoia… possibly. I picture one coming in from our North side window in the bedroom. All the rockets are coming from the north. Some people here in Israel are calling them (Tilei Toto) they call them lottery rockets. You would be just as lucky to be hit by a rocket as you would winning the lottery.

Tuesday July 25, 2006 –

8:16 a.m.-

My wife has caught the flu which I have. We are both with light fevers now trying to fight them off. Last night her parents came over to pick up the baby in hopes that she won’t catch what we have. We slept from 9:45 pm through now… it was the first night we have had without the baby since she was born. We slept straight through the night… there were no sirens, no rockets launched at night… for the most part, the rocket attacks start at around high-noon and go on through the late afternoon. Nothing has been launched at night to Haifa that is. In the north in Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya and the vicinities they have been under attack 24/7. I turn on the news to get updated on what happened since I went to sleep last night.

10:49 am-

Sirens started early today. First one at 10:00 sharp. Went down to the shelter. Neighbors are already there. Two neighbor women are always in the shelter when we get there. Always sitting in the same seats. My wife and I walk in and we take our same seats. An old timer from across the hall comes in after us and takes a seat near the entrance. He speaks Russian only. There is only one person in the shelter besides his family who can understand him. He wants to communicate with people in there, but cant. However, his body language says it all. He is also traumatized by all this, his shortness of breath and facial expression says he is fed up. One neighbor woman who was complaining for two days that her son didn’t want to come down to the shelter whenever a siren sounded said that last night he finally broke down and got on a bus to Eilat. He is staying in some hostel down there. I wish I could afford going down to a resort city and bathe in the sun during these hard times… I wish I could afford a vacation. I miss my baby, maybe I should go get her back here.

12:15 p.m. –

Again sirens… this time we heard the echoes of rockets hitting… about 8-10 hits. When we go down to the shelter, the siren is still going… after a few minutes after the sirens have shut off we come back upstairs.. during the sirens is usually when the rockets hit.

It has been about 10 minutes now since the rockets landed, but there is no report yet on the television. Lunch is heating up in the oven… I got my appetite back after being sick for a day an a half. I am hungry. I hope the sirens don’t interrupt my lunch.

Television is now reporting 13-16 rockets were coming towards Haifa, 8 of them him… there are five people injured so far, 2 or them with serious injuries. One of the rockets hit where we had lunch last week, about 500 meters from the restaurant. They say that these rockets aren’t so accurate, but they hit the same places more than once. Same story with the train garage. A building got hit with a direct hit, and even more damage was done across the street. The rockets contain hundreds of little metal balls inside the head, and after the impact and explosion, these metal balls scatter distances up to 800 meters… creating more destruction. A balloon of gas (propane) was hit and it exploded. A driver in a car a few hundred meters away also got struck by the metal balls… he was taken to the hospital with light injuries… it is only a little bit past noon, this could be a long day.

10:16 pm-

I just got done from jogging outside. My wife was very disappointed in my decision to go since there was a siren tonight at 9:15, but I went anyway. I promised I would jump into a shelter or stairwell if there would be another siren.

One the news tonight they spoke about rights to workers to take pay when their employers had closed the business because of the war. Well, Haifa has not been declared a war zone, and people are not entitled to any restitution. I am self employed. I own a pro-shop where I sell bowling equipment in a bowling center in Haifa. The bowling is closed because the owner does not want to feel responsible if a rocket hits his center and there are people inside. There is no bomb shelter inside or nearby and the roof is made of aluminum. I understand him completely. There are many places which have closed the past two weeks because of the rocket attacks. As a matter of fact I don’t understand why places are open except for food markets, banks, post office, etc.. It disgusts me that the coffee shop down the street is open. I do not understand however why I shouldn’t get restitution for not going to work when I am terrified of a rocket hitting our bowling center. Just north of Haifa about 20 miles Nahariya is declared a war zone and people are instructed not to go to work. They get restitution. Maybe things will change in the near future. I wish the war would end and no more rockets would come down near my home, near my family, near my loved ones… but it doesn’t seem like it will happen anytime soon. I do however wish I would feel a little more security knowing I cannot make it to work even if I wanted to… where is my income going to come from? I have a small baby at home, and a wife. And little savings, and rent is coming up….

Wednesday July 26, 2006 –

11:00 am-

About half an hour ago we got the first sirens of the morning that I knew of. Since the baby is back with us at home I didn’t get a full night sleep. I let my wife sleep in as much as possible and I woke up early to feed the baby, and make some pancakes. During the frying of the pancakes the sirens sounded. I rushed to the living room to move the baby to a safe part of the apartment and I ran to the kitchen to take care of the food on the fire. My wife walks in and asks me to join her in the bomb shelter, I am half naked in my underpants and decline. She doesn’t go down either and joins the baby in the safe part of the apartment. A couple of rockets land nearby. We hear the booms… they are not far. Later on we find out that they landed in the township over to the west. One person in seriously injured as a result of a direct hit to his car. The person was near his car. More people injured. About 15 rockets launched and eight property or possessions… the rest land in the streets or fields.

My wife’s family call us shortly after to invite us to the center of the country where there are no attacks. They invite us to spend the Shabbat with them, but we decline. We decided to leave other people’s houses and be home. I am just as afraid that someone will notice I am not at home and break in and I am afraid that a rocket will hit. The city is hectic, police are busy following reports of rockets hitting and going to search and rescue if necessary.

15 rockets launched before 11:00 am and they still haven’t declared Haifa and the Krayot as a war zone. We have been under attack for more than two weeks now. I am exhausted and I know that if I go to sleep now I will be awakened by a siren right away. I hope I am wrong. I am going to take my chances.

18:20 p.m-

A good friend is on his way over for dinner. I am cooking a feast. Morale is up today since we only had to visit the shelter 4 times. We got to know the other tenants in the apartment complex pretty well over the past couple of days. We live in a 6-apartment building. There are 2 apartments on each floor. The apartment across from us is a new immigrant family from Russia. There is an elderly couple in its seventies, and a younger couple (one of which I assume is the kid of the elederly couple), and their daughter. The old man has the fear of God in his eyes. I can almost read his subconscious. He is asking himself why he left Russia for what was promised to be a better life, an easier life.. He doesn’t say much, because he cannot speak Hebrew. His wife is a bit more talkative, but her Hebrew is almost completely incomprehensible. (A siren in the television program my wife is watching just startled the both of us… she put the television on mute to make sure it was actually coming from the TV set.). The man of the younger couple is always the last one to walk into the shelter. He is listening to his transistor radio with his earphones and updates us as soon as he knows something. His wife always sits on the coffee table which is along the inner wall of the shelter. Their daughter comes to the shelter on occasion , but today she was at work. She must be about 20-22 years old. She usually stands outside the entrance to the shelter in the stairwell smoking a cigarette. There is another woman who lives in the apartment above ours on the second floor. She is usually the first one in the shelter. She probably has her windows open because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to make out the sirens so fast. In our apartment we have the windows closed and the air conditioner on all the time. It is July in Israel… 30-35 degrees Celsius every day with about 50-65% humidity… And the television is also noise. We are usually the last ones to make it to the shelter. Sometimes we don’t hear the siren at all. The woman above is (the first one in) is the friendliest of all of them. She has been in Israel for a long time, judging from her accent she is originally from eastern Europe, perhaps Romania, perhaps hungary… she comes down alone. She might be a widow or a divorcee. She works for Tnuva, the dairy plant and gets a 15% discount at the supermarket MEGA. We talk politics with her and count the rockets which hit. On the other end of the second floor is a single woman in her late 30s, maybe early 40s… Israeli born. She always stands on the first floor of the stairwell, she is antisocial or shy… On the third floor is a Moroccan woman who lives with her 22 year old son who left for Eilat the other day. She is the woman who is in charge of the cleanliness of the building and the lawn, etc… We pay her each 50 shekels per month for her services.. In every apartment complex in Israel there is someone like that. Today she wasn’t at home, we didn’t see her.

We have become very friendly with all our neighbors, we see eachother regularly every day, on multiple occasions, and neither my wife nor I know the names of any one of them… This situation has brought us all together, we all have something in common… otherwise we would have nothing in common other than sharing an apartment building together. It is a strange world.

Thursday July 27, 2006 –

10:45 am-

Nasrallah must be sleeping in this morning because the sirens haven’t sounded yet. I do hear planes flying overhead very frequently, so I assume that Israel is conducting more and more air attacks. Yesterday’s loss of 8 soldiers in ground attacks was very costly. Perhaps we are underestimating the Hizzbollah as an enemy. Israel is trying to call in 1000s more of reserve soldiers. They have places patriot missiles in Tel Aviv and the center. Perhaps Nasrallah does have longer range rockets. If that is the case than it wouldn’t matter if we were in Haifa or Tel Aviv, the same danger is being posed. Another ambulance siren is heard from a television program and my wife and I grab the baby and head for the door before we realize that it is not actual… When will this end?

11:03 am-

And no sooner than I finish to enter the last entry and sit down to watch the program Nanny 911, the first siren of the day sounds in Haifa. The old timers from across the hall and the woman on the second floor upstairs who works for the dairy plant met us in the shelter. We were the first ones there. We decided to keep the window cracked open a little to hear the siren better. Well… it worked. Down in the shelter we heard on rocket fall far away in the distance. There was nothing close to us. We discussed politics as we usually do. What would Ariel Sharon have done had he still been prime minister right now instead of in a coma? Did they make a mistake now by sending too few ground soldiers? What would Rabin have done? Why don’t we just go in with everything we have and finish it off quickly? We know there will be sacrifices , we know some of our soldiers will be making the ultimate sacrifice for their country’s safety. We have confidence in our country and our defense, but we want the peace restored to Haifa, we are running out of patience. The woman upstairs is finally being called back to work tomorrow for half a day. She works in accounting for the dairy plant in collections. They told her not to come into work now for almost 2 weeks. It is without pay. And still she is like us waiting for the law to pass making Haifa a war zone. She is using up her vacation pay… some vacation, huh? She is eager to get back to work. Being held in your house all the time and coming out only for errands and bomb shelters is no VACATION.

13:50 PM –

Second siren of the day wakes me up from a deep sleep nap I managed to take. After a sleepless night almost with the baby waking up every hour or two for food and human touch, I finally got myself to take a nap in the afternoon. Must have been asleep almost an hour when the siren went off. It got incorporated into my dreams (or thoughts) and I dreamed it was 15:00 pm and I was looking at the clock… My wife rushes in to wake me up which I already did a fraction of a second before. In the bedroom where it is quiet I can hear the siren… I barely make it down the stairs to the shelter, my seat is waiting for me. The neighbors realize I am just wakened as the left side of my face has a red pillow mark on it. They don’t know that the whole left side of my body is almost paralyzed from my being awakened… A few minutes go by, the sirens stop, there are no rockets which have fallen. Nothing is heard. I am happy and disappointed at the same time. Next time I am in a deep sleep I may just prefer to be left in the bedroom no matter how unsafe it is. As the man in the fish restaurant once responded when asked if he will continue to stay open, “God has put a time on all of us, it won’t matter if I am in a bomb shelter or in any other place (my restaurant), when my time is up… my time is up…”

The television just broadcasted the faces of the eight soldiers who died yesterday in battle with the Hezbollah Guerillas over the border. They are all just boys… 20 years old, 21, 24, some officers in their late 20’s and early 30s. It is deeply saddening. One is from Haifa, a 20 year old boy… and another is from Kiryat Yam where my wife is from, a 21 year old boy. They both had their whole lives ahead of them. It chokes me up and brings tears to my eyes… and that sadness is quickly erased and replaced with an anger, a hatred. It is a feeling I don’t imagine I ever had before. It makes me want to do something. I wish there was something I could do, someway I could help bring an end to this terror… give me a rocket launcher aimed at Hezbollah guerillas over the border and ask me to push the button, I wouldn’t even think twice.

15:10 pm –

Siren sounded and we all went downstairs. I took the camera to take pictures of what the shelter looks like. There is a huge steel door which is the entrance at the bottom of the stairwell, inside there is one opening with a small steel door instead of a window. It is closed. There is a ladder with three rungs leading to the opening incase we need another exit. The walls are 30cm thick (12 inches) cement.

The siren sounded, there were no rockets which hit Haifa, and just as we got up the stairs to go back inside a second siren sounded. We all rushed back to the shelter. Inside, our baby was the center of attention. Lots of questions were asked about her. Finally someone had broken the ice and asked what her name was. For the first time a name was given. A rocket struck somewhere nearby. Our neighbor woman, the daughter of the old timers we found out later, held our baby while we waited sufficient time to go back home… Her name is Yelena. She has 2 boys of her own. She wishes she had a girl. We volunteered ours anytime she wanted (to give us time to rest and be alone from time to time). The woman who lives above us, her name is Nina. We gave our names… finally we are on a name to name basis. We go back upstairs and promise Nina that next time she gets to hold the baby.




Friday July 28, 2006 –

8:30 a.m-

This morning was an early morning. The baby barely slept more than 2 hours in a row during the night. She was up most of the time and took two cat naps. At 7:00 I got out of bed to take her to the family room so my wife could sleep in a little more. After about ½ an hour I got her to sleep again and rolled her (sleeping in the carriage) into the bedroom. I changed into my running clothes, put on my shoes, and went out for a brisk morning run… About 500 meters into my run and early morning siren sounded… I rushed across the street into a multiple floor apartment building’s stairwell and found their shelter… The tenants of the apartment walked in after me and greeted me and each other with G’mornings. There were the sounds of three rockets falling in the far distance… I asked one of the people if I could use their cell phone to call home. He agreed to let me use his phone. I called my wife to make sure she was ok and that she knew I was ok… I told her I would be careful and come right home after my run. I continued on my way…

Yesterday and today I have not been able to run as long as I could a week ago. About half the distance. I have no oxygen, I have no endurance. Is it because I was sick early in the week with a flu and I am still recuperating? Is it because of the situation and the stress it is causing? Today was even worse than yesterday was… I will keep at it though until I am back to pace.

There were no casualties in this morning’s rocket attack. No reports of fallen rockets in Haifa, but a few which caused no damage in Acco (Acre). I am off to work to try and make some money today in a different bowling center outside of town, outside of the “war zone”. People there will be interested to hear my stories from the war front.

18:24 pm –

Just walked in from a day’s work out of town… It is a totally different world out there, and “out there” is only 60 km away (or just under 40 miles by car). People don’t have that “fear” that we do here in Haifa. And I am sure that people up north more like in Kiryat Shmona or even Nahariya, I am sure they are saying the same thing about us.

I brought my wife a bouquet of flowers and I brought my baby a gift which was given to her by one of my clients… I gave them both a kiss. We are getting ready for the Shabbat to come in in less than an hour. We are going to my wife’s parents for dinner (against my better judgment), but statistics say that fewer rockets fall at night than they do when it is light outside. I hope that stays true for tonight. At 17:00 pm, my wife called to tell me that a rocket fell in Kiryat Haim nearby, about a kilometer away at best. Nobody was injured…. My wife said that she heard the boom as the siren was sounding. All the faith I was having in the “system” has just been lost. For the past couple of days the sirens would sound and we would hear the booms, if any, about 30 seconds after reaching the shelter… Today was a disappointment.

On the way back from work as usual I listen to the radio. There has been a new rocket launched on Afula which has longer range… it is said that this new rocket can reach 120 km. Nasrallah is holding to his word. I saw some people pull their car over to the side, park near a bus stop which was on a hill, and there is a good view of Afula from there (about 15-20 km in the distance). They sat down with a pair of binoculars to get a glimpse from a safe distance. I saw two helicopters in the air flying NORTH in the last 10 minutes of my drive home, I passed a truck with a TANK on it driving NORTH. I saw 2 fighter planes flying NORTH and 2 flying south from the NORTH. They say on the radio that the whole NORTH of the country is paralyzed economically, they estimate it to be 1/3 of the country. They say it is a more psychological war than anything else… they say it could go on for months, they say we are winning the war slowly. Nobody has any idea what is going on… I am afraid for my family more than anything and although I have confidence in the army, I am thinking the what would happen in “worst case scenario” situations… I wish I didn’t have to think those thoughts… Shabbat Shalom to all of us…

Saturday July 29, 2006 –

10:45 am –

It was a long night again with the restless baby unable to sleep more than an hour at a time throughout the night, but it is morning again… and although we are poorly rested, we are rested (somewhat) enough. We decided to go visit my wife’s brother (Yoav) and his family this afternoon. We especially miss their 5 year old daughter and 2 year old boy. They live about 10 minutes away from here. They live in a nice apartment complex near a park and a big shopping mall. About two and a half weeks ago their neighbor was one of the unfortunate souls who died in the rocket blast at the train garage… he was married only 18 months ago and left behind a wife and infant baby not much older than mine… It will be sad to walk past their door. Yoav works in the air force. Since his service he has stayed on in the air force for the past almost 20 years. Since the war broke out he has been struck with a terrible asthma attack and was even hospitalized. It is suggested that it could be psychosomatic. It actually could be, because other than the two or three occasions when he had to show up at the air force base, he has not left the safety of his house, not even to buy milk. His house has a blast room built inside. All houses built recently have them… it is the law. Whenever a siren sounds, the family is rushed to the room, and when time is up… they return to the family room or bedrooms. For almost three weeks now, this has been their routine life. They do not leave the house, none of them. The poor kids are on summer vacation and have not seen the sun, the beach, grandparents, friends, us… unless we drop by for a visit. We are going over their with our baby and some nice little care packages to spoil the kids…

11:20 am-

We call Yoav’s wife Revi to let her know that we are going to leave soon. She asks me if I am playing with her… she tells me to call her right as we are walking out the door. She doesn’t want to have to worry if there is a siren and we haven’t left yet. She is dead serious about that. I ask her if there is anything she needs… milk, eggs, etc. She says that all she needs is a psychologist. I tell her that I studied a year of psychology in the limited college that I attended. She said that that may be good enough. We will leave in a few minutes and definitely CALL first. So far there haven’t been any sirens today, I hope there aren’t any in the next few minutes it takes us to leave and get there, I would hate to see Revi’s overly-concerned face.

15:30 pm –

after 20 hours of quiet, a siren sounded in Haifa just past 15:00 pm and we were forced to go to the shelter. We were at my wife’s brother’s house…. their little girl wanted to stand outside with a squirt gun that I brought her and play on the balcony. Her mom warned her that if a siren sounds, she should rush back into the house. Sure enough, in no time at all the first siren of the day sounded. The poor girl rushed in so fast that she slipped at the entrance and bumped her head on the edge of the fram of the glass door leading back inside. We all went into their shelter inside the house. They sleep in there at night so there is a mattress on the floor and it takes up most of the room. There is no window, there is a television and radio. There is a huge steel door which locks us in once we close it.. it is like the shelter my wife and I have at home down the stairs only this one is part of the house. I found out that since the Gulf War or 1992, Israel passed a law that all new apartment buildings were to have these shelters built into every apartment. That must be convenient. Our apartment building was built in 1985, we don’t have that luxury. It is 1/2 hour past the siren, no rockets fell in the area. About two weeks ago a rocket fell just past the park which is seen from the balcony outside of my wife’s brother’s house. I had no idea it was that close… it must have shook the windows and doors here, not to mention the security of the family. It must have landed about 300-400 meters from their home. I guess I can understand their fear a little more now. If it weren’t for the rocket which landed next to us that monday afternoon when coming out of the fish restaurant, i guess i wouldn’t have the fear that I have. These are real reality checks…

16:00 pm-

another siren sounds…. we are still at my brother in law’s house. Romy, their little girl, had her nextdoor neighbor girlfriend come over to play with her. when the siren sounded we all rushed into the shelter. the neighbor girlfriend was terribly afraid worrying about her mother, worrying about her mother worrying about her… we called her mother from the shelter to let her know we were all ok…. we turn on the radio to get the updates. The little girl is crying, short of breath. when she finally gets control of her breathing and her tears, she lets us know of her experience of the rocket which landed over the park. she said she was sleeping when it happened, she said her mother rushed into the bedroom to wake her up and take her to their shelter. keep in mind, these are the descriptions of a 6 year old girl. She firmly believes that her bedroom was almost ripped out of the building from the shock of the boom… she is still surprised that their balcony is still standing. you can see the fear in her eyes, in her body language, picking her fingernails while she recalls… the body language of a much more mature person. A 6 year old girl should be playing outside, getting dirty, using her imagination in a more positive and more productive way rather than in this terrifying way… her bedroom was almost ripped out of their apartment by the blast.

16:20 pm –

SIREN sounds again… nothing in the area has fallen… it is all in Acco (Acre) up north about 15 km (10 miles). Third siren today. A couple of rockets have fallen there, but no serious damage. More rockets fell in Nahariya and one building suffered a direct hit. I spoke with a friend, Haim, who lives in Nahariya. He lives in a rental out there in an apartment complex. He is fine, his apartment is fine. He says that both buildings to both sides of his building have suffered direct hits… Nahariya is almost completely empty… he still goes there to sleep at night against the wishes of his family. His mother who lives not too far from my family has long left Haifa and gone to Jerusalem to be with family. Haim is one of those firm believers that no matter where he goes, if his number is up, he time has come… There is a story about a man who left his home in nahariya to find a store to buy eggs a week ago…. he got out of his car, went into the shop, and on his way out there was a siren. he rushed back into the shop, into a back room….when the coast was clear….. he went back out to his car and the car was no longer…. it suffered a direct hit… obviously his time was not up. Can you imagine?

Sunday July 30, 2006 –

7:10 a.m. –

The baby woke me up at about 6:30. Just as I get the bottle fixed and her in my lap sucking away… our first siren of the day is sounded…. I hear the neighbors walking down the stairs… one of them is considerate enough to knock on our door and ring our doorbell as the siren sounds. I go down to the shelter to meet them. Few minutes later I go back up to find out that nothing hit Haifa, nothing even in the range of Haifa… just way up north in the border town of Kiryat Shmona.

It is a funny thing how last night Conaleeza Rice met with our PM and they say they are close to agreeing to a ceasefire. They propose 20,000 international troops will be sent to southern Lebanon to keep the peace there. I get the feeling that a ceasefire will not be met and it will be a longggggg day.

Another siren sounds (7:30)… and a few minutes later there is no sign of rockets falling again in Haifa… Kiryat Shmona again.

Last Sunday we got blasted and a lot of rockets did a lot of damage… let’s hope it isn’t another Bloody Sunday like last week was. I am going out for a run this morning before it gets too hot. I hope it is undisturbed.

8:35 a.m-

Back from my morning run and out of the shower already. Drip drying in front of the television another siren sounds. I run to the bedroom to throw on some clothes and get my wife and baby out of bed. My wife is already on her feet getting ready to go downstairs. I tell her to stand in the hallway this time away from windows and doors and everything will pass…. During the siren the sound of rockets falling is heard strongly. What I felt to be close turned out to be in the Nahariya / Acco (Acre) area. I decide to keep the radio on to hear the reports faster… Now they say that 3 rockets did indeed fall in the Haifa area, in empty areas… fields and such. Damn it, Haifa is again under attack. And so early in the morning. As I predicted, it will indeed be a longgg day and no ceasefire will be met.

13:20 pm-

After a morning of errands and 5 sirens, I am at home about to sit and eat lunch with my wife and watch a movie… then perhaps take a nap and get ready to take a drive down SOUTH to the other bowling center where I have a pro-shop. I need to make some money.

They say on the radio that Israel is progressing in this war very quickly and very smoothly (all things considered). And the Prime Minister says that it should be over soon… what does “soon” mean? Does it mean we are more than half way done? Could it be less than 3 more weeks? I want to go back to “normal”.

18:30 pm-

Sirens again blasting through the streets of Haifa. We rush to the shelter and are the first ones in. I am speaking to my stepsister’s husband on the phone as the sirens echo in the background. He hears them with me. He hears the fear in my voice when we hear the rockets hit the ground. What sounded like 4 booms in the not so far distance was actually 3 direct hits in Acco (Acre) nearby. They got it pretty bad today.

My friend from Nahariya said a rocket flew over his head this morning while he was outside… it landed 300 meters past him and was the loudest boom he had heard this whole time. He brought over video of the aftermath of rocket attacks in his town.

It is all so surreal. It makes no sense that we are at war. I still haven’t been able to digest it. They make a big deal over the mess in the Qana Village where 40 children were killed . Israel gave fair warning to leave the area… Israel had proof that rockets were being launched from the village into Israeli cities… Israel had proof that Hezbollah were hiding out there and hiding their rockets there. It is said that the bomb shelter where the Lebanese civilians were sheltering themselves had rockets inside… it is said that the 60 people of which 40 were children had died because of the blast of the Hezbollah rockets, not the Israeli bomb… Will anybody ever know the truth…? The pilots of the Israeli army… nobody has gotten an order to kill innocent civilians… it was definitely not the intention… The same cannot be told about the Hezbollah.

Monday July 31, 2006 –

19:30 pm-

It has been a long, yet quiet day. No rockets fired into Haifa. Israel has declared that for the next 48 hours they will not bomb any parts of Lebanon allowing the citizens (refugees) in the South to flee… It is believed that when the 48 hours are up, Israel will pretty much LEVEL the south of Lebanon. It is understandable. Israel does not want any more rockets, any more destruction, any more casualties in the North of its country. More than 1/3 of the country is paralyzed because of these recent terrorist attacks. The world is looking down on Israel for yesterday’s mishap which resulted in the death of 60 civilians… they said it was mostly women and children. If that is a fact, where were the men? Could it be that the men were outside firing rockets from there? Israel would not have attacked innocent civilians… it is known that rockets had been fired right before the attacks from the vicinity. It is thought that the reason the building which killed 60 people blew up was because rockets and explosives were being stored there. It is known that the Hezbollah is using civilians as shields. It is known they are firing rockets into Israel from civilian homes. It ISN’T known as to WHY the Hezbollah is doing this in the first place. And it is even more unclear why the world looks down on Israel’s “mistake’, but they keep forgetting that for 3 weeks a terrorist organization is firing ONLY on innocent civilians, on their cities, on their homes, ON MY HOME !!!


Tuesday August 1, 2006 –

This morning we dropped off the baby with her Grandmother and took a drive down to the center of the country to run some errands. There we met up with various friends. One friend is actually an ex-resident of Haifa. He hasn’t been up to Haifa in more than a month because of the situation. His parents live here. There was even a funeral for his father’s cousin who died in the rocket attack on the garage in Haifa. His father works there too, but came out unharmed. He asked how Haifa is recently, he asked how the morale is here. I told him our story from A to Z.

We spent the whole day in Tel Aviv and its surroundings and we came home in the late evening. It was good to take a break from Haifa, take a break from parenthood, take a break from everything. And then we had to come back home… Thank God that Haifa was one again quiet. There were 15 rockets fired into Israel today, but all of them in the northern Israel cities… nothing in Haifa. Nothing in Haifa for days… For the remainder of the war it looks like it will be fought on the ground. We will have to see. Tonight will end the 48 hour period Israel had allowed for the Lebanese to get out of the southern parts. Perhaps Israel will level them by the Air Force, but it looks like they will go in by ground to make sure that there is no Hezbollah hiding out there… Ground attack is more effective.

Wednesday August 2, 2006 –

Sure enough, the Israelis have put in more than 10,000 troops into Lebanon. They are fighting battles in villages all over the south… They have killed dozens of Hezbollah soldiers throughout the night and morning and have even captured a few. One of which, his name is Nasrallah, but it isn’t the Nasrallah in charge. It isn’t Hasan Nassrallah, not even a direct relative of him… The battles may take a little while, but Israel will win this war, it is a matter of time. Let us not forget how this whole thing started… there are still 2 captured Israeli soldiers in the hands of Hezbollah. And let’s not forget, there is still one in the hands of Hamas in Gaza.

10:20 am-

Just as my wife wakes up and we plan to go into town to do some shopping, a siren sounds… we look at each other in utter surprise and rush down to the shelter with the baby… we hear 5-6 booms which sound a little in the distance. Nothing close by. We come back upstairs to watch the news… Rockets fell in Rosh Pina, Zefat, Ma’a lot… nothing in Haifa. Now we are waiting to see that the air force will blast them… we had two days of siren-free silence. It is all starting over again once we start feeling like we can get back to normal. It is so frustrating… ACRE (ACCO) got hit too… and Kiryat Shmona. Apparently the only city to suffer any damage was ACRE with a direct hit to a building. We are not going into town now… not taking any chances with the baby. It is the beginning to a long day again. Glued to the television set, watching the news… here we go again.

17:20 pm-

We went into town anyway, against our better judgment, but we needed to buy food… the fridge was almost empty. We dropped the baby off at her grandmother’s and went into town for shopping. We came back home, put everything away… ate a hearty lunch, and took a nap in the air conditioned living room while the baby would speak to her Zebra Mobile in the bedroom… at 17:00 we got the sirens again. We rush down to the shelter… minutes later we heard about 10-12 booms not too far away, perhaps a couple of Kilometers. I am beginning to develop a skill for guessing where the rockets hit according to the strength of the boom we hear. My guess is it is Acre again. In a few minutes we will know.. more than 200 rockets were launched into Israel. Is the Hezbollah getting pissed off? Are they running out of rockets or space to launch them from as Israel advances North? Are they trying to get off as many as they can before Israel pushes them out of range?

I just read on the internet that in the outskirts of Haifa, just north there are the “krayot”… little townships, there is Kiryat Atta, Kiryat Haim (where I live), Kiryat Bialik, Kiryat Motzkin, Kiryat Yam… We have been hit by 57 rockets since this attacks began… and *newsflash*, the rockets which I heard hit nearby as far as Acre, were indeed in the Krayot and Haifa. Fortunately they landed in empty fields and nobody was injured. The other day I was thinking that it is over with the Haifa attacks… boy was I wrong.

This afternoon driving back from town, my wife actually was teary eyed driving through downtown Haifa… it was sad to see how empty it was at high noon. Usually it is traffic jammed, no elbow room on the streets. We were almost alone there. Less than 10% of the stores are open, and even worse… some businesses are going belly up, closing down. It truly is SAD!

18:50 pm-

Third siren of the day, but no rockets landed in our area… they did land up north in Acre/Nahariya. I hope this is it for today… Let’s hope the IDF puts a big dent in their rockets and quiet comes to the skies of Israel from now on…

Thursday August 3, 2006 –

19:00 pm-

We just walked in after a day of “fun”. We left this morning to go to the mall where my wife used to work. They called the other day to say they have a gift for our little baby from the fellow employees. We packed up at about 11:00 and set out for the mall… The roads were as empty as they have been for the past 3 weeks, but the real shock was when we got to the mall and the underground parking lot was virtually empty except for employees cars. The mall itself was half closed as half of the stores had their doors locked and lights off… It is saddening to see Haifa like this. We went to the store where my wife worked and spent an hour and a half there showing off the baby and looking around the shop for stuff to buy. It is a department store and I needed shorts and socks, and my wife needed new t-shirts. We then spent the next couple hours walking around the mall just for fun. At about 16:00 while sitting on a bench feeding the baby, the first siren in Haifa sounded… We walked to the other side of the mall to their shelter. It amazes me how people do not panic and do not barge and push. After ten minutes an announcement was made on the loud speakers “The rocket warning is now over, you may all go back to normal now, pleasant shopping…”.

½ an hour later another siren sounds and it is back to the shelter… this time booms were heard in the distance… turns out to be very far away in the distance, but still amazing how we can hear, or better yet FEEL them from within the mall’s walls. They hit in Akko. I call my friend on the phone who has a police scanner at work and ask him if anything has hit Haifa. He tells me that nothing has reached Haifa all day, it is all in the Galil and Akko and the northern part of the country.

Turns out that today was one of the worst days yet… from the rocket attacks 7 people were killed and 2 remain in critical condition at the hospital. A car in Akko took a direct hit from a rocket and the driver died immediately., other people that were killed were outside. The police, the army, the city halls… everyone is told not to leave their houses there in Acco… I know it shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but when EVERYONE is telling you to stay put at home, you got to start believing them…

2 sodliers were killed already today too, and one is in critical condition. They were in their tank and were shot with an anti-tank missile… the dying needs to stop as soon as possible.

The new Superman movie was released tonight… 17 people showed up to the showing in Haifa.

Nasrallah promises that if Israel blasts Beirut, he will blast Tel Aviv… so far he hasn’t bluffed…. Things might get worse tomorrow, and I have committed to going to work in Hadera, 40 miles south… I need to make some money and I have clients waiting for me there. I have bills to pay, food to buy, a baby to take care of… a FAMILY to take care of. I have to go to work.

Friday August 4, 2006-

21:00 pm-

Although it has been “quiet” in Haifa and Hadera where I spent most of my day at work… it was definitely not quiet overall. The past two days have been very busy up north and across the border. More civilians were killed, more soldiers were killed… it is an incredibly different war than Israel is used to being involved in… it feels as if nothing is getting accomplished and we are losing the lives of Israelis every day… rockets are “raining” into the northern part of the country more and more each day… the past two days have been record days. What is it going to take to stop it all. The Prime Minister, the secretary of defense, the cabinet for the most part… they are all new in their positions and inexperienced in these situations.. it is like going to Vegas and there is little chance to win.. you most likely will lose and you try to lose the least that you can and try to know when to stand up and walk away from the tables.. Maybe Israel needs some help in this. Some people are saying that Uncle Sam will step in and help out, but it won’t be until October. I have no idea what that means… do they expect this thing to run that long?

21:25 pm-

No sooner than I finish the last entry and sit down on the couch to watch a movie with my wife the first siren sounds today… we rush down to the bomb shelter. It is the first time at night that we are down there… the cockroaches come out at night and are all over the walls, the ceiling. It was kind of freaky… I could not hear any booms as the sirens sounded for more than two minutes… When things got quiet, a few minutes later, we come back up to the apartment to turn on the news and sure enough Nasrallah has been a man of his word once again… not bluffing, rockets were shot and landed in Hadera where I worked this morning more than 40 miles south of Haifa.

Can Israel handle this by themselves? Can Israel win this thing alone? Everyday that goes by we lose more soldiers, more civilians, and the Hezbollah is getting stronger, shooting more rockets, reaching further and further away… it is the first time that rockets were fired at night…(other than the katyushas that are blasting the north)… Nasrallah has been waiting for this opportunity to fire a long range rocket and prove that he can… what is the next move of the Israeli Army? Is the UN going to get involved? Will NATO troops be sent to Lebanon? This is the worst attack Israel has had on their land since independence in 1948… I am speechless now… I need to relax.

Saturday August 5, 2006 –

8:30 am-

It was a good thing I was awake already at 7:30. I got out of bed and went to the computer to check the news from last night. At about 8:00 I took the baby out of the crib and left my wife to sleep in a bit more. I made her some food, but she wanted to move her bowels beforehand so I left her in her trampoline to do so… at about 8:15 a siren sounded, first one of the day in Haifa and the Krayot. I went to make sure my wife was awake, and I handed the baby to her so I could get dressed. We rushed to the shelter and were not even the first ones there although we have the shortest distance to travel. It is amazing how fast peoples’ reflexes have become as this thing progresses… anything remotely sounds like a siren I jump and rush for the door… Down in the shelter we heard the booms, closer than they have ever been before… 8 booms which shook the building and walls of the shelter. Random car alarms in the neighborhood were triggered from the blast.. It was close, but not so close. We guessed as to where the rockets landed.. After a few minutes I go up to the apartment to bring the baby its bottle so she can eat her breakfast… My wife goes up to the apartment to get the telephone so she can call her parents to make sure they are fine. It is the Sabbath and although it is forbidden by Jewish Law to speak on the phone, her parents answer. Thank God they are o.k. They are religious, but permit themselves to use the phone, a car, light a fire, etc in extreme circumstances… After 15 minutes we come back up to the apartment to check the news and internet if anything indeed fell close and if it caused any damage… apparently three rockets landed somewhere in a 5 mile radius of here in empty fields… they were indeed Katyusha and each one caused a fire where they hit. One of the fires is big and two are small… the fire department is on the scene trying to get the big fire under control. No people were injured…

It is absolutely a miracle that so many rockets were fired and there are so minimal amount of casualties… simply a miracle. We planned to go visit my wife’s brother who is in the hospital with a terrible asthma attack. He has less than 45% of his breathing capacity now. He is under close supervision and steroid treatment. We planned to visit him this afternoon… it doesn’t look like it is going to happen…

Radio reports from the local station say that it was a huge miracle that the rockets didn’t cause great damage… 5-6 rockets landed in the same vicinity near where my wife’s parents live.. the rockets landed in the street along the sea shore and in the sand by the beach. 5 people were injured with light injuries, a few with trauma, some with being hit with the little metal balls… nothing serious. The rockets could have caused much more damage had it been a little later in the day since where they struck is a popular area where people walk for exercise…

Latest reports say that it is now 6-7 rockets which have landed… 5 people were injured with physical injuries, 15 more are being treated for shock and trauma. The rockets landed in Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Bialik, and Kiryat Motzkin… where we live in Kiryat Haim would make a perfect square between our four townships… we were very lucky… the fires are all under control now. It is a huge MIRACLE that nobody was seriously injured or killed.

9:45 am-

My brother in law’s wife just called. She is staying with her parents while her husband is still in the hospital. She refused to stay home alone. She is a bit in shock from this whole ordeal. She just got a phone call from a neighbor that one of the rockets which struck in Kiryat Yam struck between the building next to hers and one over… it caused a lot of damage to the buildings… windows were blown out… cars damaged, property… she is on the phone with my wife right now. She is expected to go back to work tomorrow, but says she will refuse to go now… she refuses to leave her childrens’ sides. Understandable.

16:55 pm-

Two sirens in the past ½ hour send us down to the shelter… this time we had more people in the shelter than ever before. It is usually only about 7-8 of us, but now we were closer to 13-14 people… everybody must be home for the weekend. Nothing had fallen in Haifa and the vicinity during either siren. It is a nuisance either way.

Monday August 6, 2006-

13:15 pm-

I woke up very early today to cater to the baby’s hunger. At about 5:30 am I was on my feet… About an hour later I got her to sleep again and got dressed for a run outside. The running didn’t work as my knee wouldn’t let me get too far, so I came back home… I turned on the television to get the news from yesterday. Ground attacks commenced throughout the night, as did air attacks. We are making “progress”, they say.

This morning my father in law surprised us with a visit. He wanted to see his granddaughter. He stayed with us for about an hour and at 10:30 am, he left to go see his other grandchildren. He is not in the best of health and probably shouldn’t be driving around this much, but not seeing his grandchildren as often as he used to has become unbearable. He said that the rockets in Haifa would stop. He said that yesterday was the last day for rockets in Haifa.

Half an hour after he left I decided to go into the bedroom and take a nap because last night I didn’t get much sleep. At 12:45pm I was awakened to the sound of a siren and quickly got on my feet and met my wife at the door. We went down to the shelter together. There were two people in the shelter who were just walking by the building. One was a Russian immigrant, the other an Ethiopian immigrant with a transistor radio. There were the three of us and another tenant of the building. Yesterday we were 13-14 people, today we are 4 and two people from outside.

We heard falling of rockets but very far in the distance… The siren sounds for an especially long time, similar to when the rockets were launched on Hadera 40 miles away… There was “raining” of rockets which fell in the Giladi Village (KFAR GILAADI) in which 10 people were killed and more injured. And the rockets didn’t hit a house or a work place, it landed in an open area… but people unfortunately were in that open area, walking, in their cars… I don’t understand it…

An hour ago… the kidnappers of Gilad Shalit offered a deal… They will release (trade) Shalit if Israel releases the murderers of Rehavam (Gahndi) Zeevi and Marwan Barguti… It sounds like a ridiculous trade… why would we trade Palestinian murderers and terrorists for one innocent soldier? But the people of Israel want this trade to be made while there is still a trade on the table and Shalit is still alive. Israel has shown its strength in the west bank, maybe this trade off is a good deal. Take away all the terrorists, all the masterminds, all the murderers in the West Bank, there will always be someone to replace them. Might as well get this soldier back home to his family, to his country as long as he is still alive. There might not be another offer.

15:05 pm-

In the past hour we had 2 sirens in the Krayot… 2 times rockets fell here. The first time a rocket hit a factory in the industrial area of Kiryat Atta only 2 miles from here. A direct hit into the factory, nobody was injured… The second siren which was only 10 minutes ago has struck a house directly and no reports yet if people were injured… The area which was hit was Kiryat Motzkin, only half a mile from my home…

The same day that the kidnappers of Shalit say they are ready to do a trade Israel captured a Hezbollah terrorist who they say has a connection to the kidnapping of the two soldiers in Lebanon. The kidnappers of Shalit are from Gaza. The Lebanese television says it is not true. They say the man which Israel has in their custody has nothing to do with the kidnapping, nor does he know anything… Time will tell.

19:00 pm-

A siren sounds and takes me away from the end of a movie, wakes my wife up from a nap which she planned to nap for an hour longer. I take the baby and went down to the shelter…

8 rockets had fallen in the Krayot again today… Every one of them landed in a place where there were no casualties and no damage. It is a miracle… the booms might as well been next door but they fell in the sea mostly and on the beach. Almost 4000 rockets have hit Israel since the beginning of the attacks… more than 2,000 people have been injured and just over 60 people have died from the attacks…. The say that of the people who have been killed, 50 of them were not following orders which say to stay in shelters or inner rooms of the house, or stairwells, etc… these were people who were outdoors or in their cars, or near windows… I have stopped taking any chances at all. When a siren sounds, I find a shelter or a stairwell, no excuses…

Now the radio reports that there were 7 rockets, 6 of which hit the sea, and one fell next to an apartment building. No injuries were reported, everyone from the building was in the shelter. It wasn’t a direct hit to the building so damage was minimized… MIRACLE.

19:55 pm-

Another siren sounds. We rush down to the shelter as we have heard that today is going to rain rockets… And sure enough I counted about 10-12 booms… I come back up to the apartment after a couple minutes and check the internet and listen for radio reports… They say that there were 6 hits in Haifa, at the lower part of the city. A couple rockets hit homes directly, lots of injured people are being rushed to Rambam hospital… Although people are being told not to be outside, not to leave their homes… people are complacent. It has been 10 days since a rocket has landed in Haifa (other than the krayot), so people are going out, people are going for coffee, doing food shopping, “back to normal”… they forget there is a war going on outside their front doors and the unexpected should be expected… 20-30 casualties reports, 2 of which in critical condition… I was going to do some food shopping tonight, but my wife won’t let me go… I was ready to go right before the last siren… instead we stay in and watch movies.. We may be in store for a very long night…

They finally broadcasted on television that the people who were killed in Giladi Village (KFAR GILAADI) were indeed soldiers… reservists who were called into the war in Lebanon. It was a checkpoint before going in. The 12th soldier who was in Giladi Village died just now… They are showing on the television now the damage from the recent rocket attack… a building has collapsed and people are trapped inside. There is already one person dead as a result of the attack, 30 people are in the hospitals , 4-5 are in critical condition. The rocket landed in a predominantly Arab neighborhood of downtown Haifa. The television reports that the Israeli Air Force has destroyed the launchers which sent the rockets earlier into the Krayot… and earlier in the morning they destroyed the launchers which sent the rockets Saturday into the Krayot… They keep destroying them, yet the Hezbollah keeps sending in more and more rockets. How heavily armed are they? They say that Hezbollah had in their possession more than 10,000 rockets… they have fired more than 4,000 of them. They must be getting more and more somehow. The end is definitely not in sight. My wife and I have decided that we will sleep with the radio on tonight. On certain stations there is what’s called “The quiet wave”. That station is quiet all night from 10:00 pm until 6:00 am except for if a siren sounds… then it sounds. I think it would be best if we take shifts sleeping for the safety of our family.

Recent reports have said that the three people who were trapped in the building which collapsed have been freed. 37 people in all were taken to the hospitals. 1 dead, 5 in critical condition…. I need to go hold my wife.

37 just jumped up to 58 injured… more deaths will be announced in the next short period of time. My heart is racing, my blood is pumping. I wish there was something I could do. I can hear planes flying overhead. It is the same story over and over again… when will this end.

58 just jumped to over 100… still haven’t announced any more deaths.

3 deaths announced and the number is expected to climb yet… I need to lay down and relax. May everyone who lost their lives today during this terror…. May they rest in peace. My prayers go out to all of them.

22:10 pm-

I am beginning to get worried about this war… it is not traditional. It is against a terrorist organization who is very organized, very determined, and they are making this very complicated. Israel needs to fight this one until the end. It is either them or us this time. If Israel does not destroy them it will be a matter of a few years before they come back with better rockets and more terrorists, and who is to say that they won’t put things other than little steel balls in the heads of the rockets? Israel needs to wipe out the Hezbollah.

In Jerusalem today there were Arabs celebrating in the streets when the soldiers were killed in Giladi Village. They were handing out candies in the streets. And there is nothing that anybody can do about that in a democratic country that we live in. DISGUSTING! I will keep my thoughts to myself on that one.

Monday August 7, 2006

19:00 pm-

We decided to leave the house at about noon today and go into Haifa to do some shopping at the mall and go food shopping… We are going through food like we never did before. We are home almost 24 hours a day except for the few minutes we spend in the shelter every time there is a siren… So we went food shopping again.

We dropped the baby off at her grandparents house and left for Haifa at around 12:30pm. At about 17:00 pm we got back home. On the way home when we were about 5 minutes away from our apartment, I told my wife how we picked a good day to go shopping since it was quiet in our area. She told me to bite my tongue…

At about 17:15 after helping me bring up the groceries, my wife took the car to her parents’ house to get the baby. 5 hours without the baby is enough to drive us crazy, we miss the little “papufnick”… My wife called me just before she was leaving the house for home… about 10 minutes later the first siren sounded in the Krayot… I panicked and grabbed the phone as I ran downstairs to the shelter. Before I got to the last step I had already dialed my in-laws’ house. They answered the phone on the first ring. I asked them if my wife was still there… they told me that she had left five minutes ago… I told them I would call them right back when I knew she was o.k… and I hung up… I then called my wife and it took 8 rings until she answered her cell phone. She was o.k. She had stopped the car in the middle of the street, grabbed the baby, and raced for the closest shelter she could find. She was holding the baby and had asked someone else to answer her phone for her and put it on speaker phone. That is why it took so long for her to answer. I told her I would wait downstairs for her to come back and I hung up. No rockets had fallen in the area after that siren. I then called her parents to let them know she was o.k and promised to call back once she made it back home and she was safe.

When people started to come out of the shelters and resume what they were doing, I noticed across the street was someone I knew from work. He leaves his kids at his mother’s house while he and his wife go to work. He picks them up at the end of the day. He was outside. “How are you? How are you holding up? How are the kids???” and then a siren sounded again just as my wife was pulling into our parking space at home. I ran across the street to help her get the baby out of the car seat and into the shelter….

We got into the shelter and heard the booms far away in the distance. Rockets fell in Acco again, we could hear it in the distance very faintly. My wife was shaking in her skin. She was still in panic from the earlier siren… she said that if the baby wasn’t strapped into the car seat she would have fallen out from the speed she flung her out of the car…

About half an hour later we were upstairs drinking coffee with one of our neighbors when another siren sounded and we went downstairs again.

3 sirens in less than an hour. Fortunately there were none which landed in Haifa and the Krayot. But until now there have been more than 180 rockets sent into Israel today.

Is Israel winning this war? I get the feeling we are losing. Since they declared a 48 hour cease fire the Hezbollah has been sending more and more rockets increasing the pace every day… more soldiers are dying, more civilians are dying, more fires are breaking out in the woods up north, more cities are being destroyed… all it takes to end this thing is to give the soldiers back to Israel and to stop firing rockets into Israel, and then Israel stops on their offensive, and it is over. I don’t think the Hezbollah has any intention of giving back the soldiers or stopping to fire rockets into Israel until the last rocket is used… This war might never end. I just hope it doesn’t snowball into a bigger war with other countries and terrorist organizations joining forces with Nasrallah.

It is my turn to make dinner tonight. I hope I am uninterrupted.

Tuesday August 8, 2006 –

21:15 pm-

Today went by like an almost “normal” day… I woke up early, had my breakfast with my wife… took out the garbage…. Did a few loads of laundry. In the afternoon I left the house and ran some errands in downtown Haifa. Came back home for a late lunch and had a banana daiquiri with my wife afterwards. Took a short “power nap”, and when I woke up I met the son of the owner to the bowling center to open the place so I could go in and get some equipment out. At about 20:00 the perfect end to the closest thing to a normal day happened. My wife called up and asked me to rush home a.s.a.p because she had thrown out her back.
I rushed home and sure enough… we made a phone call and ordered a house call. A doctor showed up and checked my wife. Gave her a shot of Voltaren and left a prescription for 5 more shots which I will have to administer. I have never given a shot in my life, but I guess I will be a quick learner.

It is a good thing there haven’t been any sirens tonight because my wife is paralyzed. I cannot see her making it down the stairs. I cannot see her making it down the stairs tomorrow. We may have to leave the baby with her parents for the night because I am not sure I will be able to take care of both of them. Maybe I will give it a try tonight and see if I can make it through the night… if I can, I will be able to do it.

Relatively quiet day today… only about 150 rockets have been fired onto Israel. The past couple of days have eclipsed 200 rockets each day, so today was considered “light”.

23:00 pm-

My wife has finally fallen asleep… may she rest well… the baby on the other hand is WIDE awake and it looks like she will be until she eats again in 2 or 3 hours… it could be a long night. I pray that she lets me sleep for 4-5 hours tonight before waking up to feed her again.

The news is showing pictures of Kiryat Shmona… there is almost nothing left of the city on the border. And as hard as it is to believe there are still people there. They are living 24/7 in their bomb shelters… living there… LIVING THERE. They sleep there, they share the restroom there. They eat there, watch the news there, everything they do there… and it isn’t one shelter for every family… it is about 1 shelter for every 4-5 families on the average. Some shelters are put together nicely. Some are not. Some are infested with cockroaches, and some you can lick the floor. 10,000 people have been evacuated from Kiryat Shmona to the center of the country. In Tel Aviv, they have taken a fair grounds and made it a “refugee camp” for 3,000 people… living in tents on a fairgrounds, cast away from their homes by terrorists across the border firing 100 rockets a day on their city… When these people come home, they most likely won’t have homes to go to… it is so sad.

It is incredible, and I say this every day… it is a miracle that after more than 4,000 rockets which amounts to more than 200,000 kg of explosives… there have only been 37 deaths of citizens and 67 deaths of soldiers. 104 deaths since this war started 4 weeks ago tomorrow. But the damage done to property is astronomical… almost 2 complete cities have been flattened… Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya. On the other hand, Israel has recorded more than 480 kills to Hezbollah members and I am not sure that that is even the tip of the iceberg.

Another segment on the news was a wedding with 10 couples from the North who got married at a hall in Tel Aviv together. I was supposed to attend a wedding tomorrow of the brother of my brother in law’s wife. He had to postpone the wedding because not only the banquet hall is closed because of this war, but nobody from the center or south would come up here. I too had to postpone the celebration of the birth of my first born… my father and step mother flew in for that event. The thing that gets me the worst is that this isn’t a traditional war. It isn’t a problem between two countries, it isn’t an invasion, it isn’t a war of independence, it is pure TERROR on one country by a gang terrorist organization who infected a neighboring country with a cancer which just won’t go away. That host country is helpless with it as well. Even if the cancer goes away, it is certain to come back. It is a VIRUS. History has repeated itself over and over again.

I am exhausted… I am off to bed.

Tuesday August 9, 2006 –

10:45 am-

I have been up since 6:00 am. Thank God the baby let me sleep in a little bit this morning. It is the first time she has slept more than 5 hours straight. She slept 6 hours last night. I gave her food and got her back to sleep, watched a bit of news on the television, checked the internet, and at 8:00 am I left the baby in my wife’s care while I went out to fill a prescription at the pharmacy and get a few things at the supermarket. Although the sign on the door at the pharmacy said they open at 8:30, by 9:15 I lost my patience when nobody came to open. The neighbor said it is because of this damn war. They usually open by 10:00… then why not put that on the sign.

I got home by about 9:30, and my wife’s mother was here cleaning up the house since my wife can’t do it because of her back. I was waiting in the family room for her to finish straightening out the bedroom so I could go back to bed for a little while.. I am still a bit tired. Just as she got done with the bedroom the first siren of the day sounded in the Krayot. We rushed down to the shelter and after a moment we heard one BOOM in the far distance. My guess was it was Acco. My wife guessed the same. Her mother guesses it is in Kiryat Yam…so far there were no reports to any rockets falling.. it could very well have fallen in the sea.

I am going to take a nap. I hope I don’t get interrupted by sirens.

11:30 am-

After maybe sleeping for about 15 minutes another siren sounded… I jumped out of bed when it made sense to me it was a siren. My wife and baby were already at the front door on their way down. We went down to the shelter.

I didn’t hear any rockets fall and after 5 minutes went back up to the apartment. After checking the internet, earlier at about 10:45 rockets did indeed fall in Haifa, but nothing landed where it could cause damage. They have reports of 3-5 rockets. One of which didn’t explode on impact. Afula, Beit Sha’an, Gilboa… Kiryat Shmona, Haifa… we are all getting launched upon. It could be another long day. There are police in AFULA checking to see if it is another long range rocket that was fired there.

13:30 pm-

Been down to the shelter 4 times already today… and once again , as usual, we get interrupted during our lunch and in the middle have to go down to the shelter. I wouldn’t mind so much if we were eating sandwiches, then I could take my lunch with me.. Up and down, up and down…it gets annoying. I don’t think I will be leaving the house today anymore. The strategists on television have said that we should expect a lot of attacks today between noon and 16:00 pm. We will wait and see what the rest of the afternoon has in store for us. So far during 4 sirens there has been no damage to anything in Haifa and the Krayot. A long range rocket which was headed for Zichron Yakov blew up in the sky above Haifa… it was a Syrian made rocket Haybar, and it can hold more than 100kg of explosives on it… more deadly than any rocket fired until now.

13:55 pm-

From the morning until now, 97 rockets have been launched into Israel… it looks like it will be a new record today.

17:00 pm-

The strategists have been right… since 14:00pm another 70 have been launched into the North of Israel. Fortunately none have been fired at Haifa. The rocket that was sent towards Zichron Yakov earlier that blew up in the sky over Haifa… they recovered the tail of the rocket but have not yet found the head which could contain more than 100 kg of explosives. I hope they find it…

The government decided to send in many more ground troops into southern Lebanon to advance more NORTH… some members of the government think it is a death wish and some think that this decision came 4 weeks too late. This is a “fight to the finish”… I knew it would be. I don’t believe that the decision came 4 weeks too late… I believe they didn’t make the decision to do the right thing yet. Israel needs to “carpet bomb” the whole south part of Lebanon. That should do the trick. Israel will not stop until the country is no longer in danger… Ground troops is the long way to deal with that… and the costliest way. Since the beginning of this whole ordeal 37 civilians have lost their lives and 67 soldiers… The dying needs to stop.

Bush had a free ticket on Sept 12, 2001 to “carpet bomb” Afghanistan. He should have nuked them. He could have put the fear of God… (the fear of the real God) in the Arab terrorist organizations by killing 20,000,000 of them including Bin Laden who we knew was in Afghanistan back then. That is the only language they speak. On Sept 12, 2001 Bush had the backing of the whole world… he blew it.

And when this war is over… Iran has promised to supply Hezbollah with all the rockets it needs to cover all of Israel…

18:30 pm-

People in the North are really starting to get pissed off… after 2 weeks of this war right about the time when Condaleeza Rice came, the Prime Minister got on television and told people to “hang in there… it will be over in a matter of days… two or three days…” That was TWO WEEKS AGO!!!. And now there is no end in sights.

In the beginning, the people in the north were “taking” the rockets… accepting them because they knew that it would be over in a matter of days… they knew that the Israeli Defense Force… the IDF would win this in a jiffy… the IDF would finish off the Hezbollah and things would go back to normal soon. The IDF would win!!!
NOW… they are feeling that they would be satisfied with a TIE, not a win. Just end this and lets get back on with our lives…

The Israeli champions of the premier soccer league. Macabbi Haifa play their qualifying match against Liverpool from England tonight. There would be no television broadcast as nobody was willing to spring for the bill for the broadcast. FIFA charges a high price and was making no special consideration for a country at war with terrible economic problems. A radio broadcast is much much cheaper and it seemed like that would be the only way to catch a live broadcast of the game. Just 2 hours ago, only 3-1/2 hours before the game starts… a philanthropist from Tel Aviv, a millionaire donated the money to channel 10 to buy the broadcast of the game tonight. In honor of everyone in Haifa, he says. Macabbi Haifa has become Israel’s team. It will be a nice change to see something other than NEWS on an Israeli station tonight.

20:15 pm-

You can almost call it a day as far as sirens go… last Friday there was a siren about this late at night which landed in Hadera about 40 miles south of here. Today there were 4 sirens which sounded and that one rocket which flew over Haifa but somehow exploded in the air and fell. They say it will take about a week to advance north to Litani River. Intelligence says that there is about 8,000 Hezbollah soldiers on the way to get to the Litani River in the north of Lebanon. They say it will take about a week, they say to expect heavy fighting, they say to expect 200 of our soldiers will die… Imagine the soldiers going into battle right now on this mission. Imagine that each one will lose a friend… or lose his own life…. Imagine the fathers of these soldiers… their boys going into battle. Imagine their last phone call from them before they go and cross the border and go into battle for a few days with no contact with them… Imagine the mothers… Imagine it is your own child… and now ask yourself… what is the Hezbollah fighting for?

Thursday August 10, 2006 –

9:40 am-

My wife went out for a walk this morning. An hour brisk walk for exercise. It has been the first time that she did that since the war has started. She took the car to the beach and walked along the shore for an hour. When she came home she did some floor exercises and then went to take a shower. When she got out of the shower I went out running… a nice 5km run. I walked it off for a few minutes and when I got back in the house and had taken off my shirt and shoes, the first siren of the day sounded… We went down to the shelter.

We heard a couple of booms in the not so far distance. And after a couple of minutes, we went back upstairs. I went into the shower and my wife watched for updates on the television. There were no updates. There were probably no injuries… when I got out of the shower I checked the internet. Rockets fell in Shfar’am , Tamra, and in the Krayot… all in open fields…Shfar’am is a huge Arab village. About 30,000 people of which 60% are Muslim. Tamra is almost all Muslim and there are 25,000 people living there…

Last night Nasrallah got on television and apologized for the bloodshed to Arabs in Haifa….
“I have a special message to the Arabs of Haifa, to your martyrs and to your wounded. I call you to leave this city. I hope you do this. … Please leave so we don’t shed your blood, which is our blood,” he said in a taped television address carried on virtually all major television channels in the region.
Does he intend to blast Haifa again… what about Shfar’am and Tamra… I guess he is lucky there were no casualties there.
And in todays news… Israel has put its massive new ground offensive into southern Lebanon on hold for two or three days to give the UN Security Council more time to come to an agreement on a cease-fire. I am not sure how good of an idea that is. It could give the Hezbollah 2 or 3 days to get more weapons, more rockets, increase their manpower… Hezbollah has no intention to cease fire.

12:45 pm-
The third siren in Haifa and the Krayot sounded just now… I heard some rockets fall this time not too far from us. My guess is that it was in Kiryat Yam close to where my in-laws live. 5 rockets fell, one didn’t blow up on impact… there are 2 people being treated for shock… other than that there was no damage to buildings or injuries to people… The streak of Miracles still goes on. Tiberias is getting hit today as well after a week or so of quiet there… so far about 80 rockets have been fired into Israel since morning in which 6. I am tired of saying it is going to be a “long day”… it is going to be a typical day.
Tonight I am going in to work in Hadera. I have lined up a list of clients who need my services there. It is a chance to make some extra cash which we can definitely use… I will of course be careful and keep my ears open and the radio tuned to local stations.

13:15 pm-

The fourth siren sounded just now, just as we are about to sit down and eat lunch. This has become an almost everyday event. We start eating and the sirens sound. There were no rockets reported as falling in our area, only in Acre. A rocket which landed near Karmiel earlier killed an Arab woman (26) and her child (6). I am sure Nasrallah will get on television one of these days and once again apologize for this. He will call them “shaheedim” (martyrs), but I call it victims of terror. Today a lot of Arab populations have been fired upon.

13:40 pm-

I got to finish my lunch uninterrupted… What a treat.

16:40 pm-

I left the house for Hadera to work… and sure enough, about 10 minutes away from home I hear a siren on the radio. I pulled the car over on the highway and quickly left the car and ran into the ditch to the right. I crouched down on the ground as the siren sounded. I wasn’t alone. Almost every car in sight had stopped as well and did the same thing as I did. We heard a couple booms in the distance, but nothing close to us. It seemed to have come from further North. Nothing in Haifa. I was on the border of Nesher and Haifa. I could see the oil refinery across the field. After a few moments I got back into my car and continued toward work. I tuned th e radio to the local station and heard reports. About 15-20 rockets were fired into the Galil and Nahariya, Acre, Ma’a lot… and 2 landed in Kiryat Motzkin not too far from the house. I quickly called my wife to make sure she was o.k and to let her know I was o.k. She didn’t answer the phone. I called again… no answer. No answer at home too… I waited a few minutes. She called me. I let her know a rocket fell in Motzkin. It dropped alongside a residence, didn’t cause much property damage, two people were taken to the hospital because of shock, but no physical damage. Another miracle.

21:40 pm-

Residents of Vadi Nisnas where rockets hit the other day in Haifa which killed 3 people and wounded more than 150… mostly Arabs. Nasrallah asked the arab residents of Haifa to leave… tonight a lot of them packed up and left the Vadi Nisnas for Arab villages outside of Haifa. Vadi Nisnas is a very poor part of Haifa… The people there believe Nasrallh will bombard them again… it is good that they have packed up and left… if only they couldn’t come back…

Friday August 11, 2006 –

10:00 am-

Here we go again… I had just closed my eyes to try and get back to sleep… and the first siren of the day sounded… I heard about 5-6 booms not too far away. This time they hit Haifa… there was damage, but only one injury with a light injury… most of them hit in empty areas… two hit in South Haifa in a residential area… another hit in the Carmel. The south of Haifa is a new area which has been hit now.

10:30 am-

Another siren sounds… the radio is on. The siren sounds on the radio only seconds after the real one sounds here in the Krayot… This time it was very close to home. 2-3 rockets landed in the Krayot. I think it landed in Kiryat Motzkin or Kiryat Atta… The radios and television are not saying where they landed for security reasons…

10:40 am –

Another siren sounds… down in the shelter we hear 3-4 booms even closer than the ones we just heard… I don’t even guess anymore… but they were close… no further than 300-400 meters from us. Haifa is definitely a target right now.. People are outside doing last minute shopping and preparation for Shabbat which will come in in less than 9 hours…

The radio is saying that the rockets from 10:30 have landed in Kiryat Atta in a parking lot next to a building… lots of damage to cars, but no injuries to people. Cars can be replaced… lives can’t!!! Since 10:00, there have been about 12-14 rockets fired on Haifa. The radios are begging people not to be outside. People are still braving the outside to do their shopping or whatever they are doing. There have been three rocket attacks in less than ¾ of an hour.

12:30 pm-

Intelligence says that there will be a massive rocket attack at 13:00 pm or 15:00 pm or BOTH….

12:50 pm-

We sit down to have lunch… we hope it will be uninterrupted… time will tell.

13:45 pm-

All is still quiet in Haifa and the Krayot…

15:05 pm –

A Haybar rocket has landed in Haifa after the siren sounded just now… it is a long range rocket 302mm circumference… the regular rockets are 120mm… these Haybars are much bigger. They have been fired upon us before. This is the first one to strike Haifa. They are Syrian made. Nothing as far as damage or injuries has been reported. Thank God!!! It struck on the side of the highway leading into Haifa… in a ditch. Intelligence which said there would be a big rocket attack at 13:00 or 15:00 weren’t too far off. It was up North where they got struck. 96 rockets have landed in the Galil since morning…

17:40 pm-

After bathing the baby and getting her ready for Shabbat, my wife contemplates taking a shower herself. She is worried that when she gets in, a siren will sound. It has been a busy day… I tell her not to worry, there hasn’t been a siren in more than 2 hours…

Sure enough, just as I finish the “don’t worry” sentence, a siren sounds… I feel bad for the baby, she had just drifted asleep and we need to wake her up again. It happens all the time, she falls asleep and we wake her up to take her down to the shelter. We hear a couple of booms in the distance, wait our few minutes, and come back upstairs. What sounded to me like Haifa turned out to be rockets hitting in the Krayot again. No injuries, 2 shock victims, damage to buildings… One of the rockets landed in the center of Kiryat Yam, only about 1 minute by car away from where we will have our Shabbat dinner… The rocket hit a house, drove through a wall, and didn’t explode… another miracle… regardless…I praise our siren system here, people have enough time to take cover.

*** Parents are making noise here in the North about September 1 being the first day of school… first of all it doesn’t appear that the war will be done by then, but it could be. Secondly… the kids in the north who look forward to their summer break have been spending the last month in shelters, or stuck at home… summer camps have been cancelled… kids cannot even go to the beach and hang out with their friends. Parents would like to have their TIME given back and are fighting to postpone the school year (for the kids in the North) accordingly.

*** through today… 84 soldiers have been killed… 36 of them were this week alone.

This is from an email I got… to lighten up your Shabbat… kind of funny, but true and yet sad in a way…

This is also from an email I got today… these two sentences say it all… regardless of your feelings about Israel and Palestinians and Arab neighboring countries… :

• If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.
* If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.

Saturday August 12, 2006-

15:30 pm-

I don’t want to bit my tongue for saying this, but it has been quiet here all day long. The army officials and police prepared us yesterday and told us to expect lots of rocket attacks on us yesterday and today. There is still plenty of Light Hours outsides today (and we know the rockets come only when it is light outside), but I have high hopes that it will be quiet for the rest of the day… at least for Haifa and the Krayot.

It hasn’t been quiet for people up in the Galil, Acre, Kiryat Shmona, Nahariya… although it has been much fewer rockets being fired upon them… it is FEWER. Only about 30 rockets have been fired today… of those thirty however, 5 have hit homes directly in Kiryat Shmona and 2 people have been reported injured lightly because of shrapnel. Of the 25,000 people in Kiryat Shmona, only about 5,000 people remain… living in bomb shelters 24 hours a day… waiting to still be evacuated.

Israel anticipates there will be a ceasefire within two days… a ceasefire by Monday. At the same time they expect to be at Litani within 4 days… I don’t know what to think anymore… from what I understand, even with the ceasefire, Israel will not pull out until they feel the security of our country is intact. They will press forward, press North until a safe buffer zone is captured… until international forces are there… until Hezbollah is disarmed… until the 2 soldiers who were kidnapped (which triggered this whole thing) are returned… once again Time will tell…

I am dying to get back to normal with my life… with our lives. Although it has been nice to be around my baby all day long, being with my wife under these stressful circumstances has been ups and downs. We argue or fight at least once a day… it is uncontrollable. We know that it doesn’t mean anything since this is a very stressful time, but still it isn’t pleasant. She is upset that she is stuck at home all the time, she wants to go out for walks, to exercise and she can’t. The stress has affected her in a way that we are convinced that her upper back, shoulder, and neck pains are a result of it. I wish I could file a law suit against the Hezbollah… Watching her helplessly in her pain is heart wrenching.

17:40 pm-

It doesn’t look like my wife will be able to go out for exercise tonight as we got our first siren of the day here… it is reported that rockets have landed in Acre and in the Krayot… they all fell in empty fields, no injuries or damage is reported… Nasrallah is about to appear on television and give his “speech”. I get the feeling that he doesn’t care much for the UN cease fire resolution…

19:00 pm-

Here we go again…. Another siren in the Krayot… a rocket fell just north of us… feels like it was in Acre from the sound of the boom… still, it has been a very light day of rockets… only 50 until now have been fired into Israel today…

19:10 pm-

Indeed the boom we heard was from Acre… apparently 3 rockets fell in Acre. No injuries reported… only damage to roads, cars, and property.

Sunday August 13, 2006 –

3:45 am-

Having woken up to feed the baby, I cannot get back to sleep so I watch the news and surf the net… People in the Krayot have outspoken and written letters to the newsgroup I subscribe to… They are furious with the ceasefire agreement. They want us to stay in there and finish this off. Avi Kaufman writes “Why have we frozen our lives for more than a month? I have no problem to continue with the same way of life for another month, I would rather do that than agree to a ceasefire and come back to this same situation in the future.”

Michal Miscovitch from Kiryat Atta wrote that she would rather stay in a bomb shelter even though she is a business owner… she writes, “It is difficult, but I would rather stay in this situation than come back to it in another 2-3 years. I don’t understand why Israel just folds up rather than finish this once and for all. It is too bad, the IDF needs to continues to the end. Soldiers die in every war, it is too bad that this time it was in vain”.

I agree with these people for the most part… I would agree on a ceasefire if it could be a trusted ceasefire which would last forever. Hezbollah cannot be trusted. I agree that soldiers have died in vain if we do not continue. I doubt that the kidnapped soldiers will be returned. I doubt Hezbollah will cease fire. I doubt that an international force in Lebanon will prevent another war like this to happen. I just pray that IRAN and/or Syria doesn’t get too carried away and do something drastic while the momentum is there.

11:30 am-

Five sirens in a matter of half an hour… we went down for the first one, waited for a few minutes, and as we walked up the stairs another one sounded… and as we walked up after that one, another one sounded… then we got smart and stayed down for the next two sirens…. We finally got a small taste of what it is like to be in Kiryat Shmona or Nahariya… we spent about 30-35 minutes straight in the shelter… it is just a small taste… they live in the shelter.

Of the five sirens, three resulted in hits in the Krayot… nobody was injured except for a store owner who rushed to get back inside his store during the siren… he slipped and fell on the concrete. Damage to property was a result in Kiryat Yam and Kiryat Atta…

Now there are reports of two serious injuries in areas of the Galil…

Nasrallah said that as long as Israelis were in Lebanon, he would continue to fight with them… we didn’t think it would mean more rockets into civilians across the border. We thought it meant combat within Lebanon.

In one launchinig, 40 rockets fell in the Galil… during ONE LAUNCHING… during ONE SIREN.

Latest report has one person in Shlomi (along Nahariya) in critical condition as a result of a rocket landing there, 2 in serious condition.

It is expected that the Hezbollah will launch as many rockets as possible before tomorrow’s ceasefire begins at 8:00 am.

The person in Shlomi died when he reached the hospital…

77 rockets hit Israel since the morning.

14:00 pm-

All is quiet in Haifa and the Krayot. We are about to sit down and eat our lunch… More than 150 rockets have been fired since the morning. One person reported dead, many injured… Tomorrow at this time we should be part of a ceasefire… no more rockets… Let’s hope it holds true.

15:30 pm –

A siren sounds and wakes up my wife from a nap… she had just drifted asleep… down in the shelter we hear about 15 booms in the distance. Sounded like south of us.. it could be Haifa.

Radio reports tell of rockets landing in South Haifa… all of them (10) in empty areas far away from any civilian areas…

16:20 pm-

Just got back upstairs from another siren…. This time we heard about 4 or 5 loud booms from the west… could be Kiryat Haim West or Kiryat Yam (where my wife’s parents live). Reports say that 2 people are seriously injured in the Krayot and 3 fires have broken out…

16:40 pm-

Another siren sounds and we rush downstairs to the shelter again. I couldn’t hear any booms, could have been fired over our heads as there are sirens in Atlit and Zichron Yakov (south of Haifa) There were three rockets which landed next to Zichron Yakov….

17:00 pm –

200 rockets have been sent into Israel since the morning. About 40 of them into Haifa and the Krayot. At the same time Israel is bombing Beirut. Hezbollah announces that they will fire rockets on Israel as long as Israel is dropping bombs on Lebanon. Non-stop.

Yokneam got hit with rockets now too… first time they got hit.
A school in the Krayot got struck with a direct hit.

IT IS GOING TO BE A LONG NIGHT. I am afraid that it will continue into the night tonight since it is that last night before the ceasefire. I am also afraid that it will continue past the ceasefire as well as Hezbollah has promised they will “fight” Israel as long as they are still in Lebanon… and Israel will be in Lebanon as long as there is no international force in there to take over… this can go on for another couple of weeks.

19:00 pm-

We have spent about the last 45 minutes in the shelter… 6 sirens in a row…. I am looking now at the reports on the television. A huge fire has broken out between Hadar and the Carmel in Haifa. An apartment building is blowing thick black smoke out of it and a few cars are on flames in front of the building. It is chaos in Haifa and the Krayot… the rockets are coming in now at rates that never were since the beginning. 7 people are reported to have shock, 2 people have light injuries…. Astronomical amount of property damage… Israel keeps bombing Beirut as the Hezbollah keeps their promise and fires upon Northern Israel, mostly Haifa and the Krayot right now…. It is only a matter of time before another siren sounds… We are tense and afraid and annoyed all in one. And we are trying to take care of the baby all at once. It is taking its toll on her as well today as we go up and down and up and down and wake her up right when she falls asleep to take her down, or wake her up to take her up.. and sometimes in the shelter she is hungry but we don’t have her food down there and she throws a fit, but as the siren sounds we don’t dare leave the shelter…

They have controlled the fires blazing from the cars which were struck. Looking at the television I can see about six or seven cars burned to a crisp. The fire in the apartment building is under control. WOW… I am breathless, this past hour has been the worst consecutive attack of rockets we have had since this whole ordeal had started…. And there have been no casualties. It truly is a miracle. May it be the last attack on Israel.

There have been 16 sirens on Israel, reports Rotter.Net… I couldn’t even keep count.

The President of Lebanon just got on television and praises the Hezbollah… “Bless the Hezbollah… they will go down in History as the first ones to ever shut down Israel… and Israel is bombing Beirut right now to try and take away from their “defeat”…”

Who really won this war? I guess we will find out once this thing is officially over… When will that be? We will just have to wait and see,,,

245 rockets have landed in Israel already today.

20:00 pm-

Yet another siren… 3 rockets land in the Krayot. One of which was very very close to the house. It landed in someone’s backyard and didn’t explode fortunately. The tenants of the house were inside in a protected room. No injuries in these last attacks.

In 12 hours a ceasefire is supposed to take effect. Hezbollah has PROMISED to continue attacking Israel if soldiers are still in Lebanon. The words “ceasefire” have no meaning. Nasrallah has promised he will continue with the Katyushas if he finds it necessary. He hasn’t defined what necessary means… but I get this gut feeling it will not be quiet tomorrow…

I am going to cook our dinner… I truly hope I can do it, then eat it, then rest in front of the television, and then sleep uninterrupted… Dear God !!!!

August 14, 2006 –

7:10 am-

We are less that an hour before the alleged “ceasefire” is supposed to take effect. A siren has sounded in Haifa. No rockets have been seen or heard landing in our neck of the woods, but North of us there have been rockets landing. The ceasefire could go either way… all of our neighbors who woke up and made it down to the shelter at such an early hour are confident the ceasefire won’t last more than a couple of minutes… I got this gut feeling that it won’r last either. In a way I do not want it to last… I want us to stay in Lebanon and take care of the security of the country, the security of the North, the security of my FAMILY… at whatever the cost. Once and for all, us or them…

7:30 am-

Half an hour before the ceasefire to take effect… all is quiet… it is a disturbing quiet that just might not last. I think that around ten minutes past 8:00 the first rockets will be launched upon us… My wife believes it will take longer than that… maybe a couple of days… The government in Lebanon is weak… the ceasefire is unstable. We all know what the Lebanese Army is… we all know what UNIFIL can do… only a few weeks ago UNIFIL was bombed by Israeli pilots… there is speculation that they were harboring Hezbollah soldiers there….

7:50 am-

As they did all night, Israel is still dropping bombs on Beirut…we are still dropping them on Beirut through the last couple minutes until the ceasefire… Watching the television in anticipation is like waiting for the ball to drop in Time Square… and although the ceasefire is in a few minutes, the Home Front Command (pikud ha oref) has warned civilians to still stay in safe rooms and shelters where necessary… they have warned us in Haifa to stay close to shelters….. people in Kiryat Shmona and on the front line are warned to still stay in shelters until told otherwise….

7:55 pm-

The order to cease all fire in Lebanon has come through… all the soldiers on all the fronts have received the order, but to stay alert in the case that shots come from the other side… orders are to retaliate only, not to fire the first shot.

8:02 am-

All is quiet in the North and across the border in Lebanon where the soldiers are. Even the Lebanese television is reporting on quiet. No mortars, no booms, no gun shots or anti-tank rockets… all is quiet!!!

13:00 pm-

All is still quiet. Israeli soldiers are being replaced with fresh troops. There will be no withdrawl until they are replaced with the Lebanese Army and the UN Forces… All postions will be held. The ceasefire has held 5 hours now… Hezbollah is declaring a victory… You know, Israel… being a democracy has always been “on the level”. Every day they would give reports about how many soldiers had died, how many civilians were killed, what targets in Lebanon were hit… there were videos and broadcasts… The truth was always told… On the other hand, Hezbollah would never reveal the truth. They never told of their 500 men who were killed, they would exaggerate the facts. They spoke of a fighter plane early on in the war which was shot down in Lebanon… they lied about the civilians in the Qanna Village who were killed in the bombing… it was never 60 people (mostly women and children), but more like 25… A Hezbollah man was killed earlier in the day when Israeli soldiers shot at him anticipating he would have shot first…

I just got back from food shopping.. the streets are full once again with cars. People have gone back to work for the most part. Our bowling center where I have my shop is still closed. I am not sure when they will reopen. The grocery store was fuller with people than it had been the whole month. Honestly, I enjoyed food shopping during the rocket threats… I didn’t have to battle the crowds.

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Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD

Do you believe in Iraqi “WMD”? Did Saddam Hussein’s government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003?

Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.

People tend to become “independent of reality” in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.

The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.

Despite this, a Harris Poll released July 21 found that a full 50 percent of U.S. respondents — up from 36 percent last year — said they believe Iraq did have the forbidden arms when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003, an attack whose stated purpose was elimination of supposed WMD. Other polls also have found an enduring American faith in the WMD story.

“I’m flabbergasted,” said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration’s shaky WMD claims in 2002-03.

“This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence,” Massing said.

Timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania’s Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan’s Rep. Peter Hoekstra, released an intelligence report in Washington saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

“I think the Harris Poll was measuring people’s surprise at hearing this after being told for so long there were no WMD in the country,” said Hoekstra spokesman Jamal Ware.

But the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such “orphan” munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise.

“These are not stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction,” said Scott Ritter, the ex-Marine who was a U.N. inspector in the 1990s. “They weren’t deliberately withheld from inspectors by the Iraqis.”

Conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, who trumpeted Hoekstra’s announcement in his syndicated column, complained in an interview that the press “didn’t give the story the play it deserved.” But in some quarters it was headlined.

“Our top story tonight, the nation abuzz today …” was how Fox News led its report on the old, stray shells. Talk-radio hosts and their callers seized on it. Feedback to blogs grew intense. “Americans are waking up from a distorted reality,” read one posting.

Other claims about supposed WMD had preceded this, especially speculation since 2003 that Iraq had secretly shipped WMD abroad. A former Iraqi general’s book — at best uncorroborated hearsay — claimed “56 flights” by jetliners had borne such material to Syria.

But Kull, Massing and others see an influence on opinion that’s more sustained than the odd headline.

“I think the Santorum-Hoekstra thing is the latest ‘factoid,’ but the basic dynamic is the insistent repetition by the Bush administration of the original argument,” said John Prados, author of the 2004 book “Hoodwinked: The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War.”

Administration statements still describe Saddam’s Iraq as a threat. Despite the official findings, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has allowed only that “perhaps” WMD weren’t in Iraq. And Bush himself, since 2003, has repeatedly insisted on one plainly false point: that Saddam rebuffed the U.N. inspectors in 2002, that “he wouldn’t let them in,” as he said in 2003, and “he chose to deny inspectors,” as he said this March.

The facts are that Iraq — after a four-year hiatus in cooperating with inspections — acceded to the U.N. Security Council’s demand and allowed scores of experts to conduct more than 700 inspections of potential weapons sites from Nov. 27, 2002, to March 16, 2003. The inspectors said they could wrap up their work within months. Instead, the U.S. invasion aborted that work.

As recently as May 27, Bush told West Point graduates, “When the United Nations Security Council gave him one final chance to disclose and disarm, or face serious consequences, he refused to take that final opportunity.”

“Which isn’t true,” observed Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a scholar of presidential rhetoric at the University of Pennsylvania. But “it doesn’t surprise me when presidents reconstruct reality to make their policies defensible.” This president may even have convinced himself it’s true, she said.

Americans have heard it. A poll by Kull’s WorldPublicOpinion.org found that seven in 10 Americans perceive the administration as still saying Iraq had a WMD program. Combine that rhetoric with simplistic headlines about WMD “finds,” and people “assume the issue is still in play,” Kull said.

“For some it almost becomes independent of reality and becomes very partisan.” The WMD believers are heavily Republican, polls show.

Beyond partisanship, however, people may also feel a need to believe in WMD, the analysts say.

“As perception grows of worsening conditions in Iraq, it may be that Americans are just hoping for more of a solid basis for being in Iraq to begin with,” said the Harris Poll’s David Krane.

Charles Duelfer, the lead U.S. inspector who announced the negative WMD findings two years ago, has watched uncertainly as TV sound bites, bloggers and politicians try to chip away at “the best factual account,” his group’s densely detailed, 1,000-page final report.

“It is easy to see what is accepted as truth rapidly morph from one representation to another,” he said in an e-mail. “It would be a shame if one effect of the power of the Internet was to undermine any commonly agreed set of facts.”

The creative “morphing” goes on.

As Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas battled in Lebanon on July 21, a Fox News segment suggested, with no evidence, yet another destination for the supposed doomsday arms.

“ARE SADDAM HUSSEIN’S WMDS NOW IN HEZBOLLAH’S HANDS?” asked the headline, lingering for long minutes on TV screens in a million American homes.

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9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Thriving

Kevin Barrett believes the U.S government might have destroyed the World Trade Center. Steven Jones is researching what he calls evidence that the twin towers were brought down by explosives detonated inside them, not by hijacked airliners.

These men aren’t uneducated junk scientists: Barrett will teach a class on Islam at the University of Wisconsin this fall, over the protests of more than 60 state legislators. Jones is a tenured physicist at Brigham Young University whose mainstream academic job has made him a hero to conspiracy theorists.

Five years after the terrorist attacks, a community that believes widely discredited ideas about what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, persists and even thrives. Members trade their ideas on the Internet and in self-published papers and in books. About 500 of them attended a recent conference in Chicago.

The movement claims to be drawing fresh energy and credibility from a recently formed group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth.

The organization says publicity over Barrett’s case has helped boost membership to about 75 academics. They are a tiny minority of the 1 million part- and full-time faculty nationwide, and some have no university affiliation. Most aren’t experts in relevant fields. But some are well educated, with degrees from elite universities such as Princeton and Stanford and jobs at schools including Rice, Indiana and the University of Texas.

“Things are happening,” said co-founder James Fetzer, a retired philosophy professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, who maintains, among other claims, that some of the hijackers are still alive. “We’re going to continue to do this. Our role is to establish what really happened on 9/11.”

What really happened, the national Sept. 11 Commission concluded after 1,200 interviews, was that hijackers crashed planes into the twin towers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, a government agency, filed 10,000 pages of reports that found fires caused by the crashing planes were more than sufficient to collapse the buildings.

The scholars’ group rejects those conclusions. Their Web site contends the government has been dishonest. It adds: the “World Trade Center was almost certainly brought down by controlled demolitions” and “the government not only permitted 9/11 to occur but may even have orchestrated these events to facilitate its political agenda.”

The standards and technology institute, and many mainstream scientists, won’t debate conspiracy theorists, saying they don’t want to lend them unwarranted credibility.

But some worry the academic background of the group could do that anyway.

Members of the conspiracy community “practically worship the ground (Jones) walks on because he’s seen as a scientist who is preaching to their side,” said FR Greening, a Canadian chemist who has written several papers rebutting the science used by Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists. “It’s science, but it’s politically motivated. It’s science with an ax to grind, and therefore it’s not really science.”

Faculty can express any opinion outside the classroom, said Roger Bowen, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors. However, “with academic freedom comes academic responsibility. And that requires them to teach the truth of their discipline, and the truth does not include conspiracy theories, or flat Earth theories, or Holocaust denial theories.”

Members of the group don’t consider themselves extremists. They simply believe the government’s investigation was inadequate, and maintain that questioning widely held assumptions has been part of the job of scholars for centuries.

“Tenure gives you a secure position where you can engage in controversial issues,” Fetzer said. “That’s what you should be doing.”

But when asked what did happen in 2001, members often step outside the rigorous, data-based culture of the academy and defer to their own instincts.

Daniel Orr, a Princeton Ph.D. and widely published retired economics chair at the University of Illinois, said he knew instantly from watching the towers fall that they had been blown apart by explosives. He was reminded of watching an old housing project being destroyed in St. Louis.

David Gabbard, an East Carolina education professor, acknowledges this isn’t his field, but says “I’m smart enough to know … that fire from airplanes can’t melt steel.”

When they do cite evidence, critics such as Greening contend it’s junk science from fellow conspiracy theorists, dressed up in the language and format of real research to give it a sense of credibility.

Jones focuses on the relatively narrow question of whether molten metal present at the World Trade Center site after the attacks is evidence that a high-temperature incendiary called thermite, which can be used to weld or cut metal, was involved in the towers’ destruction. He concludes thermite was present, throwing the government’s entire explanation into question and suggesting someone might have used explosives to bring down the towers.

“I have not run into many who have read my paper and said it’s just all hogwash,” Jones said.

Judy Wood, until recently an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson University, has been cited by conspiracy theorists for her arguments the buildings could not have collapsed as quickly as they did unless explosives were used.

“If the U.S. government is lying about how the buildings came down, anything else they say cannot be believed,” she said. “So why would they want to tell us an incorrect story if they weren’t part of it?”

In fact, say Greening and other experts, the molten metal Jones cites was most likely aluminum from the planes, and any number of explanations are more likely than thermite.

And the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s report describes how the buildings collapsed from the inside in a chain reaction once the floors began falling.

“We respect the opinions of others, but we just didn’t see any evidence of what people are claiming,” institute spokesman Michael Newman said.

Wisconsin officials say they do not endorse the views of Barrett, an adjunct, but after investigating concluded he would handle the material responsibly in the classroom.

That didn’t mollify many state legislators.

“The general public from Maine to Oregon knows why the trade towers went down,” said state Rep. Stephen Nass, a Republican. “It’s not a matter of unpopular ideas; it’s a matter of quality education and giving students their money’s worth in the classroom.”

In a July 20 letter obtained by The Associated Press in an open records request, Wisconsin Provost Patrick Farrell warned Barrett to tone down his publicity seeking, and said he would reconsider allowing Barrett to teach if he continued to identify himself with the university in his political messages.

BYU’s physics department and engineering school have issued statements distancing themselves from Jones’ work, but he says they have not interfered.

At Clemson, Wood did not receive tenure last year, but her former department chair, Imtiaz ul Haque, denies her accusation that it was at least partly because of her Sept. 11 views.

“Are you blackballed for delving into this topic? Oh yes,” Wood said. “And that is why there are so few who do. Most contracts have something to do with some government research lab. So what would that do to you? The consequences are too great for a career. But I made the choice that truth was more important.”

“If we’re in higher education to be trying to encourage critical thinking,” Wood says, “why would we say ‘believe this because everybody else does?'”


On the Net:

Scholars for Truth:

Nat’l Institute of Standards:

Debunking Conspiracy Theories:




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Minnesota Nice and The Most Dangerous Polka Band on Earth

I’m in Minneapolis for part of the summer, staying in a 400 unit condo complex that seems to be a cross between a retirement community and a gay cruise. Bitchy queens tanning by the pool while old ladies do lazy laps in water wings. They call it the Gay 90s – either you’re gay or you’re 90.

Before I came here all I knew about Minneapolis was that Tom Waits wrote a song called 9th and Hennepin, and it was the home of Bob Dylan, Husker Du, the Replacements, and Prince. Prince always reminds me of the funeral where my friends hid out in the bathroom doing drugs. It seemed in particularly bad taste as Rik died of an overdose, so I don’t listen to much Prince. I do listen to the Replacements, quite a lot in fact, and Bob Dylan is unavoidable.

These days this seems to be a big Jazz city. I have a solid and well-earned reputation for hating Jazz. It’s not that I don’t get it, I get it, and I hate it! I’ve been known to run out of the room when the threat of a flute or squeaky saxophone becomes apparent, so the scene is pretty much lost on me.

So far the best music I’ve seen was at a place called the Polonaise. A place that looks like its been going strong since the 1940s. Red and gold glitter vinyl booths and mirrored bars. In one room, an ancient woman manned the piano framed by a circular bar with patrons bellied up and awaiting their turn at the mic. On the other side of the swinging doors was a polka bar with a trio billed as The Most Dangerous Polka Band on Earth crammed onto a stage about as big as a coffin. An elderly gentleman who couldn’t sing was the singer, and an even more elderly woman rocked the house with an accordian, while a spry drummer no older than 65 kept a steady beat on the drums. The coolest thing was there we’re people of all ages crammed into both of these bars. Drinking and singing and doing the Chicken Dance – the fucking Chicken Dance. I’ve always thought of the Chicken Dance as something distinctly European, but it just goes to show the depth of the Midwestern cosmopolitan ethic.

Minneapolis is a liberal city, with lots of unpretentious hipsters and beautiful architecture.
There is however, an eerie glut of white people. After 18 years in San Francisco, and riding the Mission 14, I’ve gotten pretty used to being the only white girl within eyeshot. I’ve grown beyond comfortable and have to strain to even notice anymore. But being surrounded by people who look like me feels odd.

The saxophones and white people are outweighed by the theatrical weather. Weather that alternates between being so hot it feels like a bathroom hand dryer is pointed at your face, and radical summer storms what appear out of nowhere. A couple days ago I stood at the window and watched hail the size of golf balls, which I always thought was just an expression, fall out of the sky. The lawn was jumping with chunks of ice. Last night we watched an awesome lightening storm from the Hennepin Bridge. It was amazing, if you just stared into what looked like flat darkness and waited, a bolt would flash and light up layers and layers of clouds. Gorgeous.



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Confessions of a Teenage Music Whore

…back when music was dangerous but before people carried guns and rock stars hawked their own clothing lines.

First Concert: Journey and Blue Oyster Cult, but it doesn’t really count because I was 14 and still thought that concerts were about getting as high as possible, and had nothing to do with the music. We sat in the nosebleed seats and worked our way through a velvet-lined Sucrets box of joints. I got lost coming back to my seat from the bathroom. Wobbling down the steep rake of stairs in blue platform shoes I’d shoplifted that afternoon, I was terrified I’d trip and land on the crowd of people 30 feet below. I can’t recall a time I ever liked either of those bands. There’s a lot I can’t recall from those times.

Clubs: I started going to San Francisco clubs when I was 17, mostly to see my friend’s bands at the Mabuhey, the Stone, and some other skeezy place on Polk Street. Plotting how to sneak in was an ongoing act. I had a fake ID I’d bought in Berkeley, and an expired drivers license from someone who looked a lot like me but was 28. I’d size up the doorman before deciding which to pull out of my wallet. Usually though, I’d arrive with the band and carry someone’s guitar into the club and they’d rarely asked any questions, if they did, I’d lie. The bad part was if you came with the band, it meant you left with the band which meant waiting until all the bands had played, then watching my friends haggle with the club owner to get their split, which was never more than about twenty bucks anyway – followed by the long drive back to San Jose at 3AM, trying to sleep in the back of a van with my head next to a kick drum.

The Tubes: My best friend and I told our parents we were sleeping at each other’s house and had no where to go after the concert. We slept on a golf course, and were woken up at 4am being hosed down by rainbird sprinklers.

Run DMC: at the Stone on Broadway in San Francisco, it’s probably a strip club now. I was eight months pregnant ( I was no longer a teenager ) and had to dash out of the theater when my unborn child was moved enough by the music to launch into some in-vitro slam dancing. It was 1984 and while took another 17 years for Big Brother to arrive, the skinhead scene in San Francisco was in full force. I stood in front of the club and watched a street full of skinheads in wife beaters, skinny suspenders and Doc Martins rumble with an army of police. Good times.

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