View from Netanya

It is very difficult, sitting in Netanya, to believe that a little over 100 km from here – say 90 minutes in a fast car – fierce fighting is going on. In almost the whole of Israel life is more or less as normal. There is less traffic on the roads although this is also due to the school holidays.

Heavy casualties could have happened in Israel were it not for the Iron Dome, but this is actually a mistranslation. The Hebrew is “Kipat Barzel” but calling it the “Iron Yarmulke” doesn’t have quite the same impact!

Israelis are quite blasé about current events and the nation is overwhelmingly in support of the government. The terrorism of Hamas really has to be dealt with, despite the polite bleating of Europe and the unbelievable ignorance and incompetence of the White House.

But there are enormous strains. One of my friends has two sons in the army in Gaza. The grandson of some other friends is in tanks. We are all looking forward to his sister’s wedding at the end of August, but both bride and groom are in the army. One of the soldier casualties used to work at the Meatland store in Ra’anana. Grandparents find themselves doing unusual hours to cover absent parents.

One of my grandchildren has been a little nervous because of the rockets, but the others seem unaffected. Last night when rockets were fired towards Tel Aviv the dog was woken up by the siren, but the others just turned over and went on sleeping!

An incidental problem is the shrapnel that falls to earth when a rocket has been detonated by the Iron Dome. Israelis are told to stay in shelter for 10 minutes after the Boom to avoid bits of metal that are falling. In the Park at the other end of the street where my daughter and grandchildren (and dog) go almost daily, the tail assembly of a rocket recently lodged.

One of the problems with this war is calculating the casualty figures in Gaza. We know how many Israeli soldiers have fallen because they wear uniforms. Terrorist do not. They wear civilian clothes and inflate the percentage of civilian dead. The best estimate is that slightly over two thirds of the casualties are Hamas, and perhaps a further 15% could be as well.

Israel is calm and determined. We are going to win this one, and Jewish blood is no longer going to be cheap.