I do alot of scary things...being a Hatzala and MDA EMT volunteer, who's on call around the clock -- I unfortunately see all sorts of pretty gory scenes. Mass casualty attacks, terror attacks, horrendous car accidents, or just something ordinary -- like a heart attack victim who needs CPR -- all of these situations have a "scariness" factor to them.
But this was completely different.
Last Wednesday I read all about the new deadly "ingredients" in the Katyusha rockets -- 30-40 kilo of ball bearings, that turn close to molten during the quick Katyusha flight from Lebanon to Israel, and how they explode out in all directions causing immense damage.
Yet, swallowing my fear, on Friday morning I collected another 3 MDA volunteers, and we drove up North. With rising anticipation, I started getting serious butterflies in my stomach when we reached Afula -- the southernmost town in Northern Israel to be hit by Hizbolla's rockets. Everything seemed to be moving faster and faster in Afula -- everyone running around to get things done before the next rocket attack.
Everyone on edge.
We kept on driving North and stopped to take a picture at Har Tavor...knowing full well, we had just entered "Katyusha Rocket Country"
We kept going...and eventually reached "Tzomet Amiad" -- the Amiad intersection. Normally, this simple intersection has no importance to anyone...but in the past 18 days, this intersection is mentioned on radio and TV stations countless times a day. Tzomet Amiad is the unofficial "border" used by IDF HomeFront command to determine what level of preparedness you need.
North of Tzomet Amiad, and you need to be in the direct proximity of a bomb shelter at all times. South of the intersection, and you can take it a bit easier.
Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the MDA Station House of our destination. A quiet, sleepy town that has no notoriety or fame...yet had already been the victim of a numerous Katyusha strikes over the past few weeks.
Normally at MDA stations around Israel, the ambulances are neatly parked one next to the other in a covered area of the parking lot. Not anymore.
Ambulances are now placed at distances from each other, so that if G-d forbid there is a rocket attack at an MDA station -- the likelihood of all the ambulances getting damaged is minimized. My ambulance was even parked outside the station across the street.
Looking northwards at the mountains overlooking the station, most of the trees and greenery had been burned black by brush fires resulting from countless Katyusha strikes.
The estimates I've heard are that it will take JNF another 40 years to return the Galil to the green forest situation that Israel enjoyed only a few weeks ago.
We are given a quick overview by the Station Manager. When the Air-Raid sirens go off, you drop everything, put on a bulletproof vest and run for the station's bomb shelter.
Little did I realize how much time I was going to be spending in this bomb shelter.
The time ticked by since we arrived, and everything was quiet...there was a feeling of nervous anticipation in the air. Someone called my name -- I needed to do a "service call" and accompany an additional ambulance driver to the MDA Station in Tzefat, and then drive the modified ambulance back to our station. Sounded like a simple milk run...nothing to it. I took one additional person from my dedicated ambulance crew, and off we went.
About 7 minutes into the ride...my MEERS (nextel) phone started beeping -- one of our MDA colleagues back at the station was yelling something, but I didn't make out what he was saying. I asked him to repeat it, and he nervously said, "Air raid sirens are going off...follow the protocol!"
The "protocol" means, stop your vehicle, put on a bulletproof vest and helmet, and find cover as quickly as possible OUTSIDE your vehicle. My crew member and I ran for the concrete bus shelter alongside the road, and crawled underneath it as much as possible...while the other driver didn't seem very impressed. He just mosied on over not wearing a vest, and asked if we were having fun. We said it would be stupid to die from shrapnel when a vest could save a life. The sirens continued to blare and we heard a boom in the distance.
The sirens stopped, and we quickly got back on board and continued driving...without removing any protective gear, no matter how hot we were...no matter how uncomfortable. I just wanted to get to the station in Tzefat, drop this guy off, and get back to our station as quickly as possible.
As we drove up the mountainside to Tzefat, the Air Raid sirens started up again, and we heard more explosions. Approaching the final turn to the Tzefat MDA station, I saw a plume of smoke rising up...a katuyusha rocket has narrowly missed the MDA station in Tzefat...by 10 meters. All the windows facing the rocket were blown in...
We stopped for a second so the driver could hastily put on his vest and helmet (apparently he had a very quick change of mind when he saw the rocket strike next to the MDA station), so I took the opportunity to snap a picture (all rights reserved to the Muqata blog).
Quickly, we raced up ahead to the station to let our driver off, so I could turn around and drive back, but the Tzefat Station manager wouldn't hear of it.
"Get in the shelter," he yelled, "there's warnings of more rockets on their way!"
So, we ran into the station's shelter...I called my wife to tell her I was OK, and miraculously, no one was hurt by the rocket strike.
A few minutes later, we got the all clear signal, so I took a few more pictures and we zoomed on back.
Driving faster than I can ever recall, we zoomed back to our station in record time, and everyone wanted to know what happened. Rumors abounded of a direct hit on the Tzefat MDA station, but I had the pictures to prove them wrong...it was very close...but not a direct hit, and no one was hurt.
It took some time to calm down.
The Station Manager told me that for the religious volunteers, he would bend over backwards to do whatever he could to make sure we had as enjoyable a shabbat as possible...he said the room with the TV would always have the door closed, he would instruct people not to talk publicly on their cellphones on shabbat...and I told him not to worry.
He showed me a box he had just received from the IDF -- the official IDF military spec "Shabbat Kit" which was being distributed to all MDA stations around Northern Israel by the IDF Homefront command.
In perfect military fashion, the MilSpec Shabbat Kit had every part numbered and serialized:
001. Wine for Kiddush - qty: 1 bottle
002. Plastic Wine Cups - qty: 10
003. Shabbat Candles - qty: 4
004. Matches - qty: 1 box
005. Havdala Candle - qty: 1
006. IDF Siddur - qty: 1
007. Talit - qty: 1
008. Talit bag - qty: 1
009. Parashat Shavua Booklet - qty: 2
010. Chocolates - qty: 1 box
011. Lolipops - qty: 4
012. Dvar Torah sheets - qty 1
013. Halacha Questions & Answers (for week of Tisha B'Av) - qty: 1
014. Bisamim (spices for Havdala) - qty: 1 package
015. Kippot (Yarmulkas) - qty: 10
How can you not feel proud of our Jewish army, when they do something SO right?
This week, many different rabbis were trying to posit what poor behaviors of Israel and the Jewish people was the "reason" for the current war. Was it the "Gay Parade" scheduled to march in Jerusalem? Was it the lack of modestly dressed people? Previous Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Mordechai Eliyahu was asked this exact question this past week -- and he angrily answered as follows:
I suggest that instead of people trying to accuse the Jewish people...and being prosecutors against them...they should adopt the opposite strategy, and be advocates of the Jewish people. Look at the tremendous outpouring of love and concern for the Jews of Northern Israel...what a wonderful people the Jewish nation can be.
Shabbat came quickly...as did additional Air Raid Sirens. Each siren sent us scampering to find out bullet proof vests, and running into the bomb shelter. Within 30 seconds of the Air Raid siren, the rockets would fall...and we would feel the bomb shelter shake and hear the explosions. Just after midnight, a huge explosion threw me off my mattress -- apparently, the Air Raid sirens sometimes go off only after the rocket's strike...and not before. I grabbed my vest and ran for the bomb shelter...another 30 minutes went by before the "all clear" was given.
The next day, there were rockets landing all day long -- even in our area, as we constantly ran back and forth into the bomb shelter...listened for the explosions, and waited to see if we were called out.
We were very lucky (or I guess, the town we were in was very lucky)...with all the rocket strikes, there were zero injuries on shabbat, and we didn't even have to go out on one ambulance call.
I prefer it that way...
Yet even though I'm now back at home, the haunting sound of the air raid siren keeps echoing in my head. I could barely concentrate on shabbat to daven or read the parasha, expecting the sirens to go off at any second.
It's very late now, but I had to put my initial thoughts into words...I'll finish this posting tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: I went to bed last night with a feeling that this posting wasn't finished...and definitely not adequately.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael
B"H you are safe and made it safely to Tsafat and back. May Hashem watch over you and all of klal yisroel.
May we see a quick end to this and a safe return of all our soldiers.
Bravo for volunteering.
But we worry about you, and wish you to always return safely.
I am somwhat baffled at the disparity between talis (one), lollipops (four), and keppels (ten).
Counting on enough men for a minyan, but only four people with a sweet-tooth?
glad you are safe!
in the words of phish, "have a cup of coffee and catch your breath"
wow... thank you for sharing your experiences.
B'H that no one was hurt and your returned safely.
glad to know you're okay. you were in our prayers this weekend (as was all of israel, as usual.)
okay, here's a weird question, but is the tallis bag really necessary for shabbos? i mean, couldn't you trade the bag for extra lollipops?
What are you going to carry the lollipops in, if not a tallit bag?
Jameel, this post made me cry. You are my hero for today. May God look upon your brave chessed, and that of the IDF, and all of the brave chessed flowing North in Israel, and make it all successful. May God save the people who need saving, strike down the people who need striking down, and cheer the people who need cheering, all with the help of His Armies, whether they bear stretchers, arms, or lollipops.
Glad to hear that you are ok.
Amazing going up there to care for those who are being targeted. This is an excellent example of why we prevail as a people.
Oh, Jameel, you are a true hero! Start a fan club, I'll join it for sure! I am glad you are safe.
Thank G-d for you Jameel, and may He bless all the people of Israel everywhere.
You have made this war more real than anyone else has, I hope everyone reads this.
Also, thank you for your MDA service.
Thank God you are home. The first thought that came to my mind after reading your account is "holy you-know-what!"
Baruch Hashem that you're home in one piece. Eventually, my link will show up--I put in a pitch for contributions to JNF. My prayers are with all the people of Eretz Yisrael.
May you be repaid for your volunteer work on behalf of those in need with the bracha that you and your family will never need to be on the receiving end.
Here in the USA, today, it appears Israel is (unfairly) losing the PR campaign (not unusual). Your blog reminds me of the great mesirat nefesh of the people of Israel - so often true substance is lost in favor of nonsense. May the truth prevail.
Great pictures. Shame you couldn't snap the picture of ther missile right before it hit. That would have been really cool.
Kol HaKavod. I had goosebumps looking at the pics of the Tzefat rocket strike. I am glad you are safe!
Were you the only frum Jew there for the weekend? Do you get to keep the official IDF military spec "Shabbat Kit"??
Thanks for the great post.
God bless Israel.
Baruch Hashem you are ok, and a big yasher koach to you. I am also thrilled to see that even the IDF sees the importance of chocolate - definitely necessary for Shabbat!
it is pretty scary when the boom goes off right next to you.
Rock: Yeah...hearing the booms from far away isn't that much fun either.
Chana: There were a few of us religious there in the station.
I was thinking about asking for the tallit/tallit-bag/siddur -- but decided it was important for it to stay in the station for someone who may need it more than me. The picture was all that was really needed anyway.
I will try to finish this post later today...
Amen to WBM re chocolate
What happened to your nazi fan club?
Wow is all I can say! Thank God you made it home safe and sound.
Wow! What an incredible thing to do.
Jameel, you're the man.
Great post Jameel! Gives a real perspective of what everyone there is going through.
This is a horrible war. But one think these Hezbulla scum have been able to do that no one else has been able to do in maybe 40 years is galvanize the country and unite the people.
Maybe that's the real reason G-d sent us this war.
"Maybe that's the real reason G-d sent us this war."
It isn't worth it. If we are ascribing Divine motives, God should have a better plan to encourage achdus.
As a Jew, thank you for what you are doing
Ohhhhhh this picture is especially scary....
"he saw the rocket strike next to the MDA station), so I took the opportunity to snap a picture"
Well when a 'rocket' hits the ground it tends to leave a CRATER. I don't see anything suggesting an 'explosion' or 'rocket'. Seeing how zionists have such a strong proclivity to LIE it is obvious that this is what has taken place.
Just to expose zionists for what they are I have saved the photo to my hard drive and 'copyright' or no I will be sharing it with folks to show them ANOTHER BALD FACED LIE and expect your site visits to increase because I plan on directing them here to see these TOTALLY FICTIONAL ACCOUNTS.
Try again, you got an extra helping of chutzpah didn't you? It shows.
Yasher Koach Jameel. Thanks for sharing Rav Eliyahu's admonishment, I needed to hear that.
Just a couple of observations from your photos.
In this one:
I see that the fire has burnt DOWN the mountain. Do the rules of physics cease to exist in 'israel'? Fire burns UP until they is nothing left to consume. Go out in your back yard and try an experiment for yourself.
In the next one:
I see a picture of someone holding a hose on some blackened ground. NO CRATER, NO SHRAPNEL.
For claiming to be of superior 'intelligence' I see a complete lack of it here. Think maybe Jameel or maybe one of the other staff was burning some loco weed or threw their cigarette in the wrong place? If you're going to show me 'proof' of something let's get a little better at presenting your case. 'Hizallah "rocket' attack' proven to be FALSE! Next?
First we had "Muqata". Then "Jameel". The RebRen started in with "Jameelie". And now, you bring us this "James" character. What a unique blog. ;>)
Well, anyone who names their blog "The Last Gasp of the Zionist Parasite" and whose main criticism of the first people to reject idol worship is that they are commiting idolotry obviously has mental issues. I think this James guy probably deserves our pity more than anything else.
No, he doesn't. He'll get the truth he seeks, some day...
Amazing post, Jameel. I am simply in awe of you and all the soldiers, medics, and volunteers who risk their lives to serve Israel and keep us safe. Those pathetic terrorists have NOTHING on you guys.
Thanks for this post- and for doing so much for your country.
I felt as if I WAS WITH YOU.'Imo anochi betzara.'A very difficult decision to make.You had the support of the wife.Kol hakovod.
How honest you are with your feelings.ALL APPROPRIATE.
"Sir Chuck said...
No, he doesn't. He'll get the truth he seeks, some day..."
Of that you can be assured, as will all that say 'LORD LORD look what I have done in your name', you know the rest?
"...but because you say that you can see shows that you are still blind."
Jameel, thank you. Yasher Koach. James, go somewhere else.
James, James, go away. Come again some other day. Notr anytime soon though. LOL
Oh can't you feel the love. Hugs out to everyone. Got a message for you 'America' John 3:19-21.
I'll go when my time is up.
thanks for your concern though.
wow. thanks for taking time out to share that with us. It really paints a picture of what is really going on in Israel. What life is really like. It is so hard to understand, the news here is so skewed.
It is amazing what you are doing and amazing that your wife is so supportive (I would be a nervous wreck!)
Be safe, we're davening for you guyss!
Oh goodie, a missionary. And a gnostic, at that.
[Now please imagine that I have am wearing garlic around my neck, and have a string of it in my office cubicle...]
Jameel - I was in tears reading your post.
James - I don't get your point...fires spread.
To hezloblah & humas..IF YOU LIVE BY THE SWORD, YOU DIE BY THE SWORD !
James, maybe you should print it out and send flyers to the Hezloblah & Humas leaders.
- John 3:19-21 -
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved
darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does
evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his
deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,
so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through
Many people don't want their lives exposed to God's light because they are
afraid of what will be revealed. They don't want to be changed. Don't be
surprised when these same people are threatened by your desire to obey God
and do what is right, because they are afraid that the light in you may
expose some of the darkness in their lives. Rather than giving in to
discouragement, keep praying that they will come to see how much better it
is to live in light than in darkness.
James - I don't get your point...fires spread."
Fires DO NOT burn DOWN hills ask a firefighter. The fire in the picture supposedly started when the 'rocket' struck the hill above the MDA office. It is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for a fire to burn DOWN a hill or mountain.
"The back of the hill said...
Oh goodie, a missionary. And a gnostic, at that.
[Now please imagine that I have am wearing garlic around my neck, and have a string of it in my office cubicle...]"
And this is supposed to mean......you have a unexplainable fear of blood sucking vampires from a bad experience you had while living in Transylvania?
You're a funny guy, seriously, I'm sure under other circumstances we might have a laugh or two....but me being goy and everything it's probably not kosher hunh?
Hey you all. Do not pay attention to the man behind the curtain. He happens to be a MICHEAL MOORE SUPPORTER. Explains it. I went to the sites he participates in. Now the truth is known.
Ignore is the best way. Let them run off at the mouth all they want. They are useless. Just ignore. Not worthy of any debates.
Ps..I was talking about the poster "JAMES". How sad they are. Pray for them is all I can say!
"AMERICA~LAND OF THE FREE said...
He happens to be a MICHEAL MOORE SUPPORTER. Explains it. I went to the sites he participates in. Now the truth is known."
Michael Moore? He's on your side. If he 'exposed' anything it was how much of a hopeless shill he is. Truth? You can't handle the truth. I will indeed pray that your eyes are opened before it is too late.
Wow! Not only Nazi wannabees but Holocaust Deniers too. Jameel, you are just a magnet.
I love it when these guys show off their ignorance.
From "How Wildfires Work".
Unlike humans, fires usually travel uphill much faster than downhill. The steeper the slope, the faster the fire travels. Fires travel in the direction of the ambient wind, which usually flows uphill. Additionally, the fire is able to preheat the fuel further up the hill because the smoke and heat are rising in that direction. Conversely, once the fire has reached the top of a hill, it must struggle to come back down because it is not able to preheat the downhill fuel as well as the uphill.
Dr. Clark says that fires travelling slower uphill are an exception to the rule, but it does happen. Winds can work against a fire that is trying to move up a slope.
"It depends on which way the wind's blowing," he said. "For example, I have a case study in Australia where the wind was blowing down the mountain side, blowing the fire away from the hill until a front came through. Then it went uphill."
Man, these anti-semites are stupid and delusional.
Why dont you come out to the Muqata and let me show you the sights?
CHECK IT OUT..
After I exposed "JAMES" for what he was he disabled his "OTHER" blog that he had just started. LOL....
But he does participate in this one. Probably under all the names that you cannot access.posted by qrswave IS ONE. LOL
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE (ITS CALLED)
Busted James...sorry. lol
God bless Israel !!
Jameel - thank you for the post and thank you for the volunteering.
I now tell my mother when I grow up I want to be like Jameel...
"Joe Settler said...
Just to make this idiot look even more stupid, addto the post the picture of the crater the missile made."
Yeah Jameel post it so 'you can show me'. I await.
" AMERICA~LAND OF THE FREE said... After I exposed "JAMES" for what he was he disabled his "OTHER" blog that he had just started. LOL...."
Yeah I did delete it because you were posting cut and paste zionist propaganda ad hominem. I have nothing to hide unlike your 'friends'.
Why dont you come out to the Muqata and let me show you the sights?"
No thanks, not even if you GAVE me an all expense paid trip. Something about obeying the Creator,...you know how it is.
James, you should not lie. You are a coward, just like the Hezlobhoh and Hamas & Al quieda ! You know what you do.
Shame to you !
"AMERICA~LAND OF THE FREE said...
James, you should not lie. You are a coward, just like the Hezlobhoh and Hamas & Al quieda ! You know what you do."
Typical zionist response commence with the name calling. Yeah I do know what to do. I forgive you because you know not what you do. Explain it to the One that will judge you.
James, no offense, but your god does not exist.
And Hashem is a jealous deity, who doesn't like idolatry and superstition.
"Joe Settler said... It depends on which way the wind's blowing," he said. "For example, I have a case study in Australia where the wind was blowing down the mountain side, blowing the fire away from the hill until a front came through. Then it went uphill."
BUT the other picture show hardly even a breeze which would NOT ACCOUNT for the fire burning DOWN the hill. I just don't believe it was a 'rocket attack'. Please prove me wrong if you can. I'm not too proud to admit it if I have made a mistake.
"The back of the hill said...
James, no offense, but your god does not exist.
And Hashem is a jealous deity, who doesn't like idolatry and superstition."
Don't know about 'hashem' but the CREATOR requires obedience and from what is apparent in 'medinat yisrael's' actions they are unfamiliar with this reqirement.
I wouldn't be so hasty in dismissing what you are unfamiliar with yourself. We shall all see shan't we?
These trolls never cease to amaze me !
Jameel, you are an inspiration to us all. A great post, and an amazing job of contributing with your time, your energy, and your courage. Thanks for it all!
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