In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake.”

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and gave it to the Palestinians in a unilateral effort towards peace, but soon after terrorist group, Hamas, took control and has since been raining down missiles on the Israeli civilian population centers around it…Last night, as the missiles came towards Sderot and the Israeli sirens wailed for the people to seek shelter–they have only 15 seconds–the beautiful youth in Noaa’s birthday party ran towards the safe room. What was incredible with these youth, was that rather than stop the celebration and hide in fear and suffering from the missile attacks, instead they courageously continued the party and sang with great strength in Hebrew, Happy Birthday to Noaa!


Let us all learn from these amazing young people of Sderot to have birthday cake in the face of bombs and to celebrate life in the face of death, and let Mashiach soon come and bring us peace in the Promised Land.

(Credit Photo: Miriam Sasy)

Jerusalem’s Amazing New Bomb Shelter

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Jerusalem’s Amazing New Bomb Shelter.”

Israel Railways zips passengers north-south between Nahariya and Be’er Sheva and east-west between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv…but the best thing of all is that it also serves for the strategic defense for its citizens…there are provisions for 3,000 to 5,000 people to shelter from a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack on the holy city of Jerusalem

Thankfully, Israel is growing as a democracy, a Startup Nation, and as a light unto nations, yet it must remain vigilant and strong against enemies that could even attempt the unthinkable. 


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

One Day We’ll Be Old

This is a wonderful, moving music video by Israeli composer Asaf Avidan, remixed by German DJ–the song is called One Day/Reckoning (Wankelmut Remix)–it has topped the music charts across Europe.

The reframe:
“One day baby, we’ll be old
Oh baby, we’ll be old
And think of all the stories that we could have told.”

On a simplistic level, this music video is about two lovers torn apart and wondering how they’ll look back one day and imagine what if only they had been able to make things work.

On a deeper level, perhaps this music video is a representation of the Israel and German who produced it–more than six decades after The Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews by the Germans and the feelings of lose and of what could’ve been instead.

“No more tears, my heart is dry
I don’t laugh and I don’t cry
I don’t think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why”

Why the murder of six million men, women, and children–helpless–shot, starved, gassed, burnt in the ovens, electrified on the fences, attacked by dogs, and experimented on by sadististic scientists?

“We can’t cry anymore, the heart is dry.”

As time passes and we age–we think what could have been if we were allowed to live in peace –“think of all the stories  we could have told.”

Now in Israel, again Six million Jews living in the Middle East, the fulfillment of the promise by G-d to Abraham, the return to The Promised Land. 

But the Middel East is composed of more than 20 countries and contains 20% of world’s Muslim population or has roughly 315 million Muslims. In some areas, fundamentalism has taken root, and it is a volatile and dangerous neighborhood to live in.

Missles fly to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and and the people of the Holy Land take cover in bomb shelters as thousands of missiles threaten them.

In modern history, Israel has lost over 22,000 soldiers,with another 75,000 wounded, and there have been about 4,000 civilian victims of terror attacks.

To put this in the perspective of a country the size of the U.S., this is the equivalent of us losing more than 1.1 million American soldiers, having almost 4 million wounded, and another 200,000 civilian victims of terrorism–it’s unthinkable!

“I don’t laugh and I don’t cry”

Now Israeli’s are blamed for defending their small country and the remnants of their people from being driven into the sea by those surrounding them on all sides. 

“Here I go again, the blame
The guilt, the pain, the hurt, the shame
The foundering fathers on our plane
that’s stuck in heavy clouds of rain”

Next is Iran who threatens to wipe Israel off the map and is rushing to develop the nuclear weapons to accomplish their malevolent goals.

“I don’t think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why”

Why won’t you let us just live in peace–leave us alone, once and for all. 

“One day, we’ll be old
Oh baby, we’ll be old
Think of all the stories we could have told”

If only, all could live and let live–think of all the better stories we could tell and all the lives not lost, and all the promise of a better future.

Bomb Shelters For Kindergarten Children

Children_painting_mural_on_bom

I came across of photo from United With Israel, a global advocacy group, taken in Nitzan, Israel.

Nitzan is home to about 600 families, mostly from Gush Katif, where more than 8,600 residents were evacuated and their homes demolished in Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Now living in temporary plaster shelters in Nitzan, just north of the city of Ashkelon, these residents live in constant fear of terrorist and rocket attacks.

Two bomb shelters for their kindergarten classes have been erected.

In this photo, the children are painting murals on the bomb shelter.

It is heart-wrenching that little school children should need bomb shelters to hide in, because they are being targeted by deadly attackers.

What type of world are we living in?

The colorful pictures of water, fish, sand, starfish, clouds, and more is beautiful and serene in the face of the fear these children must face daily.

I have never seen a children’s mural on a bomb shelter, but am grateful for the spirit of these kindergarten children to stand up in the face of evil.

The L-rd “who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121)

May these precious children sleep a little better under the protection of G-d and their new bomb shelters.

(Source Photo: United With Israel)

Busting The Organizational Bunkers

Swiss_bunker

There is a law in Switzerland that every citizen has to have quick access to a bomb shelter and that all new residences be outfitted with these. 

According to the Wall Street Journal (25-26 June 2011), there are over 300,000 swiss bunkers with enough room “to shelter all 7.6 million citizens” and with 1 million to spare!
Yet, the Swiss continue to add 50,000 new spots a year in the bomb shelters.
Note, these are not just a proverbial hole in the wall shelter, but bomb bunkers able to withstand the “impact of a 12-megaton explosion at a distance of [only] 700 meters (765 yards)”–this is 800 times the energy discharged in the bombing of Hiroshima!
So the Swiss are very serious about sheltering themselves.
According to Swiss Info Channel, this preoccupation began in the 1960s with fear of nuclear attack and soviet invasion. Hence the slogan at the time, “Neutrality is no guarantee against radioactivity.” 
Despite the high cost of these shelters and the end of the Cold War, the Swiss hold dear to their shelters to protect against the variety of new dangers out there from terrorist’s dirty bombs to nuclear/chemical/biological accidents, and natural disasters–and the recent events with Fukushima only served to reinforce those beliefs. 
The WSJ points out, preparedness comes “second nature” to them–they popularized the Swiss pocket knife, they still have a mandatory military draft for men, and aside from the U.S. and Yemen, they have more guns per capita than anyone else out there. 
I find their obsession with security fascinating, especially since they are a neutral country and haven’t had a major conflict for about 200 years.  
Perhaps, the Swiss as a small country surrounded by Germany, France, Italy, and Austria that were pummeled in World Wars I and II, witnessed enough bloodshed to be forever changed.
It reminds me of organizations with defective cultures, where employees see others beaten down so often and so long, they simply learn to keep their mouths shut and their heads down. They have in a sense learned to “shelter in place.”  
Of course, being prepared to duck when something is thrown at you is a good thing, but when you are perpetually stuck in a ducking stance, then something is wrong. 
I admire the Swiss and the Israeli’s propensity to prepare and survive, when they are the David’s amidst the Goliath’s. 
However, in an organizational context, I am concerned when I see so many employees hiding in shelters, afraid to speak up and contribute, because they have been marginalized by broken organization cultures. 
The organization is not the place for bunkers, it is the place for collaboration and productivity.
(All opinions my own)
(Photo Source: Facts Worth Knowing)