It’s an odd thing preparing for war. I was just getting ready to send an email to a friend. We haven’t been in touch for a while and he asked me if everything is okay. I was about to say, sure, I’m doing fine, just getting ready for the war … the war with Iran that is.
The reply sort of felt something like, "Oh, just getting ready for the summer” or “preparing for the new school year.” Over here, it seems a foregone conclusion that war’s coming. It feels that it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN.
But no one is quite sure if the war will come after or before Iran gets a nuclear bomb. Of course, that makes a HUGE difference. But right now, with the rhetoric from a lot of Israeli leaders, it looks like the war might come before Iran gets the bomb.
Israel just can’t afford to allow a nuclear-tipped missile on its way from Tehran to Tel Aviv. In fact, if U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is to be believed, it might come in April, May or June.
Well, how do you prepare for a war? I’m sure it’s been different for countries and peoples throughout the ages. In World War II, the British were girding themselves for the prospect of a cross-channel invasion by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. They did suffer through the anguish of the Battle of Britain and the horrors of the bombing of London and England’s major cities.
Here no one’s anticipating an invasion force but they are expecting an onslaught of rockets and missiles. It most likely would come from Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army in Lebanon. This Islamic group has stockpiled as many as 40 to 50,000 rockets and missiles ready to fire into Israel.
Those numbers have multiplied about three to four times since the 2006 Second Lebanon War when Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into Israel and had an arsenal estimated at about 14,000. At that time, it paralyzed northern Israel, and sent more than a million Israelis either fleeing south or into bomb shelters for weeks.
And now Hezbollah’s rockets can hit most anywhere in Israel.
Despite the looming threat of war, life goes on here in Israel. Every day (except Shabbat) people are on their way to work, school, cafes, restaurants or shops. Since I came here in August of 2000, Israel has suffered through the Second Palestinian Intifada, the 2006 Second Lebanon War, thousands of rockets from Gaza and now the threat of nuclear war from an Iran that regularly threatens its very existence.
It's been a rough decade and promises to get even rougher but some here take comfort from the Bible and a 3,000 year promise from the pen of King David: “He that watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4