The Day After The Iranian Bomb
Author: Offer binshtok
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Translated from Hebrew by Tamar Milshtein
Copyright © All rights reserved
Copyright © 2013 Offer binshtok. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission from the author, Offer binshtok.
Publisher: Offer Binshtok.
The book purpose
The book aim is to arouse public opinion from the bottom, in order to press the Israeli leadership to act now with no delay, and take action to stop the Iranian bomb by any means.
The book was handed to top opinion leaders and all communication networks: Channel 2, Broadcasting, radio stations, Channel 10, Israel’s foreign networks: CNN, FOX, French network, German network, Al-Jazeera, Reuters. Moreover, provided copies to Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth
The book was sent as well to all 120 members of the Knesset, dedication addresses these words:
“I have the words, and you have the power, you have do everything and with all means to stop the Iranian bomb.”
All of that was written with hope for an action, unequivocally and emphatically, to stop the Iranian bomb.
“Nowadays, I decided to expand the publishing of the book to the worldwide. The reason- time is running out. I do not expect that others will protect us, but just looking for vital support from the free world people, to all means that the people of Israel will take in order to protect their family lives in front of the Iranian atomic bomb, whatever it takes.”
This book was written in memory of the millions of victims that will perish in the imminent Iranian nuclear attack. The fallen millions will be victims of the second genocide to befall the Jewish people in seventy years.
Yet in the face of the imminent holocaust, the world watches silently, speaking only words of flattery to the enemy, who announces that Israel will annihilated and denies the Zionist Jewish entity’s right to exist in the Middle East. The world watches silently – as does the State of Israel.
I decided not to stand by in silence.
I wrote this book not as a creative literary work but with a purpose – not to helplessly allow fate to strike us without attempting to defend our families.
I, a mere cosmic grain in an infinite universe, an inhabitant of planet Earth, a citizen of the State of Israel and a son of the Jewish Nation – am aware of my limited power to influence; yet I have decided to take action: to write a book; to cry out and be heard.
I hope that the victims for whom I wrote this book – at least those who survive, even if barely so – will know that sometime back, someone remembered them, didn’t forget and tried to save them from injury or death in the nuclear attack.
Day 1: October 2nd 2009
Fall, early October circa 2009-2015. It is chilly on board the ship’s deck. It is three in the morning. In the distance, Haifa is seen in all its glory – a charming city, with Mt. Carmel’s lights and the lighthouse turning at the top of Stella Maris, the port and downtown – all blending together beautifully and majestically.
We are one family, standing on the front deck, watching Haifa appear beyond the horizon, slowly advancing as we glide towards the harbor. The motionless sea is calm.
We all feel relaxed. It is Lior’s birthday today; she is 14, and the cruise is both a family gathering and a perfect birthday present.
The eldest, Inbal, has just finished her voluntary Service Year and mandatory army service and is planning her future. She is going on a trip soon and meanwhile works as an instructor in Nahalal (a moshav in northern Israel). She and her sister are great friends; it is a pleasure watching the lovely pair together. They are completely different from one another, yet they get along really well. Despite her age, my mother looks younger each year; younger than all of us. Her great, optimistic nature is what makes her youthful and unaffected by the vicissitudes of time; if anything, she is positively affected by them. She is always on the go, living each day to it fullest, as if it were her last. She’s been at it for twenty three years now.
My wife Noa loves these cruises, always reveling in them anew.
She is about to begin her second academic year as an M.A. student and enjoys every minute of the whirlwind of studying and working she’s been caught in for the past six years.
Ronnie, my brother, who we see two or three times a year, lives in Eilat and always comes sailing with us.
We enter the port, slightly sad, since the cruise was nearing its end; but what a glorious ending – with Haifa in the background and the breaking of a new dawn with such fine weather – simply a union of familial pleasure and happiness.
Four to five hours later, we are all back in our routines – each making his way home by car or by plane.
It is the High Holidays: soon we will celebrate Sukkot; a joyful yet somewhat stressful time – work – holiday – work; holiday – work – holiday.
Day 2: October 3rd 2009
The weather is volatile. We are back from the cruise. The suitcases are stored and everything is put away as the routine of home takes over again. It is drizzling outside. I take a short walk despite the rain. Suddenly, the weather seems to clear up. With each step, the clouds scatter and a clear day, perfect for walking, takes over.
I tread on the gravel path, through the fields that have taken in the fall rains. The soil is no longer cracked and arid. It seems that the little rain we had recently left the soil revived once more, after suffering the heat of summer.
I love walking here; I simply do: the road slowly moves out of sight, as each step takes me into the sown fields waiting to be watered and turned into a luscious, green spring of life. Over here, sunflowers will grow; over there, cotton and various other crops, even a mix of salad greens, and coming up, further on, is the endless watermelon patch.
Walking is quality time spent thinking, developing possible ideas about successful business strategies, a great time for contemplating and examining life in general and its small daily details in particular. Walking is fun. The body awakens and sweat comes trickling down. I love this route: man and nature uniting harmoniously amidst a variety of different crops and the uncultivated land at the foot of the hill, overlooking the northern Negev’s desert landscape.
This entire area is magnificent in winter: an abundance of sweet grape vineyards – wild nature combined with man’s hand that doesn’t harm it – on the contrary.
The weekend goes by with a short trip and a long rest.
Day 4: October 5th 2009
Just before sunrise, I surf the Internet, reading all the available news: the economy is thriving, security problems in Gaza, Judea and Samaria; very few terror attacks, violent outbursts here and there, but in general, we seem to have found a balance and ways to reduce the immediate internal security threats. Up until a few months ago, there were a few missile attacks on the Dan Region in Central Israel, but following the lethal military operation in Judea and Samaria, proving to the Arabs for the third time that we are in control there – it has been relatively quiet.
Lior woke up and started getting ready for school, terribly cute but still half-asleep.
“What’s up, Lior? Do you know where you’re headed? When did you go to bed?” I smile. She is still sleepy. You can not be mad at her. All in all, she excels in everything – even with going to bed late and waking up sleepy. She receives nothing but praise during parent-teacher’s days.
“Dad, will you stop it? I’m totally ready and I won’t be late. Don’t pressure me, I’m fine,” she turned to me annoyed.
She always reacts that way when she feels she is being criticized. She is so set on being the best, and she knows how to get along and come out clean. She is untouchable. She always finds a way out.
“Do you want a ride? I’m leaving in fifteen minutes.”
She calls out from afar: “No, Dad, I’m off, see you! Leave me twenty shekels in the drawer.”
“Okay, sweetie, bye!”
I smile to myself. Her daily allowance. Let her enjoy herself.
The traffic is backed up all the way to Tel Aviv. In the last few years, traffic has become impossible; I don’t understand where all of the tax money on cars and gas is going. It takes me almost two and a half hours to get to the Diamond Exchange area. I have a few business meetings and I am having lunch with Danny. We arranged to meet and chat a bit. Danny has been my close friend for nearly 25 years. We speak every day. We consult each other on every experience and decision we make. Not a week or two passes without us seeing a movie or going out somewhere. We have become real brothers.
It is 09:30, and I’ve forgotten to call my mother. I smile to myself. She has not called. How strange. The phone rings a few times before she picks up.
“Mother, how are you? How are you feeling? What’s the plan for today?”
“I’m going out for coffee with some friends at the Haifa mall, and then I have a checkup at the doctor’s.”
It is like that almost every morning. I am relieved. Everything is fine. I can go on with my day.
A few long meetings go by fast – and it is lunch time. I drive to the Kerem (neighborhood in Tel Aviv) to meet Danny. On the way there, he calls to tell me he is stuck at work. I turn around, going back to the Exchange area and my favorite café for a delicious light meal.
My day ends with a few more business meetings and a slow drive back home to the south. I arrive at around 20:30. There’s no place like home. Everything is peaceful. Lior is at the computer and Noa is working on her thesis, as usual.
Day 5: The Day of the Iranian Bomb – October 6th 2009
On this day, an Iranian nuclear experiment was conducted, shocking the West in general and Israel in particular.
I stretch out in my bed, listening as the house slowly wakes up. It is chilly. I pull the covers over my head though I know I must get out of bed right away. No time to rest. I have a business trip to Afula (northern city in Israel).
Noa says goodbye and leaves. I slowly get ready, drink my morning coffee, organize my briefcase and check the Web to see what’s new.
Nothing is. The usual corruption scandals, the government is unstable, and we may go for elections in a few months. Same old stuff, no breaking news on the morning shows or news websites; just he usual yelling and complaining about our corrupt government. I check my email. Nothing new there either. The good life continues.
I leave home at 09:00. Everything is organized. I speak to my mother, who is meeting her friends again.
The road up north opens up before me. I love it. The fields along the roads in the northern Negev are brown from the occasional rains. The blazing heat of last summer dissipates from the ruined soil left behind, and the earth begins to turn brown. The yellowed fields have vanished with the farmers’ help, only to be sown once more in late summer. As the months go by, these fields will slowly turn green with the new crop. The further north I travel, the greener they become. The yellow fades, giving way to a ploughed, sown land, and the slow sprouting of crops. Then, in the peak of winter and thereafter, everything will turn green. I enjoy watching this change; the beautiful life cycle taking form.
The way from south to north emphasizes this turning of the wheel of life which I enjoy watching anew every year.
I usually do not listen to the radio while driving: the repetitive current affairs nonsense discussed on radio shows gets to me and disrupts my inner peace. Very often, I prefer to drive in silence, thinking and planning and coming up with new ideas.
By now, Noa is at work, Lior is at school and Inbal is up north in Nahalal.
I go about my round of calls to Inbal, Ronnie, Danny and a few other brief morning calls.
It is 09:35. I am on Route 6. The traffic flows. Great. I stop to fill up gas. Another ordinary, pleasant day ahead. A few interesting business meetings are awaiting me.
As I am pulling out of the gas station and getting on the road again, I decide to turn on the radio and listen to its incessant chatter, only to find out what I gain by keeping it off. All of a sudden, a dramatic breaking news signal comes on. The newscaster announces that the Iranians have apparently conducted a nuclear experiment, but there are conflicting reports from numerous worldwide news sites, and further reports are on the way.
Unbelievable! I am troubled by thoughts about the steps the entire world has taken in the face of the Iranian nuclear plan – threats, pleas, requests and empty words. I drive on, pensive, listening to all that talk about where we were and what we did; a whole world of idioms used to benefit radio stations and self-appointed opiniated commentators of all kinds, expressing their own private opinions.
I go about my day, which has turned from mundane to unreal. Everyone is fishing for more information by the minute, speaking almost exclusively about it in addition to some business matters. Everyone stays close to the radio, television and/or the internet for updates. This is a big day for the commentators, jabberers, wannabe politicians and everyone else who is dragged out of the woodwork to express his opinion.
We have been talking about this scenario for years.
I return home early than usual that evening. All the news networks in Israel and around the world have launched hysterically opinionated current affairs broadcasts. Some fervently defend the Iranians’ right to own a bomb, seeing no harm in it, while others claim it a disaster. After years of discussions and threats on Iran, Iran has a bomb, and the entire media is caving in under the commentaries. It was obvious they would have a bomb, following their much criticized nuclear plan, which the media covered so well. But none of the talk, threats, and puns, clicking of tongues or euphoric ideology of one kind or another was enough to stop the Iranian bomb.
The evening is spent in conversations with the girls, my wife and everyone else possible. Everyone is talking about it; the Internet is inundated with talkbacks. Opinions come from all directions, some saying they simply wanted to scare us and lead us into war with Iran: ‘See, they have a bomb – but no harm done.’ The Iranians themselves came out with an “all clear” announcement to the world: They are not planning to use the bomb; it is only a protective measure of deterrence.
The commentators are fighting all evening and well into the night.
It is unclear where things are heading at the moment, and what the reality will be after the Iranian bomb, which the entire world – and we in particular – were afraid of.
Many national soothers pop up in the television and radio networks. Some of them say it is a balance of terror and there is nothing to worry about.
But there is a dilemma: Should we continue keeping the ambiguity about the Israeli bomb – or should we announce we have one – or perhaps we do not even have one? The answer to this question also remains unclear, only speculated.
A sleepless night with much talk.
I hardly managed to fall asleep after sending much time on so many websites, searching for information, when I finally found it: The Iranian nuclear experiment was conducted with an immensely powerful bomb.
When I was tired enough, I got into bed and fell into a light sleep. I guess I must have been thinking during my sleep. An hour later, I woke up and went to check on Lior.
I prayed everything would work out, and that the worst would never materialize.
The Day after the Iranian Bomb: October 7th 2009
Many radio and television programs feature the Iranian nuclear experiment during the night and in the morning. Lots of self-appointed experts representing their own ideology are arguing whether it is so terrible or not, each side resolutely presenting its opinion. Some are convinced and persuasive in saying it is a good thing the Iranians have a bomb, since they will act more responsibly now, while others expect the worst.
Yesterday, immediately following the Iranian experiment, a high-ranking Israeli delegation, including the Chief of Staff, the Deputy Prime Minister and a few other top ministers, left for urgent consultations in the U.S.
Another ordinary day begins. I leave home for work in Tel Aviv.
Humor and future plans are mixed with concern about the news regarding the Iranian bomb.
The entire day is filled with conversations about the Iranian nuclear experiment. Most of the commentators and self-appointed wannabe politicians claim that it will all be fine and that the balance of terror between us and the Iranians will in fact make them more responsible, and thus work for our benefit and that of the world at large. This seems to be the opinion among the vast majority of Israel’s left wing leaders, including a considerable share of the center block, backed up by the media, whose commentators are strongly biased to the left. By contrast, there are those who argue that the end is imminent, but most are comfortable thinking that it will all be fine and that nothing bad will come of it.
I leave Tel Aviv at 15:05 and head up north to visit my mother in Haifa. The radio is on, with constant chatter about the Iranian experiment. It seems that most of the self-designated scholars who are so high on self-esteem are claiming that only good will come of the Iranians owning a nuclear bomb, because it will make them more accountable. So says Yair Shmueli, leading commentator on the national radio network, and is reinforced by Daniel Hartsuf, the Labor Party Chairman. They both have the opinion that intimidation around the Iranian bomb has been incited by warmongers; now that we know the Iranians in fact have a bomb, peace may even emerge out of it – claims Daniel Hartsuf.
They believe that since the Iranians currently have the upper hand as a result of the change in the balance of power, it is the opportune moment in history to balance the power between the Arab-Muslim world and Israel so as to bring forth the longed for peace. It was all for the best then.
At 16:25, I pass by Hadera (city in Haifa district). On the radio, the left wing leader is talking about the imminent peace as a result of the Iranian bomb. I am speaking to Danny on the phone about the situation, when all of a sudden, the line disconnects, and I notice that the radio has been cut off as well. Cars driving in the opposite direction towards Tel Aviv collide and overturn in a mass road accident on the highway just opposite me.
I stare into the rearview mirror, dumbfounded. I see three huge mushroom clouds far behind in the background. A thought instantly crosses my fervent mind, leading to the realization what I am seeing is a nuclear explosion. Nuclear bombs in Central Israel! I cannot believe it; I am in total shock. I pull over by the roadside and get out of my car, looking southwards, staring in disbelief. Many cars stop on the road and pull over. Accidents keep happening. A hot gust of wind covers the area. At that very moment, I think about Danny, with whom I had just spoken on the phone, and I am petrified: what has become of him? What has become of everyone? Shock! Suddenly, I notice a very large nuclear mushroom coming from the eastern horizon.
The word “Jerusalem” comes into mind. Total shock!
All of a sudden, not knowing why, I decide to get on the road at once. Instinctively and without hesitation, I begin driving, dodging other vehicles quickly but carefully. There are traffic jams, but I manage to get ahead. I am the only one driving; the rest are paralyzed. I notice that everyone inside their vehicles is hysterical; but I keep driving towards Haifa.
The radio is dead, and so is the cell phone: no signal. I can only assume that the entire cellular network has crashed.
I speed up towards Haifa. Only a few are still on the road; many have stopped midway. It is not an easy ride, but I am starting to put my thoughts in order. I am trying to think about what is actually happening and what I should do. The first thing that comes up is a sense of terrible sadness. I make headway, shocked and astounded, moving in a mechanical manner, calculating every future step, and trying to organize my thoughts. I am overcome with sadness and melancholy as I imagine Lior and Noa down south, all alone at home, with the bombarded Dan Region separating them from me and from Ronny. Then I think about my mother. I must reach her as quickly as possible. A few vehicles are lying overturned on the way. When I pass by the Arab village of Jasser A-Zarka, a few stones are hurled at me. They hit the car but cause no damage. My head is spinning with several scenarios: the entire Dan Region, Israel’s “main controls”, has probably been destroyed, and millions must be dead and injured. The center of activity has been wiped out.
I am functioning like a robot. I come up with a plan that would accompany me during the upcoming, most difficult time in my life, my family’s life and the lives of all of Israel. I realize that this is it; life as I know it is over and will never be the same. From now on, it is a battle of survival. I am overcome with grief which threatens to cling to me; but so are my determination and strength, demanding my immediate action. I decide to do whatever it takes to save my loved ones. Whatever it takes. No compromises.
At the entrance to Haifa, I notice pillars of smoke throughout the city. I do not yet know what the source of it is. I pass by the industrial area at the northern entrance to Haifa – watching cars whizzing by. I notice the deserted gas stations and businesses. I must fill up the whole tank – even though it is almost half full already. I drive into the first gas station, realizing as I do, that there is no electricity or working pumps, and that the station is effectively deserted. I pick up a few bottled water crates, leaving the money on the gas station counter, and take off to my mother’s house. The traffic lights are down, only a few cars are on the streets, and they are speeding. At the entrance to Kiryat Eliezer, I am hit by a barrage of stones: a group of youths hurling stones at the passing cars and cursing in Arabic.
One of my side windows breaks, but I jam the pedal towards my mother’s house.
I can see the building now, and some burned cars in the garage.
I evacuate my car, taking with me everything I can carry, and climb up to her apartment. I know she is home and I am praying she is well. On my way up the stairs, I run into a neighbor cursing in Arabic, but I pass him, climbing up and opening the door to the apartment. I find my mother sprawled in the living room floor, panicked and weeping.
“Mom, calm down, it’s alright.”
We exchange kisses and I get her a glass of water. In the background, terrifying explosions are heard and the entire tenement rattles. My mother is terror stricken. I calm her down and fetch another glass of water for her. She asks me what is happening. The power is out. Nighttime is creeping up. I tell her what I have seen; that the worst has happened: the Dan Region has been struck by a nuclear bomb. And I saw it. She gets light-headed.
“My sister!” she yells, petrified, “my baby sister!”
I console her, trying to ease her nerves as best as I can.
“Let’s hope everything’s fine. Why think of the worst?” I tell her, but deep down inside, I know that her sister is with her entire family in Tel Aviv – and that their chances of surviving are very slim.
I spend a while helping my mother calm down. She keeps naming everyone – Ronny, her granddaughters Lior and Inbal and my wife Noa. Outside, explosions and fusillades are heard – probably street fights. I fix us something to eat. My mother has calmed down a little, and I tell her we are not going to stay there, but are going back on the road. I tell her about the plan I devised on the way there to save and unite us. My mother says she is afraid she will not withstand the difficult journey, but I promise her she will, even if I have to carry her on my back the whole way there, to her granddaughters, from one end of the country to another. I promise her it will all work out, that we will reunite and that she should trust me.
I have managed to ease her fear a little. My mother and I embrace, cry a little together and once again I promise to take care of everything and ask her have faith in me.
Back in the Center – Danny: October 7th 2009
It is 16:25. Danny is on the phone with me while taking a break from a business meeting in an office building around Lod. We shoot the breeze and then all at once – the line goes dead and the power goes out in the office building.
Danny is flung against the wall with a loud thud. A terrible noise, like a wind tsunami, followed by a scorching heat wave, and then silence. Danny lies injured on the floor of the building, after having been tossed around severely. There is wreckage all around, and Danny is semi-conscious.
A minute or two later, Danny is back to himself, having suffered bruises, scrapes and wounds. Silence all around. He extricates himself from the glass door debris, which hit him while he was talking on the phone in the hall. The office building has 15 floors, but the meeting was held in the basement level. Danny searches for his cell phone and finds it lying somewhere near him. He glances at it and realizes there is no reception. He is not sure what is going on. Everything is dark and quiet; only the sporadic human groans of a person injured are heard. He makes his way towards the staircase, using the assistive light on his cell phone. Wreckage and debris partially block the doorway. Danny manages to escape to the front of the building.
Everything outside seems like a war scene out of the movies: As if a great tornado hit the street, sweeping away and wiping out everything. The structures are still erect, but only as skeletons. There are no windows, and many small and larger fires are burning. The bodies of the casualties and injured are strewn everywhere. Some of the buildings seem about to topple, and some have actually collapsed.
Danny is still clueless as to what has hit the area. Everything is full of smoke and dust. He looks up and sees three huge clouds of smoke to the west. The clouds have risen kilometers high, and he realizes the bitter truth: nuclear bombs have hit the Dan Region of Greater Tel Aviv. Lod is about 15 kilometers from there. It suddenly dawns on him; he must rush to his family in Rosh Ha’ayin. He has to find a way to get there.
Danny starts walking eastward in the direction of the road leading to Ben-Gurion Airport. He is extremely upset, wondering what is happening back home with his wife and kids. Everything along the way has gone askew, as in a battlefield – endless road accidents, cars going up in flames and smoke, casualties and wounded everywhere. Many people come out onto the streets, shocked, weeping, paralyzed with fear. Danny notices a bike shop. He decides to grab a bike and try to reach the main road – perhaps there he can find a vehicle or hitch a ride. The bike turns out to be the best form of transportation amidst this chaos. Every so often, he looks behind and above him. The clouds of smoke are clearly visible. The explosion has happened just a short while before. From afar, he thinks he can see a large passenger aircraft passing by and touching the smoke. The aircraft is flying close to the smoke clouds and continues south, far into the horizon.
Within fifteen minutes of cautious pedaling, he arrives at the junction leading out of Lod’s industrial area, and begins travelling towards Ben-Gurion. He has to pass under Route 1 on his way. The road is crowded with broken down cars. The entire area has the phantom appearance of one big battleground: people are stranded inside their cars, long pileups, overturned cars and buses – one big chaotic mess. Everyone is leaving work at this time. Danny travels northbound as fast as he can. His aim is to cross Route 6 and head to Rosh Ha’ayin. Biking seems to take forever. More like a ride from hell: He sees bodies that have been flung from cars, wounded and dead of all sexes and ages; utter destruction. Danny moves on, at times taking the shoulders and at times riding in the middle of the road, which is virtually blocked for motorized vehicles, looking like one big singed catastrophe of road accidents. The road clears up after the El Al Junction; less people use this route. But even here, Danny passes by broken down or overturned vehicles, wounded and lifeless bodies.
He decides not to stop until he reaches home. The journey is painful and taxing, and he is not very fit after all the years of neglecting to exercise – but his journey is fueled by forces he did not even know existed in him; perhaps the power of shock. Like a competitive athlete on a bike race, his muscles shot by the effort, Danny feels nothing – he is biking for his life.
Within two hours of leaving Lod, Danny reaches the Koach Hill Junction. From there, the way Rosh Ha’ayin is shorter. From a distance, residential Rosh Ha’ayin comes into view.
Danny’s thoughts shift from hope to despair. He thinks about everyone. The road continues, and once in a while, he looks to the west, towards the Dan Region: Petach Tikvah, Tel Aviv…A vast cloud of smoke rising above the entire Region; emanating from a fire. The Dan Region – Tel Aviv, Petach Tikvah, Rishon Letsiyon as well, and the entire vicinity – are ablaze. The fire of Inferno.
Another half an hour goes by. Danny is pedaling fast. The road is now free and mostly on an incline. From afar, he sees the entrance into the city. Rosh Ha’ayin seems to have been maimed by the barrage of explosions, followed by a near tornado. A kind of deadly silence prevails; the streets are quiet. Here and there, traumatized individuals walk around in shock. No crying, no yelling. They move silently. There is no traffic. Whatever vehicles were travelling when the bomb dropped have crashed – either alone or into other vehicles – or simply overturned in the middle of the road.
The wounded and dead are scattered in the streets.
From far away, Danny sees his house at the top of the hill, facing the view. His heart beats wildly, not for the great cycling effort, but for what he is about to find at home. He quickly approaches the gate and casts aside the bike. His wife’s car is in the driveway. The windows are shattered, and the trees slanted.
Danny opens the door and calls out loud. Suddenly, he hears his daughter’s voice yelling: “Dad! Dad! We’re here!”
The entire house seems as if a vacuum cleaner has sucked its contents into the street. Everything is messed up and destroyed, with objects having been flung across from place to place. Danny approaches the staircase leading to the laundry room and fitness room level. He can hear his wife and children yelling from below. Danny rushes down the stairs, immensely relieved to find all of them in one piece. They were busy cleaning up and doing laundry on the basement level and so were saved. A few of his daughter’s friends are there too. They have not left the house since the attack; they remained downstairs, weeping and in shock.
Down South: October 7th 2009
Lior is at home hanging out with her friends. They are surfing the Internet, laughing and having fun. Noa is at work but is about to head out. She promises Lior to take her shopping for clothes. She is clearing some last minute things on her desk and computer.
It is 16:25. The computer at home crashes. Lior doesn’t understand what is going on. Yelling is heard from the elevator; a few people are stuck in it due to the power outage. The sound of breaks screeching and a horrible collision of cars are heard below. Lior and her friends step out on the penthouse balcony with a 360 degree panoramic view to look down at the accident that has just occurred. An extraordinary sight awaits them. Three gigantic mushroom clouds are seen from the north; another one from the far ridges to the east and two more from the south. Six huge mushroom clouds in total. Down below, near the road accident, ambulance and police sirens go off.
Lior and her friends feel a strong hot wind blow in their faces. They don’t understand what is happening. They begin to cry, not realizing their lives have changed from that moment on.
Meanwhile, Noa is caught in a blackout on leaving work, and the attendance system has stopped working. She wonders what to do, asking the security guards what is going on. All the employees in her workplace have come out to the hallway. The phones lines are cut off and the cellular phones have no reception.
Shouts are heard from outside, sending everyone rushing to the exit. An incredible sight is revealed to Noa and her colleagues: Tremendous clouds of smoke from the north, east and south. Noa realizes something terrible has happened. Her colleague calls out for her and they depart for the city right away.
Some minutes later, Noa is dropped off at home and goes running in. Lior is at home with her friends; she is hysterical. Noa stands on the balcony. The smoke mushrooms are still visible, rising from the north, east and south. Noa checks the phone line but it is dead. She realizes they are disconnected. She embraces Lior, calming her and saying they must go over to her grandparents to check on them.
On an El Al Flight from New York:
October 7th 2009
It is 16:24. The passengers on the flight are tired but happy: The long journey from New York is about to come to an end. 11 hours of flying will be over in about 15 minutes. The pilot has already announced the imminent landing and the seatbelts are securely fastened. Among the passengers is a cute family with two kids; parents coming back home to Tel Aviv after a surprise holiday organized by their sons; businessmen, tourists and other types. The airplane is packed to full capacity. Tel Aviv can be seen in the distance. The plane makes a turn, making the view of Tel Aviv even clearer through the windows.
Suddenly, the plane jerks violently. People are panicking and screaming. No one knows what is going on. Through the window, the passengers see the three huge smoke mushrooms rising far away above the Dan Region. The plane loses altitude, as it hits turbulence and jerks. Shocked, the pilot and crew manage to gain control of the airplane. The crew is comprised of combat pilots and Israeli Air Force (IAF) reservists. They realize that the worst has happened: The State of Israel has been attacked by nuclear weapons.
The pilot quickly increases altitude as much as possible. A similar nuclear mushroom is seen over Jerusalem, as well as another one further south. The higher cruising altitude enables one to see Israel in its entirety. The passengers are panicked, screaming hysterically and crying.
The fuel left in the aircraft only allows for another one and a half hours flight. The pilot tries to contact the airport’s control tower, but gets no response. It is evident all has been destroyed. He turns the plane around so as to see what is happening in the Dan Region. Through the smoke and dust, the chaos that has taken over below can be seen. Three large areas of damage including Tel Aviv, Holon, Bat Yam, Rishon Letziyon, Bnei Brak and Petach Tikvah as well as everything around them has been completely destroyed.
From above, it is clear that the Dan Region has been wiped out. Everyone is panicked; from the main cabin to the passengers and flight crew, everyone is crying and lamenting – they realize their families have not survived the attack. Their loved ones have been massacred.
However, they are airborne and must pull themselves together. As he is crying bitterly, the pilot asks the crew in a broken voice to try and contact various military and civilian networks and any other emergency network. They manage to contact the IAF’s air control. The IAF controller’s account of the events is devastating, but she tries to find a solution for their safe landing. While in tears, the controller guides the pilot in the direction of the Uvdah Airport down south.
The pilot circles the Dan Region one last time and heads for Uvdah. The smoke mushroom is still hanging over the Dimona area, east of Beer Sheba. After a short flight, the airplane reaches the southern area; it looks like the city of Dimona has also suffered terminal damage. The entire nuclear plant and its surroundings have been annihilated. ‘The bomb was no doubt enormous,’ the pilot realizes.
Washington D.C.: Israeli Chief of Staff and Deputy Prime Minister
October 7th 2009:
It is 16:25. Chief of Staff Eyal Gilad and Deputy Prime Minister Benny Kadosh have been in a meeting for some times now with the U.S Secretary of State and Defense Minister, along with a large team of assistants and consultants. They are seated around a long conference table with both Israeli and U.S delegations around it. This emergency meeting was called following the Iranian nuclear experiment held the day before. There are light refreshments on the table. The urgent matters on the agenda were prepared en route, before and during the flight. They involve some critical questions: Where is this dramatic development leading to? Iran has a bomb; what do we do? How do we react – if at all?
The Secretary of State reads the agenda. As he does, a clerk enters the room and delivers a note to the Deputy Prime Minister, Chief of Staff and the head of the American delegation. All of them turn pale and whispers are heard. The Deputy Prime Minister picks up the phone next to him, asking everyone present to remain quiet as he makes a call. His face is covered in beads of sweat. No one picks up on the other side. He asks the Chief of Staff and the rest of the delegation members to try and call Israel on their private phones. Silence. No one picks up. The Deputy Prime Minister asks the ambassador to obtain any possible piece of information about what is going on in Israel. The room is astir; astounded. The Secretary of State receives a call and asks everyone to be quiet. His voice trembles as he announces that according to reports – including verified satellite reports – Israel is under nuclear attack by Iran. An unknown number of nuclear bombs have exploded in the Dan Region, Jerusalem and in the Dimona vicinity. There is a further report of a missile attack from Syria on Haifa and the north, as well as other parts of the country the nuclear explosions did not reach. The Jordanian government has been overthrown and its army has launched an artillery and missile attack on the eastern part of Israel. The Americans notify The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of Staff that the U.S will offer Israel all the necessary help in these trying hours, and that they have a situation room and a control room at their disposal until they decide what to do.
The Israeli delegation members are trying to understand what is happening, but not one piece of information can be retrieved from Israel: The means of communication to and from Israel have crashed.
The heads of the Israeli delegation settle in the situation room, trying to obtain any shred of information from classified or open sources. The TV networks – CNN, BBC, FOX and even Al-Jazeera – are reporting the events and are the only available firsthand source of information. Iran reports live, showing Ahmadinejad giving a speech about the blow Islam has landed on the Zionist entity to wipe it off the map. In a lengthy speech, he describes how Mohammed’s sword has struck the Zionist entity, the Jews and the State of Israel, which never had a right to exist according to him. In the hours’ long speech broadcasted on large screens in all Iranian cities, he announces that the State of Israel no longer exists.
In Syria, Assad is making his triumphant speech, claiming that Syria and Iran are partners in the annihilation of the Zionist entity in the Middle East.
All of the TV networks in the Arab world are reporting the destruction of the State of Israel and the extermination of the Jewish Zionist entity.
The Islamic world and the Arab world especially, appear to be in a euphoric trance: The State of Israel has been destroyed by the saber of Allah.
The Islamic world in general and the Arab world in particular have announced thirty days of celebration and prayer in gratitude to Allah.
In all of his speeches over the years, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly stated his opinion – that the Jewish Zionist entity had no right to exist and that it will not survive in the Middle East. Therefore, the world must not be surprised that the Zionist entity has indeed reached its end. At the same time, he calls the world, namely European Union and U.S, to engage in peace talks with him and forget about the past.
Bit by bit, the intelligence is assembled: The Dan Region has been wiped out of existence, including Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bnei Brak, Petach Tikvah, Bat Yam, Holon and all other towns in their vicinity. The national infrastructure has collapsed, leaving the country without communications, water or power supply. The south is partially unharmed; the north has been badly hit by Syria and Lebanon. The east is apparently under attack from Jordanian military forces; and parallel to the nuclear attack on Israel, an extremely violent coup d’etat has taken place in Jordan, orchestrated by Syria and Iran. The estimates are of about a million and a half casualties and a similar number wounded by radiation and other forms of injury.
Throughout this long and somber night, the members of the delegation are huddled in the situation room in Washington D.C. – shocked, devastated and powerless.
Leaders of the world have expressed their shock on all of the media outlets, and announced their intention to send humanitarian aid teams as soon as they are able. Concurrently, the UN Secretary-General has asked the annihilated State of Israel to practice restraint, as did the leaders of Europe and the rest of the world.
They have also issued an unprecedented statement of condemnation against Iran and Syria, stating they will consider the measures to be taken against them in the UN Security Council. Sanctions will most likely be placed on Iran, the reports conclude.
Back in Haifa – My Mother and I
October 8th 2009
We pack up supplies before taking off: Two suitcases stuffed with everything they can possibly carry – photos, documents, all of her valuables, her essential belongings, clothing, cosmetics, and water; your average kit for a long journey. I took all of the hardware and equipment I could find that would serve for survival and medical treatment, and notify my mother that we will leave at the crack of dawn. First, I have to return to the car and see if it is in order where I left it, and then I will come back for her.
The stairwell is quiet. I knock on the neighbors’ door to see how they were doing. They are old neighbors of 35 years. They are fine; by chance, their children and grandchildren are there on a visit. I tell them my mother and I are leaving. When I get downstairs, I find the car the same way I left it; untouched.
I quickly race up the stairs when I suddenly hear an “Allah Hu Akbar!” shout and an Arab neighbor jumps me from the top of the stairs, enraged, holding a knife in his hand. I move aside and he flies downstairs, falling on his face as he crashes at the bottom of the stairwell. I didn’t have to do much; he groans in pain. I leave him to rush up to my mother. As I am running up the stairs, I hear loud explosions. I don’t know where they are coming from, but I keep running up to my mother. I pick her up, take the suitcases and walk back down slowly and cautiously. I place a large kitchen knife in my belt just in case. We reach the street. My mother is slightly winded from going down the stairs. I open the car door for her and she sits down next to me. I start the car and drive off into the unknown. My mother and I look back in sadness at the house we are leaving behind; a life that will never again be the same. A whole life left behind as the car goes downhill towards Independence Boulevard and continues east.
En Route to Nahalal, to My Oldest Daughter Inbal: October 8th 2009
My mother is by my side. The first light of day appears; the darkest day in the history of Israel. Clouds of smoke hang above the entire city of Haifa. Both distant and close by sounds of small-arms firing is heard. I drive down the recently constructed Independence Boulevard highway. The road looks like a battlefield. The sun peeks over the horizon as the light slowly intensifies. Haifa – the most beautiful of all cities, this glimmering, quaint port town, to which we returned just a week ago from our cruise. Here is the entrance to the passenger ship dock, from which we joyfully disembarked as one happy family. The city of two nations, where Arabs and Jews co-habit, has turned smoky and bombarded. I am not sure where the bombs are coming from. At every corner I turn, I see Jews and Arabs fighting each other.
I catch a glimpse of my mother as we drive. She looks awful; hopeless, shocked, traumatized.
“I promise you it will be alright, I promise!”
My promise seems surrealist, absurd and bizarre amidst this city turned into battlefield. Yet I say it. My mother looks at me, exhausted.
“Alright, Yaron. I’m with you and I believe you.”
She does not sound well, though she tries. I ask her to cheer up for me; I beg her. She looks at me again. I see that old familiar spark in her eyes – the zest for life she has always kept up in any situation. I notice this spark and it encourages me. I inch my way cautiously where necessary, and accelerate when the road opens up again.
Suddenly, I see a huge explosion straight ahead to the right. It is far away but prominent. It seems like a large missile hit. The car jerks but I manage to control it. I pull over for a minute and then drive off again. We approach the Check Post area. The road has giant potholes caused by major bombs. It dawns on me that Haifa is under missile attack from somewhere. 15-16 hours following the nuclear attack on Israel, it is now under missile attack as well.
The roads are deserted as I navigate the shortest route to Nahalal, hoping to find Inbal safe and sound. I run the route in my head; through Nesher, Yagur Junction, Tivon, Ramat Yishai and through the Nahalal Junction to Nahalal. I hope we get there safely. The gas tank is just over a third full, and the distance is about thirty kilometers – a half an hour’s drive on a normal day. The gas should last a lot longer, but I must find a way to fuel up – I simply must.
I park by the side of the road and open two bottles of water – one for me and one for my mother – I let her drink and gulp down some myself.
Washington D.C.: Israeli Chief of Staff & Deputy Prime Minister – October 8th 2009
The Israeli Chief of Staff and Deputy Prime Minister have asked all the delegation members not to communicate with any sources, whether the media, UN representatives or any European country – a total cutoff – so as not to report any information that arrives or what is going on inside the situation room.
A military government in Israel is declared.
The only people authorized to communicate with the outside world are the Chief of Staff and the Deputy Prime Minister.
Just before noon on October 8th 2009, the day after the attack on Israel, a successful communication with the satellite controlling the protected security emergency system is established. It becomes evident that most of the military and civilian government office heads have been annihilated. The Prime Minister and ministers were in the midst of a government meeting at HaKiryah (government center in Tel Aviv) with a significant number of Israel Defense Force (IDF) heads, thus suffered at direct hit.
The Chief of Staff and the Deputy Prime Minister – who has become the acting Prime Minister – make an instant decision: A second “final” strike.
The word “final” is only clear to the two of them. A coded message is sent to the second strike sources in the northern and southern part of the country, and at sea: a final, full second strike on Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The process of giving the command is executed according to all the proper rules and codes, lasting exactly six minutes.
The information received makes it clear that the Egyptians are sending forces towards Sinai. Thus, Egypt is sent a clear warning: Vacate the rest of the soldiers and policemen from Sinai. No Egyptian civilian or soldier may remain in Sinai within 48 hours of this notice. Any movement by the Egyptians towards Sinai after these 48 hours pass will be considered an act of war against Israel, and Egypt will be destroyed. That is the form of the message to the Egyptians: sharp and concise.
The order has been given.
The Israeli delegation realizes there is a way to fly back to Israel by landing in Uvdah. Eilat is clear. Shortly after orders are given, all the live broadcasts from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Jordan end. All the radio stations and signs of life from that area are gone. The triumphant celebrations cease at once.
Israel has ordered a second strike on its neighboring countries some twenty hours after being attacked. And those countries are now a thing of the past.
The delegation closes shop and hurries in convoy to its awaiting airplane. In about 11 hours, they will have landed in the ruins of their country.
En Route to my Oldest Daughter Inbal in Nahalal; the First Day after the Iranian Attack: October 8th 2009
The roads west of Haifa are empty. I get out of the car for minute, looking in all directions as if to examine what lies ahead. My mind is racing; Inbal, mother, Lior and Noa, Danny and his family, Ronny and all the rest.
What should I do first? Fuel, ammunition, food? Maybe a more powerful vehicle, like a 4X4?
All the while, I stare at my mother, who is drinking water inside the car. Suddenly, a great noise is heard as a jet plane cruises low, passing above us with great speed; then another one and another one. At first, I do not recognize the type of aircrafts or their origin, but I do notice that they are not Israeli jets. These are Syrian aircraft above Haifa! I am dumbstruck. The jets are heading towards Haifa and bombing us! Paralyzed, I stand watching this terrible sight, which clearly illustrates what I can already see from all directions, and now above us in Haifa: Syrian jets bombing and missiles hitting Haifa.
Suddenly, a fierce roar of jets arrives from the east: a quad of F-16s with the IAF insignia. I stand west of the Check Post Junction, with Syrian and Israeli jets above me over Haifa. On one hand, there is added tension, but there is also a sliver of hope: Israeli jets! I stare at the sky, a live aerial battle going on just above my head. Within minutes, I have counted eight Syrian jets dropping and crashing over the Gulf of Haifa, the sea and the city – and overhead, the F-16s are hovering. Three of them return east and one remains hovering low above the city of Haifa, as if signaling there is hope.
My mother and I look up. I hold her and say:
“See, mother? There’s hope! The IAF is functioning; the army is in full force.”
We are encouraged. I get in the car and head towards Nahalal.
There are severe missile hits on the road ahead. But I manage to bypass every pothole and roadblock on the way.
The roads are vehicle free. I drive through the ghost town that is now Kiryat Tivon. No one is out on the street. Suddenly, I see a convoy of military vehicles passing through the town’s main road and heading towards me. I pull over and wave at them. The first vehicle stops, as does the rest of the convoy – about thirty vehicles. A young officer sits at the wheel, with two soldiers in the back. I stare at them: they look tired and sad. I ask them how they are.
“Hello! I’m Doron and this is Officer Roy. Yoel and Rami are sitting in the back.”
They ask me where we are heading and I tell them I am on my way to find my daughter in Nahalal. I ask them if they could tell me anything about the route I am taking. According to Roy, the prospects are not great: Arab gangs from neighboring towns are rioting on the roads, massacring, and it is very dangerous to travel.
I ask Roy if he has any established communication and if he can help me with fuel. I am relieved when Roy and his soldiers help us by putting gas in our car. They say they have an active military radio and that all of the northern and eastern IDF units are in communication. The units are all deployed for both internal and external security as best they can, and they are on their way to Haifa to restore order. The northern Arabs are taking revenge on any Jew coming their way, and the IDF and police are working to restore order as soon as possible. The Head of the Northern Command is governing northern Israel both militarily and civilly, and the country is currently governed by the IDF – at least in the northern part, where communication has been established.
He tells me further that the missiles hitting Haifa and the north are Syrian, but they have stopped the barrage in the last hours.
According to Roy’s description, Syria has been destroyed by an Israeli nuclear attack. According to his friends on the transmission radio, countless nuclear mushrooms were observed above Syria; and the IAF, which partially survived the first attack, is flying over Syria and reporting that dozens of Syrian towns have been wiped out; Damascus is non-existent, along with the rest of the Syrian cities and infrastructure. In short, Syria no longer exists. Roy tells me that he believes Lebanon has also been wiped out – this rumor has been running throughout the northern command communication system, seeing that nuclear mushrooms have been reported from all across Lebanon. Roy says that the Syrians fired towards northern Israel, but no fire has been reported in the last half an hour: Both Syria and Lebanon, which also fired missiles at northern Israel, are gone.
We have a bite to eat with Roy and his soldiers. Meanwhile, a few residents and vehicles have gathered around us; families and individuals. All of them look terrible. They ask questions; speak to each other, exchange opinions. I ask Roy to step aside with me, and I tell him about my plan: After picking up my daughter, I intend to travel south with my mother and daughter to unite with the rest of the family.
Roy says: “Look, Yaron, you must understand; Central Israel was probably entirely eliminated by the nuclear bomb.”
I told him I saw it with my very own eyes, and he went on:
“How will you cross from north to south? If you take the valley, you’ll run into rioters; the coastal road is blocked, so there’s hardly any possibility. The north and south of the country are disconnected, and the situation down south is unclear.”
He advises me to pick up my daughter as quickly as possible and find a place to stay up north until a way of reconnecting the country’s dismembered parts is found.
I thank him for his concern and tell him I am a former reserve officer determined to find my family.
In tears, Roy tells me his whole family is from Tel Aviv. I embrace him, speechless.
“Roy,” I asked, “can I get a weapon and some ammunition?”
He thinks for moment and says: “Yes, or course! Come with me.” He escorts me to the fourth vehicle in the convoy. Its trunk has dozens of M4 carbine rifles. He hands me one of them – not before testing it out by firing towards a field on the side of the road. He also gives me four crates of ammunition and dozens of magazines, as well as a night vision device, a vest, grenades and a few field rations.
My mother and I part with the soldiers. The military convoy heads for Haifa, and my mother and I continue towards Nahalal, feeling more encouraged.
My mother looks much better – I guess she realized deep down in her optimistic soul that not everything is lost; that’s my mother. I glance at her while driving down from Tivon towards Alonim Junction. Her face is a little more vibrant, and that makes me happy inside. I think to myself: ‘What a shame! My elderly mother, who has had such a long and interesting life, both happy and sad! Why on earth does she have to go through these atrocities towards the end of her life? In fact, why must we all go through this? Why?’
The Alonim Junction unfolds before us, with a few vehicles emitting smoke on the roadside. I stand on the side, looking for the source of danger that caused these vehicles to go up in flames. Who attacked them?
On the road opposite us, a few military looking vehicles approach Alonim Junction. I watch them as they near us through the binoculars Roy gave me. Suddenly, they are fired at by small arms north of the junction. A battle ensues: A few soldiers leave the vehicles and storm the shoulders; a few explosions are heard, followed by silence.
Through the binoculars, I can see the soldiers tending to one another, surveying the area and settling at the junction.
I get into the car and drive towards them. They signal me from afar to stop and identify myself. I get out of the car with my mother, yelling to them that I am Jewish.
They approach me slowly, cautiously, their weapons drawn, checking to verify I am not dangerous. A brief introduction follows; they know Roy, and only one of them has been slightly injured in the shooting.
The encounter involved about four Arab-Israeli terrorists from the villages up north, and I was told that there were many Arab-Israeli terrorist squads from the north deployed in the area, who were apparently prepared for this type of situation – to take advantage of Israel at its moment of weakness and try to wipe out the remaining Jewish population, following the Iranian and Syrian attacks.
Those Arab-Israelis must be certain that this is the end of the Jewish State. The Islamic Movement headed by their Sheikh could hardly wait for this opportunity.
My mother and I part with the soldiers and continue driving towards Nahalal.
The encounter at the junction feels like it took a minute, but it actually lasted an hour. It is already noon by now, and we are driving through Ramat Yishai. There are a few roadblocks ahead, manned by soldiers and policemen conducting inspections. They warn us that travelling is dangerous, and advise us to stop and wait – but I am determined to reach Inbal and then head south to Noa and Lior.
Everyone manning the roadblocks along the way shows concern for us and loads us with supplies – a mark of this amazing nation that shows true comradeship under duress and in good times, alike. This comradeship gives us some hope that despite the atrocity that has befallen us we might rise from the ruins by virtue of our invincible spirit.
Ten minutes later, we are at the entrance to Nahalal, heading for Inbal’s dormitory in the boarding school where she works as a youth leader. There are dozens of teenagers wandering around everywhere. Some look almost ghostly, drawn; others are crying or sitting on the lawn. We slowly pull into the dormitory’s parking lot. A group of teenagers approaches us. My mother and I get out of the car. A man and woman, probably teachers, arrive. We shake hands.
“Hello! I’m Yaron, and this is my mother, Gaia.”
They introduce themselves quietly: “Orna and Shalom; nice to meet you.”
I ask them how they are doing and they answer half-heartedly. As I tell them I am looking for Inbal and that I am her father –Inbal suddenly appears around the corner, coming down the stairs and out of the opposite building. I am moved to tears, weeping like a little boy; I rush to her and take her in my arms, pressing her tightly in my embrace, pressing and crying, then inching towards my mother while keeping my arms on Inbal; I embrace both of them and cry. All three of us are crying. I suddenly notice we are surrounded by a circle or teenagers, their teachers and a few other youth leaders; one big human circle. I, my mother and Inbal, are weeping – and the entire circle weeps with us, all of us holding each other and weeping. A painful moment.
We stand near the dormitory, green lawns all around, and rain clouds are forming above us, letting the sun peek through the mid October sky as we cry; the whole circle cries. And then the rain begins to fall. I protect my mother and we run to take cover, still holding each other and crying. Someone brings us chairs. We sit down and they serve us water. I look at the circle around us; the teens are waiting for an explanation. Their eyes are pleading, hoping I can tell them what has happened. Still locked in an embrace, Inbal, my mother and I stare at each other and then back at the youths, who are silent and slowly calming down.
I begin telling them what I have seen and been through since yesterday afternoon. Suddenly, we hear the rumble of approaching jets, flying very low. Israeli jets. From far away, the echo of gunfire resounds intermittently.
I continue my account of the events, trying to explain what happened and what should be done: They must prepare for an all round defense as well as an independent and lengthy stay outdoors.
Lunchtime arrives. We have something light to eat and take a little rest together. Inbal is very upset. My mother and she are huddled together in the corner of the boarding school’s gym, consoling each other. There are many beds laid out. Inbal takes charge of caring for her grandmother. She pulls herself together in order to help my mother and support the rest of the boarding school students.
Since I intend to hit the road as quickly as possible, I plan the route, taking care of a few essential things, like exchanging the car for an ORV– I must find an off road vehicle, either an army one or one that has been abandoned; next on the list is food and full travel gear.
I thought it would be great if we could find more partners on this journey. Perhaps, we could join an IDF convoy, if we found one. My plan was to set up the boarding school and staff for an organized daily routine that includes food, water, medical equipment, and weapons for the teaching staff and the older youth. I notice a big generator room – a reliable alternative source of power for the boarding school – it just needs a supply of diesel oil. There is also a satellite dish on the premises, so perhaps they could get satellite broadcasts from around the world, if we are able to tune the dish.
Every so often, salvos are heard in the distance. Some of the teachers have personal arms, and it is decided to organize a 24 hour watch, close the gates, put guards in place and patrol the necessary areas. I improvise a defense plan together with the teachers and youth leaders. Planning and getting organized makes them feel better and more in control.
We prepare for the night. We make dinner; eat it together, and united by a feeling of a shared fate and a will to survive, without knowing what tomorrow may bring. We hold onto each other, youths and adults, supporting the children together.
Packing for the Journey South – Two Days after the Iranian Attack:
October 9th 2009
We slept the entire night, waking up at the first light of dawn. I told Inbal and my mother that I was heading for the northern city of Migdal Ha’Emek. I was going to take one of the teachers with me and ask for the army’s help in protecting the boarding school: Maybe they will send some armed soldiers and give them a transmission radio; and I will try to find an ORV.
“Mom, Inbal; take good care of each other. I must leave.”
My mother is crying, telling me I should not leave, and that maybe we should just stay put; but she quickly pulls herself together, looks at me and says:
“Be strong, my son! We’re waiting for you.”
Lior and Noa are also waiting for me at home in the south. I kiss and hug my daughter and mother, shedding some tears, and then start the car and leave, wearing my vest and weapon, accompanied by Yoram, one of the youth leaders.
We travelled towards Route 73 to Migdal HaEmek, not knowing what lay ahead. While we were en route, an armed terrorist entered the boarding school, wounding four students and killing two others, until the youth leaders shot him. My mother and Inbal were not hurt.
On our way to Migdal HaEmek, we run into a few police and military roadblocks. They inspect us thoroughly, instructing us at the same time how to find what we are looking for – help and comradeship.
One of the officers we meet contacts his headquarters and asks them for the proper reinforcement and security needed at the Nahalal boarding school. I realize he has taken the matter seriously and will see to it personally. After about twenty minutes of conversation over the radio, I understand that a group of six solders from the rear-area headquarters is being assembled – volunteers with arms and equipment that will be sent to the boarding school to protect the students. At that point, I had no idea the school had been attacked.
At the shopping center, I head for the pharmacy. A few soldiers and civilians are hanging around there. I tell them what I am looking for and they take care of it – All Jews are responsible for one another! This feeling has accompanied me since my first encounter with the soldiers in Tivon.
With such comradeship, we stand a chance to rise from the fire that has threatened to consume us – so I think – as I shift from hope to despair; but when despair sometimes creeps into my thoughts, I bury it immediately, not giving it even the slightest chance, as I think ahead positively, overlooking the worry and pain that surrounds us all.
The officer at the last roadblock, who is very helpful, refers me to the war reserve-stores unit in the area. There seems to be some logical order amidst all the chaos, ensuring that all the necessary rescue operations properly executed; as if a guiding hand is directing us to help each other and fully trust our resources.
I drive slowly towards the war reserve-stores unit. The soldier who stopped me for identification at the gate looks sad and beat. We talk briefly. His name is Ronen; he is from Bat Yam. He is in mourning, but tries to hold onto his post, which he does not seem to want to leave. I briefly explain what I am looking for, and he sends me directly to the stores where various vehicles are kept. He tells me:
“Choose whichever vehicle you want, fill it up, take as much fuel as you need, spare tires and anything else you can think of.”
I realize that the soldier at the gate is the actual war reserve-stores unit commander. He tells me they are four soldiers from the center, who are on guard duty, and are deputizing as commanders of the unit.
I reach the area he directs me to and find a large number of military vehicles parked about. They seem abandoned; some must have been in the midst of being serviced, while others are fully serviced. The place appears as if time stood still the moment it was deserted. The selection of vehicles looks like an “all you can eat” buffet – take all you want, everything included.
Yoram remains silent the whole way through. He seems completely traumatized.
“Yoram, how are you? Can you speak?” I inquire gently.
He nods with a sad looking face, and begins to speak. He tells me he does not understand where I muster up all this energy when he is devastated, simply devastated and cannot see any shred of hope.
We speak for about fifteen minutes. I give him a pep talk and learn he has a big family Givatayim, a central city in the Dan Region. There is nothing to say in this type of situation; just carry on as best you can, repressing the pain to continue this struggle for survival in honor of those who are no longer with us. I tell him: “We must prevail, avenge and live our lives for those who are no longer with us.”
Yoram nods, and then speaks up: “I took part in all the demonstrations against the IDF and the state and in favor of Israeli-Arab’s rights in general and Arabs in the territories in particular. Now my entire ideology has blown up in my face. I feel like I’m part of the dark forces of the Arab nation that massacred this country in this attack. I fought against my brothers, and I don’t know if I can go on living with this.”
I answer by saying that we must put what has already happened behind us and work together with all our power to survive, strike back and avenge the genocide committed by our Arab enemies. Therefore, he must put aside his actions prior to the war and pull himself together, because everyone counts.
He seemed to listen to me, nodding and mumbling that he will do everything in his power to help. I immediately choose two vehicles – long ORVs with large trunks and room for eight passengers. To the side is a gas pump with dozens of 20-liter containers and diesel barrels, some opened and some sealed. I load tools and tires, fueling up the cars, revving them, checking oil, water and everything else I can think of. I use about forty small diesel barrels, a total of 800 Liters, divided between the two vehicles. We both work like crazy for about five to six hours. A large number of small generators are stacked in their original packaging in the corner. I unwrap two and start them; they work well. I shut them off and load one on each vehicle along with some of the long cables attached to them.
When everything is ready, I ask Yoram to follow me to the boarding school; if anything should happen on the way, we will meet at the school. We drive to the gate. The same guard is still manning his post. I stop near him asking if there is any new information and whether he knows of more available firearms and ammunition. Another soldier stands next to him. Ronen smiles and says: “Follow me.”
I turn around and follow him back into the base. We stop by a structure with a sign that reads: “Arsenal.” Ronen calls Yoram and I, opens the armory door and enters, as we follow suit. It is a large hall filled with all kinds of weapons. Ronen points to the firearms and says: “Choose whatever you like,” explaining to us where the ammunition is stored and how to get to it.
I choose a few more M-16s as well as a few MAG 58s and M-203s, some other weapons, cleaning tools and six radio systems with a bunch of batteries. We leave for the ammunition storage. I take a lot of magazines and bullet crates as well as grenades and antitank missiles. We load everything on the vehicles and head off. We slow down once again near Ronen and his friend. We shake hands, embracing and wishing each other luck, then drive off. I look in the mirror and see them standing and watching us move away. Yoram drives behind me.
It is almost 16:25. 48 hours since the biggest nightmare of our lives began – an unfathomable one. It seems like forever has gone by. Life is not the same anymore; everything has changed.
We pass the roadblocks of Migdal HaEmek with ease. The same soldiers and policemen man them. We wave to them. I stop at the last roadblock near the officer who took such good care of us. He tells me that the force he sent has reached the boarding school and reports an attack with casualties and injuries. I feel very anxious. I wave goodbye and speed towards Nahalal, horrified that Inbal and my mother may have been hurt.
The boarding school gate comes into view. A soldier signals for me to slow down. I slow down; driving behind me, Yoram has no idea why I have been speeding so fast. The soldier recognizes us and lets us in. I slam down on the brakes near the gym, rush inside, and to my great relief, I see my mother and Inbal, safe and sound, drinking and eating.
When they notice me, we rush to meet. While hugging, kissing and crying, they slowly tell me what has happened there; about the attack, the casualties and the injured. My mother gave first aid to the wounded, and luckily managed to save two of them. Amidst all the pain, sorrow and terrible tragedy, there is some light: She saved lives, and that makes her happy. A large number of students, leaders and teachers gather near us, all wanting to know what was going on outside.
In the evening, I organize the vehicles. Apparently there are three more Nahalal residents who are interested in joining us, since their entire family is down south and they learned of my intention to drive to the south. There is one couple aged 25 and another youngster of similar age. We meet and I tell them about my plans, which seem to be in line with theirs. Since I have brought two suitable vehicles, and all the necessary equipment, we are in good shape. The two men are reservists in elite units, and we hit it off. We joke about all the loaded equipment, saying it is enough for a full scale war. The equipment I have taken from the war reserve-stores unit includes a full emergency medical kit and large amount of field rations. Indeed, the vehicles are fully equipped and road ready.
We plan to leave early in the morning and drive towards the northeast city of Beit She’an and from there, southbound to the valley, hoping to find a detour to Be’er Sheba and Ashkelon. If we are lucky, we will run into military convoys and tag along.
Southbound – The Third Day after the Iranian Attack: October 10th 2009
We are all awake at dawn. The weather is cold and wintry. It is drizzling. We quickly pack whatever we have not yet packed and our sleeping gear, checking we have not forgotten anything, and then get into the vehicles. Some of the students and leaders are around. We exchange kisses and hugs, crying and wishing each other well.
Off we go. Everyone is inside the revved vehicles. I am in the first car with my mother and Inbal. We test the radio systems we took from the army. There are six of them with plenty of emergency batteries.
We head out, waving goodbye to the school staff. I had planned the route knowing we would run into a big problem crossing to the south. According to bits of information from the soldiers, Jerusalem has suffered a terrible blow and cannot be passed through – not to mention the entire Arab population surrounding it, which will, in itself, act as an impassable roadblock. The valley road will also be highly problematic: Jordan, on the one hand, abounds with rumors that say it has undergone a military coup followed by an extensive ground attack against Israel from the east and, on the other hand, Judea and Samaria are definitely impassable. The wiped out Dan Region is absolutely off limits, leaving the route highly unclear. But we must reach our loved ones in the south at all cost – even if we have to pay with our lives. Not doing everything in our power to reach them is out of the question; better die than live in this terrible state of uncertainty and separation. They might need our help.
We reach Migdal HaEmek. Same roadblocks – same soldiers. They have stayed put, no changing of guards. Loyal to the cause and willing to help anyone they come across. They literally serve as support, encouragement and security. The officer, who we passed by the previous day, receives us with a smile. I thank him for his help and direction. He seems a little shy, saying it was nothing; he had to help me for we are brothers! He turns to each one of the passengers in our vehicles with a smile and an embrace, and then asks me to step aside with him. I take Inbal and our two new friends with me, and he explains that from the partial information on the radio, there is an extensive enlistment of Arab-Israelis in organized terrorist groups, waiting to strike anyone on the road. They are also striking any towns on their way. According to the military information network, they were ready for this type of move, and have prepared semi-military infrastructures suitable for such a scenario, therefore we must be careful. He also briefs us that it is unclear who controls the valley route and the prairie route further south. Some sections are clearly controlled by the IDF, because they have been sending regular reports. Some of the ongoing defense brigades have been hurt, but they are functioning, and it seems there are whole areas along the valley in which movement is possible.
He also reports that he heard about an enlistment executed by the Northern Command headquarters on one of the military networks; he believes he also heard the Northern Command General on the radio. It looks like they are preparing a powerful force to break through and open the way south down to the prairie route, so as to bridge between north and south; on the Jordanian side of the border, there are also tank brigades and infantry forces. The officer at the roadblock believes the operation began at dawn, with the forces moving south and being reinforced as they do.
I ask him what he knows about the Syrian border, and he immediately replies: “Completely quiet. A large number of nuclear mushrooms have been observed in Syria, including in the last hours, as well as in Lebanon and Jordan. It seems these countries are under constant nuclear attack. Apparently, this attack has paralyzed the military forces in these areas, since they are completely silent.” He goes on briefing us, “be aware that the IDF and police forces are preparing for to attack all the Arab villages in the area, and an order has been given to deport whoever remains; but right now there are ongoing assaults by Israeli-Arabs, including in Haifa, against Jewish population. They believe that the State of Israel is done with, and that it is time to hurt Jews fearlessly.”
During the conversation, we hear loud cannons. The officer runs to the radio and listens, then comes back and reports that some Arab villages have launched Katyusha missiles at towns in the Galilee, and that the IDF is bombarding these villages from artillery batteries.
From above, the rumble of flying low jets is heard, as well as dozens of assault and other helicopters. An intense aerial activity begins.
The agreeable officer gives us another piece of information to try and cheer us up:
“There’s a rumor on the network that the Southern Command is also working to open the valley route and connect it to the prairie and from there to the coastal plain.”
We shake hands with the officer and the roadblock team and start out for Beit She’an via Afula, intending to turn south form there.
Migdal HaEmek gradually disappears behind us. We pass the Adashim Junction near Tel Adashim and take a right turn southbound towards Afula. The city appears before us with a military roadblock at its entrance. A few vehicles are being inspected as we wait in the short line. Our turn comes. An armed civilian looks at us and asks:
“Are you the group going south?”
Surprised, I say yes. He shakes my hand. I ask him how he knows and he smiles and says they got an announcement over the radio that two military vehicles with civilians are travelling south. Indeed, the officer at the Migdal HaEmek roadblock took good care of us and told all the roadblock communication networks to help us as best they could. That is how he knew about us.
We wave goodbye and continue on our way. We cross Afula slowly. Few cars are on the city streets, and only a few people are rushing about. We see clouds of smoke above certain areas of the city and hear small-arms shooting from an unknown source, at times a fusillade and at times just single shots. We come to a roadblock in the city’s southeast exit, towards Route 71, leading to Bet-She’an, passing by kibbutzim and agricultural communities. The roadblock team stops us for a brief conversation. The roadblock commander asks us if we have the communications frequency chart, and since we do not, he gives us two, saying we should look at the chart and try to communicate with the forces working along our route of advance. He notes that if we encounter hostile roadblocks along the way, we should report to the main headquarters, and he pointed to its frequency and name on the network. He also mentions the general and emergency networks, and emphasizes that we should be tuned in to it at all times.
We thank him and continue on our way. We pass HaShita Junction, near Kibbutz Beit HaShita. Along the way, we see evidence of battles that have taken place in the area. One on hand, the pastoral scenery of fish pools and agriculture is at its best – and on the other hand, clouds of smoke and terrorists’ bodies scattered around the combat zone, burnt vehicles on the road and on the shoulder, and smoke still rising from parts of the battleground.
We are all upset by the sights. Inbal and my mother are busy raising their morale and mine. We carry on our small talk amidst the chaos unfolding before our eyes along the way; a sheer apocalypse. I am in front and behind me is the second vehicle. We pass by the collective community of Sdeh Nachum. For some reason, the entire community is covered in smoke, and at a distance, a few assault helicopters are firing towards an unknown target. A war zone. Throughout the journey, we hear voices on the regional general network. Forces are heading south and the IAF is joining in the battle.
It seems there is some order in this strange military operation: Internal battles against a population fighting the remaining civilians, a combative Arab population, most likely joined by forces infiltrating from Jordan, so I understand from the radio communication system.
There are battles in the area of Mehola Junction, about 15 kilometers south of Beit-She’an. Judging from the voices on the radio, it seems like the battle is nearing its end and the junction is open. We approach it slowly while passing through the northern industrial zone of Beit-She’an. Before us is a junction crowded with military forces and masses of civilians and soldiers deployed in the area. A heliport has been established, including technical aid for helicopters. Considering the chaos, the situation seems under control. The reality of the terrible disaster that has befallen the entire country, especially the center, is amazingly contrasted with the seemingly perfect orderly behavior of whoever remained alive and functioning. It seems that inner strengths emerge out of nowhere in such situations. Soldiers stop us for inspection but immediately allow us to continue. Southbound helicopters take off from the heliport, immediately followed by another fleet of helicopters heading north. At the same time, assault and cargo helicopters come in to land. The entire area is manned by large forces preparing for what it seems is going to be a military operation.
It is already afternoon. Time is flying. We pass by another roadblock at the southern exit from Beit-She’an. We have been warned that the road ahead is really dangerous. We quickly pass by Shluchot Junction and the Tirat-Zvi and Sdeh-Eliyahu communities east of Route 90. We are on our way to Mehola Junction. Smoke is seen rising in the entire area from the ridges in the west, as tanks are seen heading west and south. We pass a dozen southbound tanks. Mehola Junction looks like a real battlefield, strewn with large numbers of bodies and burnt vehicles, but no sounds of explosions are heard. From the west, jets are seen flying south, bombarding the Samaria Mountains over and over again. In the distance, the entire back of the mountains facing us looks like one battlefield. We continue further south until we reach the Mehola area.
It is almost nightfall, and opposite us is an extensive IDF deployment. We slowly approach it. The soldier in the distance signals us to slow down. We slow down for a brief talk and continue. We park the cars near the encampment, where tanks and other IDF vehicles are deployed. Assault helicopters are also parked nearby, some taking off and others landing. The place is buzzing with activity: soldiers move from place to place, working on their gear, giving the place the look of a post-war military town. Some of the soldiers are wounded and bandaged, but nothing seems to stop them: They are busy like all the rest. Some of the soldiers are quite a lot older; which surprises me.
We get out of the vehicles and prepare ourselves for an overnight stay – a safe place for parking in the heart of a military encampment. My mother is really tired. I notice her and Inbal talking, crying and laughing on and off throughout the journey. They also made sure I ate and drank on the way.
One of the soldiers approaches us. He tells us what they have been through in the last three days and how the forces came together. He also explains the enlistment of older soldiers among all the mandatory forces. Apparently, many older fighters – aged sixty and seventy – joined the effort from northern cities and towns such as Afula and Beit-She’an, and anyone who could use a weapon was welcomed. He also talks about the organized Islamic Movement of Israeli-Arabs.
Apparently, all Arabs, with hardly any exception, have joined the forces that attacked Israeli civilians as well as IDF and other security forces. They seem to think that the end of Israel is near, so they must collaborate by joining the force they think will govern over what remains of the land once Israel ceases to exist. They believe everyone must take part in the last strike on the State of Israel; and whoever does not join and hold a weapon against the Jews, will be considered a traitor once an Arab state is established instead of Israel. Hence the sights we have seen along the way – of Arabs from the Galilee, Haifa and Judea and Samaria.
What is happening in the Gaza Strip and down south is yet unclear, but thousands of squads from the Judaea and Samaria area have left for Jordan and some of them are joining the Jordanians. All of them encountered an organized and highly violent military response by the IDF, despite the infrastructural chaos the Israeli army has suffered and the element of surprise. IDF forces managed to push back the hostile forces while causing the death of tens of thousands of Arab aggressors. The IAF is constantly attacking along the valley, as well as in the Galilee, and the artillery is hitting the Arab villages and their vicinity. However, according to the soldier’s description, which seems up to date, entire communities in Judea and Samaria as well as the Galilee have been massacred by their Arab neighbors. The number of casualties is unknown, but rumor has it that tens of thousands have been murdered.
Slowly but surely, more soldiers and civilians join our circle. I describe to them what I have been through since the attack began; apparently, I am the first eye-witness they have met. All is silent. About a hundred soldiers, and a few officers, from second lieutenants to colonels, have gathered around us. Everyone wants to hear what happened, what I have seen; I share the events that have unfolded since that Godforsaken day of October 7th 2009.
I speak clearly, and one of the soldiers asks me to raise my voice. I describe the sight of the nuclear mushrooms over the Dan Region, the journey to Haifa, the missiles, the street fights and the whole journey up to that point. Silence reigns once more. This is the first time they have heard, first-hand, and not from rumors, of the events in the Dan Region.
Night falls. It is getting darker. A fire is lit and all is quiet, but for some who are crying or yelling, while the rest remain in shock. As if everything that has taken place around them was not bad enough – fighting Israeli-Arabs, and having no power or water. It is nothing compared to what I have told them. Some ask me to tell my story once more, and I do, quietly. They ask me if I am sure, and I tell them the State of Israel has doubtlessly been attacked by nuclear bombs in the Dan Region and in Jerusalem. I am unclear as to what has happened beyond that in the south. I add that my family and I are on the way to find my other daughter and wife as well as the rest of the family down south, including my brother in Eilat. Many of the soldiers’ families are in the Dan Region, and the reality I have described to them comes as a hard blow, for despite earlier rumors, it is now evidently true: Most of us have lost at least some of our family in this terrible tragedy. I conclude by saying:
“We owe it to ourselves and to our loved ones that have perished, to continue fighting, living and taking relentless revenge that will be remembered in the history of mankind – if it continues to exist after we have been hit for the second time in seventy years. The world saw it coming, yet allowed this to happen – despite the clear signals. The world prevented us and the U.S from responding. The European Union, Russia and China have led us to this calamity with eyes wide open.”
During the night, more and more forces deploy in the area; a tremendous number of soldiers, equipment and tanks. Above us, jets and helicopters fly incessantly, while IAF technical support teams work nonstop, treating and gearing up helicopters. Supply trucks arrive from nowhere, and convoys travel all through the night.
We fall asleep. I arrange a comfortable bed for my mother, and she and Inbal are able to sleep a little.
At daybreak, we hear loud supersonic explosions, and dozens of jets come flying low above us – perhaps sixty or seventy jets loaded with bombs and heading south. From the west, a large aerial force is seen flying over Samaria. It is clear the area is being bombarded. Missile batteries launch short fusillades intermittently.
The Fourth Day after the Attack: October 11th 2009
It is five o’clock in the morning. The forces are ordered to gather in the area near the commander’s tent – a wide space located at the foot of a hill along with the tent and some training equipment outside it. The place looks like an amphitheatre set in nature. Slowly, the space fills up with thousands of soldiers. Despite their great number, silence is all around, except for the passing jets and helicopters. They gather in complete silence. Twenty minutes later, it seems that everyone in the encampment has arrived. There is a sound system on the premises, along with giant boards adorned with marked maps.
First light. It seems like the sun is about to appear between the clouds. All of a sudden, the Northern Command General exits the tent, accompanied by a few civilians. As I later understood, they were the mayors of Afula and Beit She’an, followed by a few brigadier generals and other staff officers. The General opens the assembly:
“Greetings to everyone present here. What I will be saying now is being broadcast to all the military networks in the north, and all the units of the gathered forces, from here to Metula up north, Rosh Ha’Nikra to the northwest, the City of Haifa, as well as many other military and police forces and civilian masses hooked up to the military communication system, including amplification systems for the masses in the cities.
Soldiers and civilians; four days ago, the State of Israel was hit with an unprovoked attack of Iranian nuclear weapons that consisted of six atomic bombs. Three of them fell on the Dan Region, one on Jerusalem and two on the nuclear plant in Dimona. Concurrently, Syria launched a missile attack comprising thousands of missiles, some of which were chemical and biological. All the northern cities until Netanya have been hit in this missile attack. Syria also launched a large ground offensive. Northern Israel has been hit by thousands of Katyusha and other missiles from Lebanon. From the eastern Jordanian border, Israel has suffered missile, rocket and ground attacks. In the south, Egypt has begun maneuvering large military forces into the demilitarized Sinai.
Within Israel, the Arab population has united as one body, and is leading an armed and violent guerilla civilian revolt in towns and on the roads, led by a few sheikhs and Arab-Israeli public leaders. They are fighting against entire Jewish towns and communities in the Galilee and the north. Communities in Judaea and Samaria and a large number of southern towns have also been attacked by forces in the Gaza Strip and Judaea. The Bedouins in the Negev have attacked military bases and civilian towns.
The entire political and military leadership, located in central Israel, has been killed by the nuclear attack. Among them was the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, other ministers and some of the IDF generals. The civilian and military leadership that travelled to Washington DC for an emergency meeting with the Americans on the eve of the Iranian nuclear experiment – the Deputy Prime Minister, the Chief of Staff and some of his staff team, and other staff officers – have been spared.
All of the national infrastructures, such as electricity, water, transportation and communication, have collapsed. There are millions of wounded in the Dan Region and tens of thousands of them if not more, in the missile and ground attacks by Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Arab-Israelis on the northern and southern communities, who were not hit by the nuclear bombs.
The General pauses for a moment, sipping from a glass of water before continuing:
“Despite the severe damage that has most likely taken the lives of nearly two million Israeli citizens, and wounded many more millions, the Deputy Prime Minister, who is now the Acting Prime Minister, returned with the Chief of Staff and some of the General Headquarters staff on the night between October 9th and 10th.
Since landing back in Israel, they have been running the country. Some preliminary decisions have been made by the new government. The following, is the Acting Prime Minister’s report, which is currently being published all over the world:
“‘Firstly, the day following the October 8th nuclear attack on Israel, about twenty hours after the situation was made clear to the Israeli emergency delegation flown to the U.S, headed by the Chief of Staff and the Deputy Prime Minister, now Acting Prime Minister, the latter realized the enormity of the tragedy that has befallen Israel. Having consulted with the Chief of Staff in the twenty hours following the attack, his first decision was to retaliate with a second final strike – a nuclear strike – on all the countries involved in the attack against the State of Israel: Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan – in order to silence them once and for all. These countries were struck by dozens of nuclear and hydrogen bombs, and have effectively been wiped out.
An emergency military rule has been declared in Israel.
A temporary order has been issued, forbidding any type of media communication within the country. It is absolutely forbidden for any media personnel of any kind or any local or international media outlet to operate in Israel and from Israel. Anyone who violates this order will be faced with a military trial for treason and aiding the enemy in time of war, and bear immediate consequences for his actions.
The State of Israel regards the Western countries, primarily the European Union, including Russia and China, as partners in the attack against Israel.
The State of Israel sees the international media, which created public opinion opposing an attack against Iran and their nuclear plan, as part of the forces of evil that have led Israel to its current state. The international media has worked tirelessly along with the European Union, Russia and China to stop Israel and the U.S from attacking Iran as a pre-emptive measure, using direct and indirect threats that have weakened Israel and its biggest ally, the United States.
The Acting Prime Minister has instructed the Chief of Staff and the IDF to re-establish ground connection between north and south, using all the military means at their disposal. Anything obstructing these forces will be indiscriminately destroyed. This ground connection must be established as quickly as possible via the valley and the prairie. The Dan Region is impassable and will probably remain so for some time. The Acting Prime Minister has ordered an immediate general mobilization. Any current or past reserve fighter will join the forces working to hit and destroy anyone threatening Israel. Large military forces have gathered in the south, moving towards the valley along the prairie towards Beit She’an and in the north and are working to open a route to forces from the south. The goal is to open a secured route of movement from south to north, and from it extends a lateral route towards the coastal plain.
The State of Israel has decided to extend its borders by more than fifty kilometers beyond its current borders. The new border map will soon be published. The State of Israel calls upon all residents of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, who live in towns within the said range, to evacuate by November 1st. Any movement in these towns after this date shall be considered hostile and will be subject to a crushing military response.
The State of Israel will annex these territories vacated of population, and starting November 1st 2009, they shall be under Israeli sovereignty, as to be shown in the new maps.
An order is now given for all Israeli-Arabs to vacate Israel by November 1st 2009. Anyone who does not vacate Israel’s territory as well as the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, shall be held responsible for his own death. The State of Israel shall deem any Arab under Israeli sovereignty, including the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, with no exceptions, as enemies threatening the existence of the state.
The above said territories, including ones under Israeli sovereignty, shall be free of Arab population, including all Muslims, Bedouins, but with the exception of the Druze and Adyghe.
Furthermore, a “take no captives” policy has been announced, starting November 1st 2009. Up to this date, anyone looking to vacate the country shall be spared. No one will be spared after this date. In addition, all military and civilian forces operating in the field must work to communicate this message immediately to all the Muslim population in Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and the all Arab residents of the country.
The State of Israel hereby informs Egypt of the complete annexation of the entire Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal. The Egyptians must clear out all its population including the Bedouins, from the Sinai area by November 1st 2009. Any human movement into Sinai from Egypt shall be deemed as a declaration of war against the State of Israel. Any human movement after the said date shall be considered as hostile warfare against Israel, to be responded to as such. The Egyptians must leave all the existing infrastructures in Sinai as is, taking nothing with them. Only vehicles carrying people will be allowed out of Sinai on their way east across the Suez Canal.
The State of Israel has requested the United States’ aid in sending aircraft carriers to Israel’s shores around the Haifa and Ashdod ports, to service IAF jets and help with incoming logistics. The State of Israel has requested humanitarian aid from all the countries of the world.
We are also announcing the existence of a large reserve of nuclear and hydrogen bombs, which can destroy the entire Middle East many times over. Israel will not hesitate to use them, as necessary, should it be under even the slightest threat. Any movement considered to be potentially hostile will be met with a barrage of nuclear bombs of all kinds, at Israel’s discretion. Not a hair on any Jewish Israeli head shall be touched anywhere around the world, without severe nuclear revenge.
Should Israel fail to survive the current Iranian and Arab attack, nothing of the world shall remain as it is: a nuclear winter will strike the entire world, and humanity will suffer a blow of the likes of which has not been known even during the Ice Ages.
All we have aspired to and wished for is to live peacefully and securely – us, our sons and our offspring for many generations to come.
Twice the world has struck us and our families in the last seventy years. No more!”
The General concludes reading the announcement, sips some more water and continues:
“Battle orders have been given to all forces in the field; all forces shall begin operating from now, nonstop, until all missions are accomplished. Good luck!
It is 07:45 in the morning. The General has returned to his tent as the soldiers rush to their equipment. A half an hour later, a massive movement of ground and aerial forces going south begins in coordination with the southern forces moving northwards to meet the northern command forces.
We are on our way, travelling behind the army. Rows and rows of military vehicles are going south. Some are travelling up hill, while others pass the Jordan River, spreading out in lines into what was Jordan until this morning. The traffic south is meant to create an eastern longitudinal route to connect the severely battered sections of the State of Israel.
The forces are moving fast. There is some resistance from terrorists with light arms, who are quickly trampled by the heavy forces the IDF applies. The IAF oversees the forces from above with assault helicopters.
The forces advance at surprising speed, hardly experiencing any resistance. Patrol forces speed by as they receive the helicopters’ reports. Amazingly, the road is almost entirely clear – aside from meager small arms fire, mainly taken care of by the assault helicopters, which take out the sources of the gunfire almost immediately. It seems that Route 90, the valley road, will soon be freed and opened.
We follow the forces at twenty five kilometers per hour. At this rate, we should reach the northern part of the Dead Sea, near Jericho, within five to seven hours – depending on the delays awaiting us ahead. They seem to be very few. The force applied along the route is very powerful; no obstacle standing in its way can create a problem – neither on the eastern side of the Jordan River nor on the west. About an hour later, a few enormous nuclear mushrooms are seen in the distance as the forces advance from the east. The army has left strongholds at major points along the route.
We stop over for a rest with our two vehicles, allowing the forces to forge ahead. We decide to continue a few hours later, once the road is opened and secured. My mother is very tired. I spread out a mattress for her and ask her to rest. I prepare us something hot to drink and we all sit in a circle, quietly listening in to the communication system.
About two hours later, cheerful voices are heard on the radio: The Northern Command forces have met up with those from the south. The road was opened within six hours only, since there has been very little resistance. Even the eastern bank of the Jordan River, down to the eastern foothills, was conquered and is secured by IDF forces.
We continue driving until we reach the Adam Junction, and go on about another four kilometers, coming to a stop near a large military stronghold. We decide to remain there until the morning, to make sure the road is secured and fit for safe passage.
The soldiers approach us, asking if we need any help; they tell us there is a doctor on site in case anyone needs to be examined or treated, and if so, we can go directly to the clinic they have established – a small field hospital.
We thank them and tell them we are planning to stay there until the morning, when we would head off south again.
At dusk, we witness an amazing sight: A long human convoy on foot and in vehicles heads eastwards down Route 57, from the center of Samaria, Shechem and its vicinity atop the mountain and from Tul Karm on the west side of the mountain. At first, it is unclear who makes up the convoy; but looking through binoculars, it gradually becomes clear that it is an endless convoy of Arabs – probably residents of Samaria – making their way towards Jordan. The size of the convoy is beyond belief: A tremendous amount of people, I believe hundreds of thousands are descending the mountain, followed by IAF helicopters. The convoy is about four or five kilometers north of us. IDF forces clear an route for them, enabling them to exit the country through the bridge over the Jordan River. It is an altered reality, an apocalypse.
A nuclear war, millions of casualties, terror and guerilla warfare and endless lines of refugees. The convoy seems to have stopped for the night.
We also call it a night.
Refugee Convoys – the Fifth to the Eight Day after the Attack
We are all awake by first light, drinking our morning coffee and eating a tasty light breakfast prepared for us by the soldiers. All the while, we listen to the communication radio reporting the battles and the movement of forces in different areas, and the routes being opened. Jets and helicopters are flying above us at all times.
To the north, opposite us, the enormous human convoy keeps increasing, as it crosses Adam Junction towards the Adam Crossing on Adam Bridge over the Jordan River. From the Samarian Mountains, the endless refugee convoy moves east towards the horizon, east of the Jordan, heading east into Jordan. The convoy of hundreds of thousands is escorted from both north and south by IDF forces, helicopters and jets hovering above.
We are about to get on the road, when the soldiers stop us and ask us to remain there for another two or three days. They explain that just like the convoy opposite us, there are more refugee convoys from Judea, Jerusalem and Hebron – the entire mountain area. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are quickly making their way east into Jordan. These convoys are creating a cutoff in the valley – prairie route. They believe it will take another two to three days until the refugee convoys are over.
We unloaded our vehicles and prepared for a two to three day stay. We spend the whole day watching the convoy move from west to east. You cannot see where it begins or where it ends, as it moves towards the horizon and well into Jordan. The entire day is spent resting, listening to the communication radio and observing the convoy. Toward dusk on the third day, the convoy dwindles, until it finally ends. From afar, we see the last people on the convoy ascending the Jordanian mountains and disappearing into the horizon.
All of Judea and Samaria was now clear of Arabs.
The radio reports that all the Arabs from the north have wandered in convoys into Lebanon; the Arabs in Gaza have crossed over into Egypt, and were now crossing Sinai and the Suez Canal into Egypt. The entire demolished, beaten State of Israel, with its million casualties, is apparently being cleared of Arabs.
In their attempt to wipe out the State of Israel, the Arabs have become homeless refugees throughout the Middle East.
Israel will no longer tolerate any threat or hint of one calling for its destruction. Any such move will be answered with an unflinching decisive blow.
The Journey Southwest – The Ninth Day after the Attack
First light. We are all awake. Inbal is serving her grandmother some tea and I am fixing a light breakfast. The scenery around us is magnificent, in complete contradiction to our emotions; the internal tragedy within each and every one of us; the suffering reflected everywhere around us, mixed with breathtaking views and stunning sunrises.
The soldiers approach us. We are in our vehicles, ready to depart. We test the communication system: Everything works. We slowly begin heading south; watchful; anticipating. The road is free, no interruptions, as all roadblocks and burnt vehicles have been pushed aside. Jets circle above, near and far, from the west and the depth of Jordan in the east.
We plan to travel along Route 90 about a hundred kilometers up to the Zohar Junction, then to Arad, continuing west until we reach Route 40. The ride is smooth. The sun has not risen yet, its rays slowly intensifying beyond the Jordan Mountains. We are travelling between sixty and seventy kilometers per hour. At this rate, we shall reach the Jericho Junction within a half an hour. After 15 minutes, Jericho appears in the distance. We have made it through two more roadblocks. There is very little military traffic on the road. Every few kilometers along the road, there are tanks and armored personnel carriers next to a roadblock. We pass by all of them, waving and moving on. No delays.
We pass Jericho to the east on Route 90. Aside from a few wandering animals and small military forces, there is not a living soul in Jericho. A Ghost town. We move on south.
A few vehicles are parked on the shoulder, slightly south of the Jericho Junction. We slow down and are signaled to stop. “Hello! Hello!” An embrace; a welcome. We make short introductions and find out they are also on their way south, to Ashkelon. Six vehicles.
We decide to join them and travel together. The people joining us on the journey come from a few towns in the valley. They tell us about the terrors they have experienced: They were severely assaulted by large groups of terrorists shortly after the nuclear attack. Only after the IDF opened the route and cleared the terrorist forces, could some of them get organized and leave for the road in the morning.
We are glad they have joined us. Indeed, they have received help and supplies from the army, but we have a lot to offer them – diesel and other provisions we are carrying with us. We are happy to share them.
We are now a convoy of eight vehicles and 29 people – men, women and children. I am leading the convoy. I get on the road after another half an hour of talking and getting organized. I decide we should not travel more than seventy kilometers per hour, and I am able to maintain that speed. A few delays on the way; many roadblocks, but brief exchanges let us through all of them. Along the road, the battles that have been fought are evident: Burnt vehicles, bodies that have not been removed. On the other side, two breathtaking views: The magnificent Dead Sea in the east, to the left of us, and the Judah and Benjamin Mountains to the west. A straight five hour journey, about twenty roadblocks, each slightly delaying us – and we make it to the Dead Sea hotel resort. Some of the hotels have been bombed, others appear to have been burned, and some have been hit by bullets. All are clear signs of grueling battles. The entire area is swarming with military forces deployed throughout the hotel area, which has turned into a huge military encampment, including heliports with helicopters constantly landing and taking off. We pass by the encampment and stop on a flat, asphalt ground overlooking the Dead Sea near the Zohar Junction, leading to the town of Arad.
We call it a day. We will spend the evening and nights here, surrounded by military forces, and ask the soldiers around for information on how to safely reach Route 40 tomorrow morning. From there, we will split up: Some of us are going to travel south to Beer Sheba, while others will continue to Ashkelon. But in the meantime, we are here, preparing to spend the night.
We pass a restless night in the area: Jets and helicopters are in constant movement eastbound; many forces arriving in the area, while others head north and south. The passing soldiers always wave to us. We mark out our territory so as not to be run over by accident. We also take turns doing guard duty. Throughout the night, our bonfire burns, keeping the coffee and tea pots hot. If anyone cannot sleep, they get up, drink something, chat a bit and go back to sleep. A long and disquiet night. Every so often, we can hear the echoes of explosions, mainly from Jordan in the east.
Heading Home – the Tenth Day after the Attack
Early in the morning, still sleepy, everyone slowly wakes up. Total darkness. The sun has not yet risen, but everyone is going for their first coffee of the day. The entire area is buzzing with the sounds of war. Vehicles come and go south, north and west, in the air and even in the Dead Sea.
My mother is ready for the journey. Despite her age, she seems to have revived. Her optimistic spirit prevails – I guess a person’s character always wins – no matter how hard you get hit – you can never escape who you are. An optimist remains an optimistic, and a pessimist – pessimistic.
We talk about the remainder of the journey. It is not supposed to be problematic, since some days have passed, and out of the chaos and inferno that swept over the country, the IDF has regenerated us Phoenix-like. Every soldier or convoy passing by, every jet, evokes a sense of hope.
Deep inside, there is repressed desperation. There is the understanding that the reality of it is shocking, and the tragedy, unbearable. Thus, the way to handle it at the moment is by repression: By not thinking what happened there in the Dan Region or in Jerusalem or in Dimona. We are all focused on one thing – to reach home and reunite with our loved ones; to try and restore what is left. Right now, it is unclear how we will cope with such a catastrophe; how the country will survive and handle the pain, the loss, the tragedy of a terrible genocide that has befallen the country and our nation, including those who have survived the assault by Arab-Israelis.
At the moment, the country seems to be clearing out its Arab residents. But it remains to be seen whether or not we shall encounter any assaults or battles along the way.
We stand and talk to each other. The sunrise over the Jordanian mountains has begun. The first light of day peeks beyond the mountains. It is a little cloudy and chilly. The view is magnificent, as if the country has forgotten to mourn the loss of its people. The pain is felt by everyone, but the sun is shining, life goes on, and we are on our way once more, heading west and up the road to Arad.
The convoy slowly forms again. We are all en route once more. The road to Arad is uninhabited. Every so often, we run into armored vehicles, light military vehicles and a few civilian cars heading in the opposite direction. It takes an hour to reach Arad; just enough time for the sunrise to turn into morning.
We approach Arad, when suddenly, Inbal screams: “Dad!” Her voice sounds like a cry. I look at her; she is pointing at Arad. There is very little traffic, but many military vehicles. It looks like a tornado has hit the town. Not one single window remains unbroken. Cars are stranded on the streets at odd angles, just like in an action movie. And worst of all – rows and rows of wrapped bodies are lined up along the side of the road. The road crosses the outskirts of Arad, converging with some of its neighborhoods. It seems that the bodies are intentionally placed outside the inhabited area. The sight is devastating. We are all crying, as the convoy speeds up. Countless bodies. Sheer horror. It is hard to tell how long these bodies have been gathered here, but they seem to be of all genders and ages. Arad seems like it has been hit by a thunderbolt.
Shocked, mourning and aching, we continue on our journey. At the exit from Arad and along the way, there are many Bedouin settlements – encampments, shacks and houses – even quite close to the road. The entire area is scattered with remnants of Bedouin structures, as if the thunderbolt has wiped them out. Masses of human and animal corpses are seen close by and further away. The road must have been busy with traffic, since there are many turned over cars and bodies strewn all over it. It is evident that military forces came through here, judging by the mostly cleared road, and damaged vehicles which have been removed to the side.
We carry on, weeping and overwhelmed. Behind us are military vehicles and opposite us are more, including civilians cars. We decide not to stop. After consulting over the communication radio, we forge ahead as fast as possible.
Route 31 heading west summons the worst we have yet seen. This terrifying road depicts the disaster in all its horror. We pass by the Bedouin local council of Kuseife. From afar, it looks like it has been pulverized by fire. The entire area is destroyed. The further west we go, the more lively the road becomes; evidence that the fire did not reach there. At the Shoket Junction, things seem back to normal with hardly any damage despite the strong wind.
We are travelling faster now. The Shoket Junction is behind us, and the Bedouin settlements on the sides of the road are vacant. Every so often, we catch a glimpse of some overturned, burnt out cars. We descend the mountain towards the Lehavim Junction. A beautiful green forest is seen on both sides of the slope. The town of Lehavim down the road to the left is charming. Its red roofs appear before us, showing no harm done to the town’s houses or streets. Here and there, we can see evidence of small arms fights and damaged vehicles along the side of the road. I count a few of them up to the junction. Later I learn that attackers from the city of Rahat took to the roads in the area, assaulting every moving vehicle, until they were overpowered by the army. There were no roadblocks on Route 31 except for the Shoket Junction. I count only two military roadblocks. They inspect us, then embrace and encourage us – and we move on.
We stop over on the shoulder of the road before the Lehavim Junction. We drink, use the toilet and talk briefly. Everyone is in a bad state of mind. The journey through Arad has made us all depressed. We do not know what to expect back home. Some of us are traveling north on Route 40 towards Ashkelon, and others are going to Beer Sheba. It is approximately 12:00 noon. We lovingly part with one another, then climb into the vehicles and head on. The journey on Route 40 runs through many roadblocks and deployed military forces. The entire road speaks of the battles it has suffered. Now, all is quiet. Crowds of civilians gather on the roadside, some organized and some scattered. A mass of them is moving in this direction, probably from the center of the country. Rows and rows of refugees. We drive slowly. Above us, there are fighter jets and many helicopters. For the first time, I recognize foreign, U.S helicopters: Cargo helicopters flying in from the west, landing and then leaving westbound again. ‘They look like humanitarian aid cargos in apocalyptic flicks,’ I wonder; ‘but it is an apocalypse; the dead, the refugees, the aid. It is all becoming clear now.’
The road to Ashkelon is straight out of a movie scene: Jets, helicopters, a mass of refugees, encampments. As we slowly drive by, I look into the masses’ eyes, both marching and resting: They are lifeless, fatigued; they belong to a battered, broken people.
It is 17:00. We enter the northern entrance into Ashkelon. The city is somewhat alive: Cars on the streets, a large military presence, and people walking about. The city is flooded with refugees; thousands, maybe tens of thousands, or even more- it is hard to tell. From far away, I see my house is still standing. I slowly drive towards it and park close by. My mother is crying, Inbal is crying and I am crying too. What should we expect? What shall we find? The terrible anxiety that was suppressed the whole way dawns on us all at once. There are crowds of people around the house, in the yard and on the street. I start calling out Noa and Lior’s names. Inbal joins me. We approach the house.
Suddenly, I hear a loud yell coming from among the crowds in the yard: “Dad! Dad! Inbal! Grandma! Mom! Dad! Inbal! Grandma!”
We rush towards each other, meeting, embracing and kissing, collapsing onto each other’s arms in utter exhaustion, as if the whole world is spinning in some horrific dance. We are happy; as happy as is humanly possible. Around us, the crowds look on. The heavens are partly clear and partly cloudy. We shout, cry, embrace and kiss: We are reunited.