The streets of Israel’s capital city were eerily quiet on Friday afternoon — not just because of the approaching Sabbath, but because of the war that has seen soldiers and reservists called to the Gaza and Lebanon borders.
Flight to Israel on El Al, Israel’s national carrier, are full, carrying families back home, and bringing Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reservists living abroad to their units. But Ben-Gurion International Airport is empty; there was only one border official staffing the “foreign passports” booth when this author arrived, since few international travelers are visiting. (The border official advised me to download an app to track incoming Hamas rockets, and signs pointing to the airport bomb shelter were well placed).
Many military-age men are at the front — husbands, fathers, brothers. The IDF had more reservists show up for duty than were actually called, a sign of the enthusiasm the public feels to get rid of Hamas, which has killed thousands of Israelis over the years.
Many public spaces were deserted; the government has closed public facilities that do not have adequate bomb shelters, and wants to discourage crowds, so that Hamas rockets cannot cause stampedes or higher casualties if they happen to land. (Read more from “Israel at War: Quiet Streets, Men at the Front” HERE)
Photo credit: Flickr
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