Syria threat: Panic and lack thereof
I keep reading articles in places like the U.K’s Telegraph that there is some sort of full-on panic here with desperate people trying to get gas masks (especially after a street rumour went around that Syria was going to hit us with chemical weapons today or tomorrow). Let’s set the record straight. There is no mass panic happening here. This is what is happening here:
There was a rush Wednesday and yesterday for gas masks in Haifa. Despite the more than two-year campaign to get people to collect their gas masks, folks up north (in the area most likely to need them) have been, until now, the least likely to get them. On Tuesday, less than 30% of folks up north had gas masks –the gas mask saturation in Tel Aviv was 78% (before the crisis) by comparison but probably because of the relative ease of collecting your mask if you live there and it is a pain in the a** to get to a collection point in most other places, especially if you work (for those who don’t have them and think you want them, all of the distribution points will be open for extended hours on Sunday from 10-7). On Wednesday and Thursday, folks up north decided that hey, maybe it would be a good idea (especially after the rumour began to circulate)…then they are surprised and pissed off that they have to wait hours in a line to get them. Duh.
Here, where I live, there is no panic. In fact, I sat outside the gas mask distribution point in my area on a bench yesterday to take a break from the heat and eat my plum and there was not only no queue but not a single person went in to get one in the half hour I sat there. I don’t personally know anyone who didn’t already have one who went to get one this week and the majority of non-olim (e.g. native born) people I know don’t have one for themselves or their kids. I got mine last spring (I’m the only person in the building who has one). That said, I have no idea where it is in the apartment. It was in the cabinet under the kitchen sink until a cat got in there and peed on the case. I put it somewhere cat safe but not memory safe. I’m not fussed enough to try to hunt it down at the moment. If the sirens sound, I’ll take a look for it. Maybe.
We are taking precautions and are on a low level ‘alert.’ They moved an iron dome battery to protect the Tel Aviv (and by extension my) area. We know, of course, that Hezbollah has something like a stash of 70,000 rockets of varying intensity and if the U.S. hits Syria, Lebanon and Hamas are likely to strike at us and maybe also Syria. Iran talks but Iran is not really a threat without nukes. We also know that if Hamas, Hezbollah, and/or Syria hit us in any sort of ‘major’ attack, we will pound the living sh*t out of them. If they do that, we will be able to respond without restraint and then G-d help them. A lot of things have changed since Lebanon II.
Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and insurgents in the Sinai are not existential threats. They are mosquito bites. The only real threat is Iran getting a nuke.