Wednesday August 2, 2006 - Commandos and Promises
August 02, 2006Erev Tisha B’av
Our computer is downstairs on the lower level of my house. It’s cooler here and I have a window looking out to the front yard off to my right. My days and nights are all mixed up. The news is on the TV every hour and then one news program after the other till about 12AM. I go to sleep late, after watching the news. I don’t have cable TV and only watch the 3 Israeli channels. I am spared from watching CNN and others.
I sit by the computer and jump between the Israeli online news and read the headlines as they tickertape across the screen.
Last night I was asleep when Benay, my wife, came to bed at 3 AM. She is busy organizing addresses for our daughter Lianna’s wedding invitations. The wedding is at the end of August. The war will be over by then. That’s what I promise her.
I’ve made a lot of promises this war.
I promised my 17 year old daughter that our house will never be hit by a rocket. I explain to her that we are just south and out of range of the katyushas. And as to the longer range rockets, the types that hit the Gilboa and near Jenin today…well those just fly over our heads. So you see, Eliraz, our house will never be hit. She is not convinced and runs to the shelter during every siren. (Listen to the Sirens)
It’s 9:30 PM and the ½ hour news bulletin informs me that a few soldiers were just wounded up north. No names. No details. So I sit and wait, like so many other Israelis, wait till the next news bulletin. And then the next…and next.
As I mentioned Benay comes to bed at 3:00 AM and wakes me to tell me she thinks we are conducting a commando raid in Ba’al Beq, northeast Lebanon.
Ba’al Beq is a Hizbollah capital, a major staging area. It’s 80 kilometers north of the border. Our commandos are flown in and supported by helicopters. So that is why we saw all those helicopters flying past our window a few hours ago.
And now I can’t sleep. I start to worry about our soldiers. I personally don’t know anyone’s son who is in a commando unit. It doesn’t matter. I lie in bed, go to the computer, read the ticker tape news, back to bed, can’t sleep, up and down between the computer, bed and the TV. And then at 5:43 the radio announcer says there is a special report. And now a different announcer, a woman military correspondent, gets on and says a few words about the commando action and then adds the 6 words I have waited to hear all night “ALL our forces have returned safely”.
One announcer says to the other, “Now I can relax”. The second announcer agrees.
And now I can go to sleep. Its 6:00 AM. At 10:30 AM we hear our first siren of the day.
Benay Katz is an Israeli who made aliyah from Milwaukee, Wisconsin 31 years ago, and co-authored the book, Waiting for Peace - How Israelis Live with Terrorism with Liza Wiemer. Jeff Katz is an Israeli who made aliyah from Toronto, Canada 34 years ago. He is a licensed tour guide and a civil engineer. Jeff and Benay lives in the hilltop community of Timrat overlooking the Jezreel Valley. They have five children.
Benay and Jeff have agreed to write of their experiences during these trying times, as Benay says, "I know it's important for your constituents to know what is happening and I know your constituents support and love Israel. I'm sure many of them have family and friends here too."