Three ways to follow along with Israel from home
July 13, 2014
The scariest part of any war is the unknown. Here are the most reliable, free digital tools and resources that you can use to follow developments from Israel, no matter where you are in the world.
- Live Blogs
I personally prefer live blog over at the Times of Israel, but the Jerusalem Post and Ynet are also reliable and free.
- Red Alert Apps
Anytime a rocket is inbound for an Israeli city, the army issues a Red Alert to warn everyone in the city to head towards their safe rooms. Depending on one's distance from Gaza, we have anywhere from 15 seconds to almost two minutes to get to safety. My home and office are both in the minute and a half range.
The Red Alert iPhone app is available in English and Hebrew.
The Red Alert Android app is available in English and Hebrew.
The Red Alert Chrome extension is currently only available in Hebrew and is somewhat less intrusive than a cell phone alert.
- Live Television
Israel's two main broadcasters both offer livestreams, which can be found here (Hebrew). Be warned that the local live coverage is occasionally graphic.
Tel Aviv-based i24 News offers free, live, streaming coverage in English. As i24 News is only a few years young, you will have to put up with a lower quality of reporting.
On a personal note, we are all doing well. We appreciate your messages, your support and your prayers. Please keep them coming.
For those who have asked, here's...
How we are staying safe
Like most homes in Israel, we have a fortified "safe room" that doubles as my home office and a spare guest bedroom. Our safe room is fully stocked with a computer, an iPad, a couch, bottled water and treats for the kids. When a rocket is inbound, loud sirens go off in the targeted city or region. As soon as the siren goes off, we pack everyone into my office, close the door and entertain the kids while we check the news. Within a minute or two, there is usually a report that Iron Dome has successfully intercepted the inbound rockets. After 10 minutes, you go back to life as usual. My kids schools and my office also have safe rooms.
The kids are doing fine. Ari (aged 6) gets annoyed when he's woken up and night, Ovadya (3) sleeps through everything and Shai (6 months) doesn't like being woken up. Though we are naturally concerned, we are safe and well protected.
Living and working in the center of the country, we have it relatively easy. Whereas we have 90 seconds to get into a safe room, residents of southern Israel have 15-30 seconds. And whereas we see a siren or two a day, they see sirens quite regularly.
People here are going about life roughly as they usually would. Many cities in southern Israel have built rocket-proof play areas for just this scenario. Those in the center and north of the country may not be spending quite as much time in large public parks where they would be far from shelters - but schools, camps and offices are generally operating with minimal interruption. Israeli have a wonderfully dark sense of humor when it comes to war. From jokes about the rockets being unable to find parking in Tel Aviv to hilarious bomb shelter selfies, we do what Jews to best - cope with it and get on with our lives. To quote a friend, The startup scene in Tel Aviv is really booming this week.
And amidst all this chaos, my big brother and sister-in-law had a beautiful baby girl. Mazal tov. May she grow up in a world that is free of this insanity.