'Waiting game over': Israel prepares response to unprecedented Iranian attack

 April 14, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

ISRAEL – On Friday, this writer worked on – and submitted to WND – an article headlined "The Waiting Game: What Will Iran's Response be to Damascus Attack?" Within hours, we had our answer.

Here in Israel, the news that Iran's military response had begun was a somewhat surreal experience. Attacks of this nature don't have the immediacy of thousands of people storming a border, killing indiscriminately, and taking hostages. No, there was a period of waiting as the drones and missiles traversed the distance from Iran.

The atmosphere is tense here on the streets of Israel. The Home Command, which gives citizens information about how to conduct life in threatening national situations, ordered schools to close Sunday as Israel braced itself for Tehran's response to the IDF's alleged strike on April 1 against its "consulate" in Damascus – which was, in fact, a local headquarters of the Islamic Republic Guard Corps.

Large gatherings of more than 1,000 people have been banned, although there was still a considerable protest against the current government last night in Tel Aviv.

In the early hours of Sunday, more than 9 million Israelis – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bedouin, and others – collectively held their breath as we all wondered what collection of drones and missiles would be shot our way. Several news publications had provided timelines for these various munitions: Drones are slow-moving and would take several hours to reach Israeli airspace; cruise missiles would arrive in about two hours; and most frightening of all, a ballistic missile would take perhaps a quarter-hour. This is to say nothing of reports of Tehran's development of hyper-sonic weaponry.

I had finally gotten my three-year-old son to sleep at around 10:30. At midnight, I drove the short distance to my father-in-law's apartment and brought him back to our home. He lives in an old building, built before the time when it was regulated for apartment blocks to have secure rooms. Our home office doubles as our guest room ... and also our secure room. The walls are slightly thicker than the rest of the apartment, and there are two doors to the room – one a regular wooden one, and the outer one a heavy metal door. There is also a metal plate covering the glass window.

Most of the time it's open – the need for natural light in our ground-floor apartment makes this so. However, this plate had been stuck for months. We were in London when Oct. 7 happened, and by the time we returned, although there was rocket fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza, it was much reduced. Armed with a hammer, screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench, last night seemed like an appropriate moment to get the blast plate moving again and pull it fully across the window.

I prepared the safe room: a six-pack of bottled water, candles, matches, and a makeshift den for our two dogs – made by putting a blanket over my wife's make-up table so that they could go underneath if they needed to.

Before the early hours of April 14, regional analysts had described Israel's alleged attack as a ratcheting up of the IDF's campaign against Iran and its regional proxies – which have encircled the beleaguered Jewish state. Tehran vowed vengeance, and as a response is thought to have launched at least 300 munitions against Israel. It has been reported that around 99% were downed, either by the IDF over Israeli airspace or via its allies, including U.S. and U.K. fighter jets, as well as Jordanian and Saudi Arabian defensive missiles.

Israel's Security Cabinet is already meeting to discuss an appropriate retaliation to the mullahs' provocation.

As of Friday, before the attacks, people in Israel were still out on the streets, young children attended kindergarten and students were going to school and university, the tills at the supermarkets kept ringing – not least in anticipation of the upcoming Passover festival.

Regular citizens were eating in restaurants, hanging out in bars, relaxing on the beach, playing sports, and going to the gym. It's not braggadocious behavior; Israelis are intimately aware of the challenges of their existence in an extremely unfriendly neighborhood, yet they still want to embrace life and live it to its fullest.

Despite the tension, Israelis have developed a dark sense of humor, particularly since October 7. One well-known historian and author replied on his Facebook feed to a day-old Times of Israel headline reading "U.S. said to believe Iranian attack on Israel is imminent: Matter of when, not if," with the following droll observation: "This isn't helpful. We need more precise information. Do we cook for Shabbat or do we not cook for Shabbat?"

So, what comes next? The rhetoric is flying around from all sides. One Israeli official is claimed to have said "Now it's Iran's turn to lose sleep." U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly told Israel's beleaguered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his administration would not support a counterattack directly on Iran.

For all the bellicose talk, Israel needs to be careful. Reports emerged over the weekend that its intelligence services miscalculated the likely Iranian response to the killing of IRGC Brig-Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

Amid the focus on Iran, tensions in Judea and Samaria are reaching a boiling point, following the murder of a 14-year-old Jewish shepherd and the response from settlers that it provoked, including the murder of a Palestinian in reprisal.

Oh ... and Hamas rejected another ceasefire deal.

All in a day in the life of Israel.

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