The Gulf War from Tel Aviv


Gulf War operations in Tel Aviv,

This Scud's for you
The Gulf War From Tel Aviv
Sheryl Robinson
0 kay, 1 should have known better. It had been almost 10 years since the last war, and Israel goes to war about every 10 years. Somehow I did not believe the rules applied to me. Even the first night, awakened by sirens, my principal emotion was surprise. dislocated my shoulder and, when everyone had been told to prepare sealed rooms I was unable to comply. Furthermore, because I was working long, odd hours, I had been unable to find anyone to help me.
A sealed room is prepared by taping plastic-garbage bags, in my case-over the windows with masking tape and covering the vents the same way. We also were told to put drinking water and food in the sealed room and to prepare a pail of water mixed with bleach. When the siren went off, we were to don our gas masks, tape up the door, and put wet towels soaked in bleach underneath the door to keep out the gas. Then we were to listen to the radio and wait for instructions.
The Persian Gulf war began the night of 17 January 1991. Tel Aviv Bureau of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service had just switched to around-theclock operations, and my shift ended at midnight. I was excited and I finally went to bed at 1:30 a.m. At 2:30 a.m., the phone rang, and a contact at the US Embassy told me the war had begun. I spent the rest of the night talking to a friend on the phone, listening to the BBC, and hoping the sounds in the night were not incoming missiles.
A neighbor had invited me to come over, if worse came to worse. When I heard the siren, I jumped out of bed and grabbed my gas mask, a flashlight, and my shoes. 1 ran out the door; my neighbor was already at her door, wearing her gas mask, and gesturing to me to come in. I ran inside, clutching my bundle, and we went into her sealed room. I immediately donned my gas mask, and we sealed the door with masking tape, put towels under the door, and sat down-trying not to look at each other's faces made unfamiliar by the black plastic masks. We were both breathing nervously and as deeply as the masks' filters allowed.
At dawn, 1 called my parents and told them not to worry. "If the Iraqis had any missiles," I said, "they would have used them last night." My father laughed, and he said he thought I was right. I was glad that one resident of the planet agreed with my reasoning.
After three hours of sleep, I went to work at noon for my 12-hour shift. It was an exciting shift, enlivened further by an item from London announcing that the Iraqi ambassador to Belgium was threatening vague reprisals for the war and saying, incidentally, that Iraq would bomb Israel with chemical missiles whenever the urge struck. I calmed myself with the thought that Iraqi threats against Israel had become so common that Nicosia was now filing them at routine precedence.
After a few minutes, we heard the missiles hit. I counted four or five explosions that night. As we sat and shivered, my neighbor told me she was not going to put up with this sort of thing any more. (Indeed, she left the next day, and she did not come back.)
The First Attack
1 went home exhausted at midnight. I went to bed at 1:00 a.m., but I was awakened by sirens just before 2:00 a.m. I knew what the sirens meant. I had recently We tuned in to the BBC, which was running a program on Broadway musicals. On the hour, the BBC finally announced that there had been a missile attack



Posted: May 08, 2007 08:48 AM
Last Updated: Aug 04, 2011 08:33 AM