Bob Witkow, President of Westwood Marketing and husband of Denver JNF Campaign Executive, Roberta Witkow has spent the last few days in Israel on business.
He arrived on the second day of this most recent crisis. Below are reflections of his unique experience:
Friday, November 16th
I had an incredible learning experience today; hearing an air raid siren and being rushed into in my friends’ shelter room in their home in Moshav Lachish near Kiryat Gat. I suspect it is something few if any of my friends in the U.S. have ever experienced, and I hope they never have to. It was not the drop, cover and roll exercise we had as kids. It was the real deal. Boom, boom 6 km away. Israel deserves much better. Please support Israel any way you can during these difficult times.
Saturday night, November 17th
Update from Israel:
First, I am fine. Thank you all for your kind wishes.
We had a quiet night here in Tel Aviv - no warning sirens and business as usual after Shabbat, meaning the cafe's were packed and people were living life to the fullest.
There continues to be action South of here and I've seen a few more troops headed that direction.
Israel continues to exercise incredible restraint, targeting only Hamas leaders, weapons storage, rocket launching sites and the like, and especially avoiding civilian areas.
Hamas on the other hand continues its indiscriminate rocket fire.
We've seen Hamas propagandists showing photos of injured children that were actually taken in Syria, and even one of an injured Israeli child it claimed to be an Arab.
I know my friends and I recently made contributions to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. I'm making a contribution this week to the Magen David Amon, Israel's equivalent. I hope you will too.
Monday, November 19th
Monday Morning Forecast and Update from Israel:
25 degrees C, Partly Cloudy, More Hamas Rockets fired from the South.
While life in Tel Aviv goes on with a few rocket interceptions, those 30 miles south continue to be the recipients of a much heavier form of Hamas' indiscriminate rocket barrage. Closer to Gaza, it is worse.
I met an old friend Yoav for dinner and in his car broke down telling him I could not as a parent comprehend how a parent in Israel could deal with these situations. Meaning, everything is normal and then in 30 seconds the world turns upside down. The stress, especially for parents, sons and daughters is unlike anything you can imagine. I then composed myself and we had a great dinner catching up on business and old times.
In the South in the city of Sderot, JNF constructed an indoor secure playground that is unnecessary in any other part of the world, and used to capacity this week. It is providing a place for children to play and adults to congregate in safety. Can you imagine such a place, a rocket-and bomb proof playground in your neighborhood; Highlands Ranch, Greenwood Village, Westchester, Ridgewood, Westlake Village, Beverly Hills? I'm guessing not.
I mentioned yesterday the AFMDA, and today JNF. Both are having their resources strained by the current situation, while many of our wallets are strained by an overabundance of Lincoln's and Benjamins.
Monday Evening, November 19th
Brief update from Israel - Monday Night in Tel Aviv:
I just returned to the hotel after having dinner with two business partners, Gal Salomon, and Amir Aharonovich. Business here is robust in spite of the Hamas attacks and I plan on returning soon.
I spent most of the day in Haifa, Netanya and Herzilya, all north of Tel Aviv and out of rocket range. Today is the first day I've not had to take cover. The night is young so I will not be surprised to wake up to sirens.
Word from the south is not good. Today, Hamas continued its rocket barrage on Ashdod, Ashkelon and Be'er Sheba. The hotel concierge told me that two rockets hit a kindergarten - unoccupied thankfully because schools in southern region of the country are closed.
I just saw that Israel targeted and hit 4 more Hamas leaders. Isn't it a telling statement that Israel seeks out military targets while Hamas shoots at kids. Sorry, not telling, it is sick.
Please share my posts with your friends and let them know the truth. Please donate to JNF, AFMDA, or any other charity helping Israel.
I am leaving for Ben Gurion in 4 hours and getting ready for the hugs of a lifetime from Roberta and Sara.
To my friends and business partners in Israel, L'hitraot
(for my non Hebrew conversant friends, L’hitraot expresses much more than goodbye. It literally means: “till we see each other again” and embodies the desire to never part permanently. )