What Happens In Israel When The Sirens Go Off

Life stories

July 11, 2014

By now you’ve probably heard about what’s going on Israel. The rockets and the deaths and the tensions so high – both sides are operating are using their best offense and defense. If you know of someone who knows someone in Israel, you’ve probably heard about what happens when the sirens go off. Imagine this: you’re sitting in your cubicle, or you’re at a table chomping down on a mid-day salad, or you’re inside Forever21 trying on a crop-top. All of a sudden a siren goes off – letting you know a rocket has been fired and could hit nearby – and you have 15 seconds. 15 seconds to drop everything and run.

Ido Cohen knows this way of life all too well. He posted the picture above on Facebook yesterday and that’s when I reached out – asking if he’d tell us, my friends, his story about how to live life when you’re constantly wondering when you will have to run. 

Here is his story.

Last night my brother woke me up at 3:38 am.

I was asleep and didn’t hear the sound of the siren. My brother woke me up rapidly, I had no clue what was happening, and all I knew is that I had to run. Luckily I was at my parents’ house; usually I handle this on my own.

From the moment you hear the siren, you have 15 seconds to run for shelter. What can you do in 15 seconds?

People always ask me if I’m scared, if I can’t sleep at night or if I’m afraid that someone I know will die. I usually answer that unfortunately I’m used to it.

My first experience hearing a siren was at the age of 3 during the gulf war, I remember my yellow protection mask that I had to wear and how my parents ran and took all of us to their bed room to hide.

10 years ago, my life changed when Bus number 37 exploded in my home town. 3 kids from my school died. If it wasn’t for a school trip that was planned randomly, I would have been on that bus. Bus number 37 is the bus I take home; I finish school at 2:00PM, Bus number 37 exploded at 2:12PM.

I wanted to run from reality, but I couldn’t.

Right before I joined the army, in 2006, during the second Lebanese war, I heard the siren once again. For more than a month I was running for shelter, every day at random hours.

On July 14, the ship I was intended to serve on was shot with 3 rockets, my draft date didn’t change, once again, I couldn’t run. September came along and I was there, ready to go on the ship.

In 2008, I was walking the streets of Tel Aviv, when I heard the siren once more; I saw a rocket flying above my head. I was on an open road, no shelter around so what can you do but run.

When I hear a siren I run, I can run as fast as I can, but I can’t run from reality. I live in Israel, where life is crazy, where I strive for peace, where life is life, where I run.

Its 2014, you probably think that I’m really good at running?

I’m not .

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Hey! I’m Jen Glantz

I’m a Brooklyn-based writer and entrepreneur who turned a Craigslist ad into a viral business & a six-figure empire. I host a podcast, write newsletters, and create odd jobs. I'm here to help you live, think, and take adventures that tap into your wildest dreams and remind you that: You're not getting any younger.






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