Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Drill

At 11am yesterday the sirens sounded countrywide for a "Civil Defense" exercise. Everyone was supposed to make believe the Iranians were coming and scurry off to their nearest bomb shelter. I was expecting this to be a goldmine of blogging anecdotes, but as usual the 80%ness won through. Yesterday (Tuesday) 11am fell slap bang in the middle of my archeology class. As I've mentioned before, I'm the youngest there by probably a good 40 years. I took along my camera, expecting all sorts of fun once the sirens went off. I mean, we normally have a 30 minute break and for some it takes 15 minutes to get to the top of the auditorium and another 15 to get back down. They don't even make it to the bathroom.

You know what. We didn't even hear the sirens go off. Probably because they have the speaker's microphone turned up so loud they can hear the lecture on Jupiter. It takes 10 minutes at the beginning of every class for the lecturer to shout "can you hear me?" and for the chorus to answer "No! louder!" until the speaker's amplified voice is thundering through the auditorium.

So no one moved a muscle. The lecture on Tree Felling in the Pre Pottery Neolithic Age continued uninterrupted. On my drive back to work, the radio talk shows were all abuzz with how so many people simply ignored the sirens (even those that could hear them). They kept replaying this quote from a guy at a coffee shop on Dizengoff Street: "We never bothered to go down into the shelters during the Gulf War. You think we'd stress ourselves over a drill? Ya'Habibi, This is Israel!!!!". The radio announcer kept repeating "Ya'Habibi, This is Israel" over and over.


jozie said...

Well, I happened to be in Ikea at the time. They were so sussed with the whole drill thing that I was totally impressed.
We were given little notes upon entering Ikea (before the normal handbag check)informing us that there would be a national drill and not to worry, your trusty Ikea employees would look after you. Then a lovely young lady in a yellow jacket answered questions. Every 15 minutes there was a very polite announcement and indeed, when the siren went off, we were calmly escorted down some stairs into the bowels of the store. Each department. They thanked everyone for their co-operation. Very nice.
It was hot as hell, and I shudder to think what would happen if there I was, shopping away, and a real siren went off. Very sobering I must say. All I could think of was were 1000 people would pee.

oliviao said...

Jozie, That's what I ALWAYS think about - what if we get caught in the elevator for hours...??? Do they have port-o-potties in the shelters??