Pray for the Best, but Prepare for the Worst

IDF Search and Rescue training drill (Flickr- IDF)

I’m gonna take a break from theology in this blog post to share some things that have been on my heart and mind lately regarding current (and perhaps near-term future) events in Israel.

First off, the so-called “lone wolf” attacks by Palestinians, apparently incited by ISIL (although Hamas, the PA and other sources of incitement are also part of the mix) against random Israelis have resumed after what many of us hoped was a passing phase.

In addition, the IDF, along with civilian security and emergency response agencies, have started running drills to prepare themselves and the general public for what they believe is an “inevitable” clash with Hezbollah and their Iranian sponsors on the northern border. The IDF estimates there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 rockets fired into Israel for at least the first several days of such a conflict, causing hundreds of civilian casualties. Hezbollah has also threatened to send ground forces to invade the Galilee, a threat the IDF is taking very seriously.

(Flickr – IDF)

Then of course, there’s the perennial threat from Hamas in Gaza and the growing danger of ISIL affiliated groups in the Sinai.

And that’s just on our immediate borders. Further afield there’s much else threatening us.

I was here in 2006 when Israel fought a 34-day war with Hezbollah while also dealing with a lower-level but still serious fight with Hamas in Gaza. That experience taught me, among other things, that the IDF and the government will do its best to fight the war and take care of everything else that needs to be taken care of, but that us private citizens must also do what we can to look after ourselves.

The Home Front Command has a website with some helpful tips.

But I’ve got a few tips of my own, and I offer them here for anyone who is interested.

First of all, pray daily for the government, the IDF, police, firefighters, EMS, etc. and for all those who serve and protect us. Pray for your family and your congregation, for their safety and their health. Pray for God to give them, and yourself, wisdom and courage to face all that’s coming.

Second, get yourself in shape and if possible take a Krav Maga self-defense course. This has gone from being a “good idea” to being a necessity for all of us.

(Facebook - Fitness Cafe)
(Facebook – Fitness Cafe)

Could you fight for your life or the lives of your children if you were attacked by a knife-wielding terrorist on the street? Could you run away fast enough if you’d rather do that, or could you run to the bomb shelter in time if you heard the siren? Could you assist in digging someone out from under a house that had collapsed in an earthquake or a rocket attack?

These are not theoretical possibilities. Some of us WILL face these kinds of situations in the future. Even if you personally never do, time spent getting into good physical condition is never wasted time. You’ll live longer and have a higher quality of life.
Third, on a related topic, start (if you haven’t already) eating like you should. We are blessed to live in a Land where fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and relatively cheap. We should take advantage of it.

(Facebook - Fitness Cafe)
(Facebook – Fitness Cafe)

Fourth, clean out your apartment, car and office. If you’ve got clothes or other stuff you never use which others might be able to use, bring it to your kehilah so they can give them to families who need them but can’t afford new stuff. If there’s stuff you don’t need and/or never use and you don’t think anyone else can use it either, throw it out!

Once your home has been emptied out as much as possible, clean it as deeply as possible.

There’s three main reasons why you should do this.

One, you might have to leave your home with very short notice, especially if you live in the North or near the Gaza border. If you do, you’ll have a much easier time grabbing the few things you need if your house is clean and in order.

Second, you might have to host someone else who had to flee their home. If you do, you’ll need as much space in your home as possible to accommodate them and you’ll also want to keep everything as clean as possible.

(Flickr - IDF)
(Flickr – IDF)

Third, if a missile destroys one of the walls of your home and a picture of the exposed room ends up on CNN, you don’t want the whole world knowing what a slob you are.


That last part was my attempt at dark Israeli humor, I hope it didn’t freak anyone out too much.

Last but not least, as the Home Front Command recommends, stock your home with at least a first-aid kit and with enough extra food and water for your family for at least three days. Again, if you’ve got extra room, also stock extra food for any unexpected guests you might have as well as your neighbors who will inevitably not have prepared their own homes adequately.
The foods you should stock up on are basically crackers and peanut butter, as they contain a lot of calories (precisely the food you’ll need in a wartime situation where you’re expending a lot of energy) and it also won’t spoil if the electricity is cut and your fridge/freezer isn’t working anymore. If you want some variety, tuna, beef jerky, chocolate and any kind of nuts are also a good for this, as well as dried fruit.

Don’t forget to also keep your home well stocked with essentials such as toilet paper, soap, etc.

If you do these things and war comes, you’ll be prepared. If you do these things and war never comes, you’ll still be doing something good for your life.

May God give us all the wisdom and courage to face whatever the future holds for us.