Thursday, September 13, 2012


by Sarah Walton

A streak of red, sputtering light tore into the darkening sky. 

Was it fireworks? Was there a wedding taking place on the ridge above the Druze town of Masadé?

Suddenly across the ridge tanks and APCs (Automated Personnel Carriers) appeared, barreling along, throwing clouds of dust into the dusk. Then, a blast of light from one of the tank cannons and a loud boom.

No, it wasn’t fireworks; it wasn’t a wedding. It was the Golani Brigade “maneuvers.” 

In other words, it was just another tense day on the Golan Heights of Israel, a few kilometers from the border with Syria. With threats coming from Hezbollah in Lebanon, to “conquer” the entire Galilee, civil war and genocide in Syria and rockets from Gaza raining down on southern Israeli towns, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were now on a sort of perpetual high alert, along several borders.

This is life ... in Israel.

I have lived in the state of New York for half a century, and nearly every summer I have seen military convoys wending their way up the New York Thruway, to training areas deep in the Adirondack Mountains. 

The passage of the convoys was as close as I got to seeing “military action!”

But watching simulated war and hearing the constant boom and buzz of artillery and helicopters is an everyday thing up here in the northern Golan Heights. There are at least four or five training areas within 10 or 20 kilometers of Kibbutz El-Rom where our younger son lives.

The state of Israel is roughly the size of New Jersey. Imagine, if you will, what life in Trenton, Newark or Hoboken would be like if the states of New York and Pennsylvania had vowed to wipe out New Jersey!

First of all, Giants Stadium and the whole Meadowlands area would be a military staging and training area. Tanks would be lined up next to rocket batteries, their muzzles pointing at the New York City skyline.

The bridges connecting Jersey to New York (including the borough of Staten Island) would all have armed checkpoints on each end of the bridges. Few people from Jersey would be allowed to go into or work in New York. There would be periodic missiles and rockets fired into New Jersey, with threats to demolish the state.

Morristown, Atlantic City and Montclair would be full of bomb shelters. The streets of every town would be filled with young men and women sporting M-16’s and Uzis as they sauntered along, laughing and exchanging quips.

Down in Trenton and other cities near the border with Pennsylvania, the same armed checkpoints and military bases would exist. In Atlantic City and other New Jersey shore towns there would be the periodic attempts to invade New Jersey by “peace” flotillas from Connecticut or Maryland.

There would be no such thing as a volunteer army, since every single young body would  be needed to defend the borders of New Jersey. 

But would there be a New Jersey Symphony if the state were constantly under a kind of siege? Would the cineplexes, night clubs and gambling casinos function as easily and constantly as they do now?

The state of New Jersey, like the rest of the United States, has absolutely no clue as to what life is like in MOST of the rest of the world ... particularly in the Middle East ...  and definitely the state of Israel!

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