Saturday, August 19, 2006

The trip up north

I am a normal Israeli teenager. I live in the center of our country, and was therefore spared from the recent bombings which occurred both in the south by Palestine and the north by the Hezbollah. I worried about my fellow Israelis just like everyone else, but what could I do about it?

The night after the ceasefire, my father was looking at online news websites, and he noticed something unsettling. Every single news site showed pictures of the destruction in Lebanon, but made no mention of the destruction in Israel. Not one picture.
So my dad decided to take a trip up to the north of Israel, see for himself the damage that was done there, and document it. He invited me to come along, and I did so. My younger brother joined us as well, and we borrowed my older brother's digital camera.

Israel was hit with 3500-4000 rockets during the month before the cease-fire. That makes more than 100 missiles a day. Couple that fact with Israel's size, and you start to realize what happened here.

Our first stop was Tiberius. Supposedly it was hit, but not so bad. We drove all around it, expecting to see some wreckage or other, but none was to be found. We even asked locals, but no one seemed to know a place where missiles had landed. I was confused, and thought maybe the news had exaggerated.

Next came Safed (Tsfat to anyone who can translate decently). It started off the same way, with no damage to be found. But once we asked someone, we were immediately pointed in the right direction.
The first damage we saw.
Not so terrible, really. I sure wouldn't want it to happen to my house, but I was sort of expecting to see something worse.
Apparently, that wasn't the only building in the area to get bombed. We walked around quite a bit over there, it seems to have been an unlucky spot. The pictures of the other places bombs hit didn't come out well, so I'll skip them. But I want you to see something else interesting...

The bomb itself is only half of the damage - the rest is caused by the shockwave.

I was expecting to see ruined houses and craters, but this caught me by surprise. The shockwave from the explosion apparently breaks all glass in a 50 meter radius or so. Pretty nasty. So from this point on you need to take it for granted that wherever we go, there's shattered glass everywhere. some more pics

A lot of people saw us taking pictures and told us where we should go to find more wreckage. A lot of it was already cleaned up, though.
One person took us to a house which had suffered a direct hit. The owner of the house welcomed us in and was glad we were taking pictures.
I have a lot of pictures from his house....I'll try to sum up the damage as best I can.
This is the hole in the roof where the missile entered. That was not the weakest of ceilings, I'm sure you can tell, but that wasn't going to stop it.
Here is the room it fell into. As you can see, the bed got very burnt. The mattress is completely gone.
This may seem like a strange picture, but I'll explain - that's where the roof was until it was blown completely off. Here is the staircase right under it.
On the second story, one floor under the actual hit, is the living/dining room. The owner of the house was sitting there when the bomb hit, and he told us that the force of the bomb threw him back to the other side of the room.
Back outside now. Can you see how the whole roof shifted? Scary. Also, you can see some of the wreckage in the yard.

Amazingly, people living there seemed completely unfazed by all of this. They somehow managed to retain their optimism.

Okay, enough of that house and enough of Safed. We went from there to Qiryat Shemona, one of the cities that got it really bad. And let me tell you, it got it BAD. Missiles had fallen in every corner. Once we told people why we were there, they immediately showed us a dozen places to photograph. I'll share a few of my favorites, but keep in mind that there are many more.
This car was not hit directly - the missile fell behind it. See the hole?
This one landed in a mini basketball court. I shudder to imagine what would have happened if kids had been playing there at the time.

If these holes seem small to you, keep in mind that a large chunk of the damage is caused by ball bearings inside the missile. When it explodes, it sends them flying everywhere, and they are very deadly.

You can see the effect of the ball bearings here, for example. Zoom in and take a good look and the fence and the carpets.
And here is another good example of the potency of the ball bearings.
Pieces of missile collected by the locals!
This fence got blown straight off. o_o

Most of the missiles fell in fields and such, and many of them caused fires. The cost of putting out the fires alone was in the millions.

Here is an almost whole missile that exploded in a field and was put in display in a synagogue.
Nasty hole in this school. It also caused a small fire, the result of which you can sorta see in the corner of the pic.
This was taken in a synagogue which was completely trashed. I took a lot of pictures in there. The missile actually hit a nearby rock - all of the destruction in there is from the shockwave.

Okay, last house. They didn't want us going in there, as the explosion had made the whole building unstable. Here are more pics. (That's my younger brother in the last picture)

We took about 180 pictures, and saw more than we captured on film. The above is just a taste. I'd put up more, but this post is already ridiculously long. Also, I'm not sure seeing pictures has the same effect as seeing it in person.

This blog is my way of trying to help. I hope it serves its purpose and spreads knowledge to the world of what happened on our side, so people have more than local media to form opinions from.