Somebody had the idiotic idea that if they put up rocket-repelling walls, particularly on walls of public buildings such as schools, somehow the people of Sderot will feel better about the endless Qassems falling over their heads.

Fences and walls, barriers and checkpoints, Arrow missiles and surgical strikes from a distance — it took some decades, but anybody else noticing how convergence and separation from the Palestinians are now the norm? I don’t feel any sadness about it, because the interaction with the Palestinians has been an empty one with little cultural or socially redeeming value – other than, of course, to teach us about terrorism and the unfortunate and slowly-corrupting influence of having one’s army in the midst of another’s population. That’s probably not the kind of interaction that one would seek from another nation. I get much more out of my interaction with Italians or French. On the other hand, I am always sad that one can’t just ride a trolley or train to, say, Damascus or Beirut; to safely enter a place like Jericho as one could in the past; to be a part of the larger Middle East and the culture that surrounds Israel. These barriers just hasten that process of division and distancing.

Here’s the article about this latest “technology.” Don’t expect it to win any architectural prizes.

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themiddle

9 Comments

  • Yeah you stand at Rosh HaNikrah and see the sign telling you how far it is to Beirut, you think about how close Amman is, on and on then think about how “far” it is to Boston from NYC or Philly and how easy it is to go there and you get sad. I got in a car yesterday and drive from NYC to Montreal – about 380 miles – much beyond Beirut from Tel Aviv.

    It seems when you talk to Israelis about it Beirut might as well be as far away as Santiago de Chile. I drove a pal to Washington, DC once and reminded him it is about the same distance from Tel Aviv to Cairo he thought I was a huge liar until he looked at the map (of NYC to DC is like 40 miles shorter, but you get the point)

  • “…convergence and separation from the Palestinians are now the norm?” If you’re speaking about Olmert’s convergence then let’s hope that never becomes the norm. Unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will make all of Israel a Sderot “look-alike.” If you want kassams in Jerusalem, go with Olmert’s “brilliant” version of “withdrawal with victory.”

  • Well, I am not going to argue with the basic point of this post. Namely that instead of fortifying buildings, Israel should be taking out the people shooting the missiles in the first place. I totally agree.

    But don’t sit there belittle the accomplishment of developing missile proof concrete. I was present at those tests and people from my unit helped design it. The concrete took a head on rocket hit at full speed. The only damage to it was a shallow hole the size of two human fists. That is impressive technology.

    Maybe you wouldn’t give it an architectural prize, but the soldiers whose bunkers will be made out of it and the civilians whose buildings will be fortified with it probably would.

    Because in the end, even the most aggressive army can’t prevent every single rocket or missile strike.

  • Daveh, I certainly didn’t mean to belittle your work or the technology involved and hope that isn’t what people came away with when reading this.

    My criticism is directed at the political echelon, not the developers or designers of this wall. My point is simply that this technology is being used as a band aid to address a much more serious problem. The Qassems are a political problem and will not be solved by putting shields above every building in their range. You cannot cover all of Sderot with these new walls, or now Ashkelon, or subsequently the next target in their range as the Arabs continue to develop their technology or smuggling capability.

    As for architectural prizes, I was referring to aesthetic value. Who knows, maybe somebody out there gives prizes for innovative walls, in which case you might still win something. I wish you luck 😉

  • Okay, I’ll concede the point on the architectural prize. Let’s say it may win an engineering prize instead and call it even.

    Otherwise, I totally agree with you that putting up protective shielding for buildings near Gaza won’t solve the Qassam problem. But it may save lives. If Hamas and friends actually learn to aim the damn things and, god forbid, actually hit something for a change, at least people in the buildings won’t be killed.

    Anyway, take care and shavuah tov.

  • Shavuah tov, Daveh.

    Please know that I think everybody who posts here is proud of achievements that come from Israel, not to mention the Jewish world in general, so it’s safe to say that we hold a rocket-repelling wall as a fairly impressive technological feat. And yes, let’s hope it does save lives. It sounds as if the cost of implementation is very reasonable…so maybe Israel can hire some mural artists to make things a little, uh, prettier. 😉

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