The Gulf War: 20 Years Later

Remembering the masks and miracles in Israel.

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Comments (15)

(15) Gail Winston, March 7, 2011 12:05 AM


I’M MAD AS HELL 1/17/01 by Gail Winston in JEWISH PRESS I'm mad as hell! Jumping from sleep at 2 am into a gas mask in a plastic sealed room. Mothers and fathers sit in a small room sealed with heavy plastic, with all their children. The babies are trapped in plastic tents, crying hysterically; the older children are in plastic hooded breathing apparatus, cranky. Their parents can't comfort them or explain why some madman trapped them.. What really made me furious? Caspar Weinberger spoke on BBC radio as former U.S. Sec. of Defense. He was responsible for Iraq's chemical war capability buildup NOT being exposed and challenged. He refused to transmit vital knowledge to Israel, violating the US MOU #111 of October 1983. Jonathan Pollard, a civilian analyst in the Naval Anti Terrorist Alert unit felt morally compelled to transmit to Israel life and death data the US had withheld from Israel. Pollard saw and asked his superiors why. Their answer: "Don't tell the Jews about gas; they're too sensitive." Thousands of Kurds and Iranian civilians would have been saved if Weinberger hadn't suppressed this. The threat and stress to U.S. and Allied soldiers facing chemical warfare in the hot desert would have been lessened. Just think of that threat over Israel's head. Weinberger's personal directive to Judge Robinson the day of Pollard's sentencing, abrogated the government's plea agreement and got Pollard sentenced to life without parole. At 3:59 A.M. Israel time Caspar Weinberger said: "It is a particular tragedy that nerve gas was used." (We now know it wasn't nerve gas, but Weinberger clearly exposed his guilty knowledge.) Now we see the depths of the hell that Weinberger concealed by silencing Pollard. When will Weinberger be investigated for his personal complicity in escalating Iraq's war capability? That's what really made me mad!!

(14) grannieannie, March 3, 2011 11:46 AM

We were here in ISRAEL

We live in the Shomron, and how unusual it was to host our parents (grandparents) from the Ramat Gan/Tel Aviv/ Givatayim area in our homes. Only here were there no scuds falling. At night we often went outdoors to see the tail of the scud as it flew over the Shomron in the direction of Tel Aviv / Med Sea. Yes they were difficult days, but we can all say that we lived to SEE miracles, not just read and learn about them

(13) seth clyman, March 2, 2011 9:53 PM

Rabbi Weinberg said. after the war..a reminder

I remember Rabbi Noah Weinberg saying after the war that it would be a great idea if everyone in Israel would carry their gas masks in it's box over their shoulder like we all did during the war ...for one whole day once a month. That way we would remember the miracles that the Almighty did ...and can still do for us. It was so obvious to all of us who lived through it. It was raining missles and miracles.

(12) matty, March 2, 2011 6:23 PM

there were lives saved because people didn't drive

an interesting byproduct was that lives were actually saved, statistically, as people were afrain to venture out at night when the misslies showered on us. so the ever-present (lo aleinu) traffic accidents declined.

(11) shoshana, March 1, 2011 11:36 PM

the miracles of israel which people don't notice

I was in 5th grade and still could never forget. The sad part is taht the rest of teh world forgets/doesn't. People always talk about the tragedies of Jewish history, but overloook the miracles. When i see all the problems going on among Israel's "neighbors" all I could think about is how its a miracle we are surviving everyday!

(10) Lauren Adilev Cohen, March 1, 2011 8:14 PM

Lived Through Gulf War

I lived in Ramat Aviv, near the university. I thought it was ridiculous and cowardly of Israel not to strike back. It's been downhill since: Madrid, Oslo, Pollard, Gilad Shalit rotting away. We threw away Mashiach after the 6 Day War. We must realize: it's us, or them. Kol tuv Lauren in Efrat

(9) Annette, March 1, 2011 4:56 PM

I do remember

that was a tough time - I do remember it And I hope I always do We like to forget painful events - we ask 'why carry that baggage in our minds the rest of our lives?'; my neighbours (at that time) missionaries minimize the events of our attackers and of our survival, until they can wipe out our memory, until they can wipe out the notion of a Jewish People: THAT'S WHY we must remember. They so desperately want to fill in the void that they hope to create, as G-d's Chosen. We have to keep us alive. We will. We must. We are.

(8) Shulamit, March 1, 2011 3:36 PM

I was in Netanyah during Desert Storm

I was a single mother with three children and lived in Netanyah Israel during the Gulf War in 1991. I still have my gas mask and still have the sound of the siren in my soul. I am proud to have stood, or should I say hid in the sealed room, as an Israeli during that time. I would not have changed that part of my life for any amount of money.

(7) Debbie Litwack, March 1, 2011 3:32 PM

Zippered pockets for pacifiers

I remember an essay a friend of mine wrote from Israel about the amazing sensitivity in the Israeli design of the infant "outfit" for the sealed rooms as having a pocket for a pacifier since the normal comforting measures would be hampered by all the protective gear. What other people would think of that!

(6) Anonymous, February 28, 2011 8:27 PM

i was on the roof of the yeshiva taking pictures of the scuds cuz the lubavitcher rebbe said not to worry !!

(5) Daniel Ratner, February 28, 2011 2:56 AM

Hard to Believe!

Amazing facts that I have never heard. I remember exacly where I was when the US started the bombing Iraq, it was exactly the same place I was when 9/11 occured, on 57th ST. in New York. Keep up the great work!

(4) TMay, February 27, 2011 7:57 PM

I remember

I remember that my cousins were in Israel and one had just given birth and they had to put the baby into a tent in a sealed room with the rest of them wearing gas masks. Lori is right because the baby is now about 20.

(3) Chana Miriam Zelasko, February 27, 2011 7:44 PM

Wow! It's really been 20 years!

When the Gulf War started we were living in Maale Amos, a small Yishuv started by Aish HaTorah in Gush Etzion. I had 3 small children and my youngest was in the "Mamad", the tent-like baby bed. He was 17 months old at the time. Yes, there were many miracles, but one thing stands out in my mind and it really brought tears to my eyes. I had friends in Philly where I grew up to whom I talked after the war was over. They had a son learning in Mir Yeshivah in Yerushalyim at the time. I asked them if he left Israel when the war started. His father said, "No!, he did not leave. When there is a problem in Eretz Yisroel you don't leave!"

(2) Anonymous, February 27, 2011 3:52 PM

Am YIsrael Chai

Twenty years ago on January 15th I sat waiting for a sonogram in Shaarei Zedek hospital, surrounded by weeping women all davening that Hashem should protect us from Sadam Hussein. The baby I was expecting through those tension filled nights of sealing a "safe" room full of children just had her first baby two weeks ago! Our then two year old, whom we had to cajole with toys and cookies to stay in the plastic incubator is expecting her second child, bli ayin hara. Am Yisrael Chai.

(1) Moran Sabbah, February 27, 2011 10:06 AM

I remember...

I was 9 years old and living in Rehovot. To this day I remember wearing the gas mask, the sealed room, the siren, my baby sister in a plastic incubator, the canned food on the shelf in my room. I wrote G-d a letter asking him to end the war. I tossed the letter into a rainy night, the next morning my mother told us the war was over. No more missiles.


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