Holocaust fears haunt Israelis as they prepare for possible war with Iran
October 14, 2012
If Israeli jets are given the order to bomb Iran's nuclear programme, thousands of rockets could be fired in revenge. Nick Meo meets people fearful of the consequences of an airstrike - and terrified of the possible alternative.
The last time Hezbollah attacked Israel, a rocket exploded next to Adam Bloom's house while his wife was in the shower.
"She was hysterical," he said. Afterwards it took hours to coax her and their two terrified young daughters out of the bomb shelter where they fled.
"Hezbollah had about 10,000 rockets then but they are supposed to have more like 50,000 now, so how many will be fired at us if they start again?" said Mr Bloom, 49.
The family, whose kibbutz is 30 miles south of the Lebanon border, had thought they were safely out of range in 2006. When rockets started landing they jumped in the car and headed south with 350,000 other Israelis, to spend weeks as refugees in their own country.
This time it is not only the north that is being prepared for a new conflict, one that Israelis fear could be much worse than anything since 1973. The trigger would be the long-threatened Israeli airstrike on Iran's nuclear programme.
The whole country is uneasily aware that Iran has giant rockets to fire back at Tel Aviv and Haifa in retaliation, and that it has armed its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon with Scuds and similar medium-range missiles, weapons it didn't have in 2006.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the combative prime minister who keeps a portrait of Winston Churchill in his office, last week called an election in January which will be dominated by the Iran question. Victory at the polls, of which he looks sure, will give him a strong mandate to send in Israel's pilots, the country's greatest heroes, to drop bunker-busting bombs. To many voters it looks as if it is only American pressure that is stopping him from giving that order.