A new tool to help protect Israeli civilians from Hamas rockets is the fruit of a joint effort by two Israelis–one a Jew and the other an Arab. While the government’s vaunted “Red Color” system sets off sirens where rockets are aimed, the new program can also tell you from where in Gaza the terrorists launched it.
The tool, called Israel Under Attack, was authored by Samuel Lespes Cardillo and Farid el-Nasire. The map is designed, Nasire said in a Facebook post, to allow people “to visualize the rocket’s trajectory, hopefully one day saving at least one life.”
The Israel Under Attack program shows a counter that times the gap between attacks, resetting itself when a rocket is fired. When an attack takes place, the map shows — in real time — where the rocket was fired from in Gaza, its trajectory, and the general area where it is expected to land.
Like Red Alert: Israel, the mobile audio alert that lists the general area where a rocket is headed, the Israel Under Attack map shows approximately what location was targeted, without giving away the exact location in order not to give terrorists intelligence on how accurate or inaccurate their aim is. Because of these security considerations, say the authors, “we are not showing the exact positions of a rocket’s landing, and we are trying to show the most accurate position of rockets.”
Nasire said that the site was very accurate, despite the tech limitations. “Hamas rockets don’t have GPS or any satellite uplink, so we had to be a bit creative. We use mathematical formulas to determine its location based on factors like the time it was launched. We get a notification of a launch within a second and then calculate approximately how long it will take for it to reach its target. Our predictions might be a second or two seconds off, but it’s very accurate.” The data is loaded onto a Google map and displayed in real time on the site.
Nasire, born in Israel, has been studying and working in the Netherlands for the past few years, while Cardillo, who works in a high-tech company in Israel, is a soldier in the IDF reserves. The reason they decided to develop the map, said Nasire, was “we both noticed that many people seemed to think lightly about the rockets coming from Gaza. Many people (abroad) think there are just one or two being fired per day, which the Iron Dome intercepts, so why should Israel wage a war against Hamas, right?”
In fact, “truth is that there are a lot more of them than that. Each and every time you hear an alert (which is a lot less now than three days ago, but still quite often), thousands of men, women and children have to find shelter, often within just 15 seconds, in order to not risk their life. This is why Israel is fighting a war it really doesn’t want to fight,” Nasire said.
The program is available only as a website for now, but Nasire promised that iPhone and Android versions are just days away.
The site drew accolades on Facebook, along with criticism — not of the site, but of Israel’s incursion into Gaza, sparking the usual arguments on both sides. One thing Nasire did not appreciate was how critics of Israel managed to hijack his Facebook post and turn it into a political debate. “I find it so interesting how people can’t stand the fact that Israel is defending itself. It’s like all of you pro-Palestinian people want Israel to just sit there, take the hits and do nothing,” Nasire wrote.
“This app works for Gazans as well,” Nasire added. “For every rocket fired on Israel, Hamas gets two in return. Gazans just have to listen to Israel when it warns them of attacks by phone, leaflets, radio or the final roof-knocking warning and get away from Hamas. So if you paid attention in elementary school math class, you’d know that if Hamas fired 0, Israel would fire 0x2=0.” He adds, “If Israel still fires rockets without provocation, I’ll be pro-Palestinians as well.”