Sites like ‘Life Under Fire’ bring home rocket reality

High-tech experts introduce videos, web pages, and other info to help Israelis stay safe, and help the rest of the world understand what is unfolding

Life Under Fire
Life Under Fire

Outflanked on the media and social-media battlefields in previous campaigns against Hamas, the IDF and the government are proving determined during operation Pillar of Defense to get out their message that Hamas is the aggressor and Israel has been forced to defend itself.

Thus the army has its own blog, and the Foreign Ministry has a page dedicated to the suffering Israeli civilians are facing, called “Israel Under Fire.” There are also official Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts along with channels on  Flickr and Instagram.

But the effort to tell Israel’s story goes beyond official channels. The high-tech community is marshaling its considerable technical capabilities to put together videos, web pages, and other information resources to help Israelis stay safe and help the rest of the world understand what is unfolding.

Life Under Fire, meanwhile, is a simple yet extraordinarily effective way to illuminate the situation facing the millions of Israelis in range of the rockets. It’s an on-screen 15-second timer, 15 seconds being the amount of time most southern residents have to get to a safe shelter when the Red Alert system is activated. After 15 seconds, the site broadcasts a boom, followed by sirens.

The site comes from Ben Lang, author of the Israel Start-Up Map, a graphic illustration of where Israeli start-ups are located, who runs them, and what they do. As Lang said, “I can hardly tie my shoe’s laces in 15 seconds.”

The Qassam Count Facebook page lists the specifics of the rockets Gaza terrorists fire at Israel. Media reports of rocket attacks are usually terse and unspecific; the actual details about rockets that “fell in open areas” or “caused no damage” are often much more dramatic that those laconic remarks make them sound. The Qassam Count page gathers links to stories about attacks that appear all over the Internet (the authors are careful to post only publicly available information, the site says).

Inspired by Qassam Count is a new site, called Iron Dome Count, which shows the operations of the Israeli anti-missile system.

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