The siren sounded as I was examining Mardi Gras masks in Tel Aviv’s fashionable Nahalat Binyamin pedestrian walkway. I didn’t even notice it. Two teenage girls in the store asked the owner if it was a warning siren, or an emergency vehicle. We all listened silently for a minute, and he pronounced it an ambulance, and then admitted, no, it sounds like a warning siren. The girls got a blank, shocked look, and asked him, “is it a siren that something serious is happening?”. No questions of war, air raids, missiles, just, “is something serious happening”.

Our friendly owner had a laptop in front of him, next to the cash register, and offered to “check it out online”. Nope, nothing. Ok, then it’s probably just an exercise. We’ve heard of so many siren exercises across the country. But we all waited, and looked out onto the street to see what other people were doing. Looked pretty normal, everyone walking and talking on their cell phones. Maybe they were calling someone else to ask their opinion too.