Time Is On Israel's Side, Analyst Says

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:13 PM EDT

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Israelis are hoping - and starting to believe - that the second Gulf war will go very differently for Israel than the first one did, after a full day passed without an Iraqi missile attack on Israel.

University of Haifa Professor Amatzia Baram, an Iraqi expert, said he believes the next 24 to 36 hours will be critical for Israel.

"Israel is almost out of danger. [It's] very, very close," Baram said. "If tonight there are no missiles coming from the Western desert - by tomorrow 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning if they haven't fired anything - then Israel is out of danger."

However, Baram noted that Israel is still facing the danger of terror attacks.

Israeli officials says it's very unlikely that Israel will be hit by Iraqi missiles, and it has promised to retaliate if it is attacked. The U.S. wants Israel to stay out of the war as it did in 1991, fearing that Israeli involvement will cause more trouble in the region.

Most Israelis have said all along that they do not expect an Iraqi missile attack.

Nevertheless, many Israelis on Friday recalled the 1991 Gulf War, when the Sabbath eve was a favorite time of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to launch missiles at Israel. More than one Sabbath meal was interrupted by the sound of air raid sirens.

The Home Front Command distributed a record 90,000 gas masks on Thursday, Israel Radio reported. More than 90 percent of Israelis had already updated their gas mask protection kits prior to the beginning of the war.

Israeli children went to school for a second day carrying their gas mask kits. Overall attendance was reported to be at 70 percent. But many parents were not happy with the arrangement.

One pre-school teacher, who is also a mother of seven, commented on how absurd it was to send two-year-olds to pre-school with gas masks. "We could never put the masks on 15 children," she said. "They would all be crying."

Another mother, who lives in the Jordan Valley said she sent her children to school with their gas masks because parents were instructed to do so, but she also questioned the move, saying it was making the children more afraid when parents were trying to keep them calm.

Several people, mostly children, have been injured by accidentally injecting themselves with the atropine syringe since being told on Wednesday to open their protective kits. The atropine syringe is included in the kit as an antidote to contact with nerve gas.