22 January 1991. I was sitting in a sealed room wearing a gas mask on my face. and listening to the falling of Scud missiles in the adjacent city of Ramat-Gan , some fifteen minutes drive from my home. The gas mask was supposed to protect us from chemical and biological warfare agents in case Iraq's Saddam Hussein decided to use mass destruction weapons during the Gulf War.
Most of the missiles fell on a street named Abba Hillel , nearby the Diamond Exchange Tower. It was said that Saddam Hussein's people had in mind another target in this vicinity , but they failed to launch the missiles at the right angle, and so this particular street got all the damage and casualties; scores of residents were left homeless.
Abba Hillel street
Ramat-Gan (in translation: Garden Heights), located in the very center of Israel, is associated not only with gardens but also with chocolates, soccer, and...iraqis. The city has several nicknames: Ramat-Iraq, Pajama Town, Little Baghdad, Iraqi Town - all of them relating to the fact that it has a large number of jewish residents of Iraqi origin, restaurants serving iraqi dishes and.. the common sight of iraqi men moving on the balconies of their home dressed in pajamas .
After the war, the main theme for stand-up comedies , was based on the joke that Saddam Hussein' s missiles were attracted to Ramat-Gan by ...the smell of iraqi dishes (sabiach, koube, shawarma, amba) , and the sound of iraqi music coming out from many places in the town. Anyway, it was rather ironical that Saddam Hussein's missiles had hit the place with a big concentration of his former "compatriots".
Statue of iraqi jewish prayer on Abba Hillel street
Today, this street is known for its skyscrapers in the district of the Diamond Exchange (considered the largest diamond exchange in the world) and some skyscrapers at the other extremity , near the big soccer Stadium and the Ayalon Shoping Mall. They say that in the evening the illuminated towers' area looks like Manhattan. I don't know about that as I've never been to Manhattan, but the sparkling cluster of skyscrapers does look nice at any time of the day.
skyscrapers in the Diamond Exchange complex