By the time I made aliyah, I was a religious Zionist.
And I observed the state holidays, like Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day).
But as I drifted into the chareidi hashkafah, I learned that the whole custom with the siren was a non-Jewish observance, despite the awe-inspiring feeling and sight of the entire country coming to a stop in honor of those who weren't allowed to live to this day.
The charedi arguments made sense to me:
Tisha B'Av is the Jewish national day of mourning. And we mourn all Jews, without discrimination.
You can't say that those murdered in the Shoah deserve to be mourned more than those murdered by the brutes in the Chmelnitsky massacres or by the Romans and Babylonians during the Destructions of our Holy Temple.
You can't say that pre-State freedom fighters and IDF soldiers deserve to be remembered more than Maccabean soldiers or Jewish partisans.
However, the charedi rabbis also insisted that out in public, you must observe the siren's moment of silence because if you don't, those around you will interpret it as if you are spitting on the grave of those who were murdered.
And these feelings must be respected.
One charedi rabbi encouraged us to go to the Mount Herzl military cemetery on Yom Hazikaron.
He said it would be good for us to see this kind of sacrifice up close and to share the grief of our fellow Jews.
He said it would also be good to show other people there who mourning their friends and relatives on that day to see that we care, too.
So I went and it was indeed meaningful.
But responding to the siren inside my home where no one can be neither offended nor honored by whatever I do?
So...some people continue as usual, saving their mourning for Tisha B'Av in allegiance to millennia of Jewish tradition.
But some people pray.
Finally, I also decided to pray for Am Yisrael during that minute.
During the siren, I realized even more than Shabbat (unfortunately), the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael are totally quiet.
It's a moment with no TV, no iPhone, no radio, no bass-heavy music, no lashon hara or scoffing or even inane speech, no anger or irritability. Even people's thoughts would be purer at that moment, because what else could you be thinking about at that time?
Even better, a lot of people pray during that moment. Thousands of hearts and thoughts are directed toward Hashem at that exact moment.
So why shouldn't I also take advantage of that moment of national quiet?
May Hashem protect us all from any more destruction of any kind and bring Mashiach now.