Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Long and the Short of It

Well - hot off the press, here are the pictures. First, the short of it. These are still pictures of the ceremony taken when Shmulik had his swearing in ceremony. Below is the video. It's rather long - 10 minutes - the kind of video perhaps only a mother (or grandmother...or grandfather...or aunt...or uncle...or sister...or brother) would watch - if you want the short of even the video - advance ahead to the last minute.

Shmulik in the middle - with rifle and Bible


And a smile, from my son.

The long and short of it was that it was a beautiful, meaningful, precious moment. A moment when our present (defending our land) comes together with our past (our commitment to our religion, our people...symbolized by the Bible), comes together to set the path for our future. I hope one day soon, the gun will not be necessary...but I don't have much faith and so three years ago, Elie made his promise; this year, Shmulik made his...and some day in the not so distant future, my third son will likely stand up to make his - A promise to defend the land of Israel, the people - from the sons of Israel.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Does He Know?

It is moments before the Sabbath comes here in Israel. My table is set with special dishes we use almost only on the Sabbath. Two loaves of sweet, braided bread are there, covered with a silk cloth decorated for the Sabbath. The candles (oil, actually) are ready to be lit. Elie and Aliza filled them a few hours ago - they used blue and purple this week and they are so beautiful.

The house is clean, the floors shining. In Israel, the floors are stone and so we wash them by doing "sponga" - which means dumping buckets of soapy water and giving it a great wash.

The food is all prepared; sitting on the warming trays for when we return from synagogue. I was about to do my last few things when something clicked into my mind and I calculated - I have three minutes left to write one simple thought...today, it is four years since Gilad was kidnapped. He is alone in Gaza...as alone as he was in those moments when his unit was attacked, his friends killed, and he alone was dragged off across the border into Gaza.

Does he know? Does he know it is four years...have his jailers tormented him with the date...with the same psychological torture they use against his family and Israel?

I don't know the answer - I'll spend the Shabbat thinking of him, praying for him - wishing him safe and home soon. Shabbat Shalom, Gilad - you have become the son of all of us and we are waiting for you. May you come home soon, may you know you are loved, and may you never doubt for a moment that you are in our hearts and minds always.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Response to Anonymous # 356

I get many comments - both on the blog and to my personal email addresses. A few days ago, Anonymous (I called him Anonymous #356 to differentiate from other comments I have received from similar sounding people), wrote to me. There are many comments I don't put through. Yes, if you tell me "Liar! Israeli soldiers will go to hell" (that was Anonymous # 281), I won't put it through; and I won't approve Anonymous # 296's "All Israels should be killed wherever they are found and all Isreal city should be distroy from the Map of the World" either...and yes - please #296, could you learn to spell my country's name -I S R A E L...and while I'm at it - "distroy" is "destroy" and you really have to learn English rules for capitalization).

Where was I? Ah yes, Anonymous # 356, so # 356 was relatively polite and so I responded as a comment. Then he (or perhaps she...or perhaps someone else), wrote again with the following comment:
- Did the people on the ships have some sort of duty to allow armed men to attack them without resistance? You sound like the activists were terrorists on a mission to attack Israeli people. Nonsense. The main goal of the ship (full of activists) was to bring aid to Gaza, not to attack Israeli people! They were non-violent UNTIL the IDF special forces repelled onto the ship.
- Maybe you're right about the law, but I wonder what would Israel and Americans say if it was Iran (instead of Israel) attacking humanitarian ships (carrying aid) in International waters... Think about it.
- It seems you aren't aware of the fact that some commandos were actually CAPTURED and taken away by activists on the ship. So your words about "their training and dedication, one to the other" make no sense there. Look ta the facts: 3 or 4 commandos were captured (inspite of their training and dedication) and their weapons were taken away. Those who captured them could easily killed them if they have wanted. But they didn't. Maybe they aren't such "animals" or haters after all?
- Sorry, but you didn't change my mind about international probe. I'm sure North Korea has conducted its own probe into the sinking of a South Korean ship few weeks ago. But would you believe them? The same goes for Israel. The guilty will once again 'find' themselves innocent. What a farce!

Gaza flotilla raid was a great tragedy and IDF has the blood of 8 people on it's hands. At least Israel was forced to ease Gaza blockade, so I guess this is the only positive from this horrible story.

best regards

I started to respond as a comment, but well, yeah - I love to write and write a lot and so the Blog didn't accept my comment because it was too long - can you imagine? The nerve! And so I reprint it here. My response to a recent comment:

Dear Anonymous # 356...or is it #357?


You ask important questions and in a respectful way, though clearly there is anger in your tone...but I can understand that. I too am angry about the flotilla fiasco, though I assume your anger and mine are for different reasons. Let's talk about your anger first:

Your first point is so many points that it would take me one whole comment just to answer it…perhaps I should indeed switch this to a post rather than a comment, but let’s begin and see where it goes:

1. You ask if the people had some sort of duty to allow armed men to attack without resistance. Well, see, you are already starting off in the wrong direction because the first answer is that they were in the process of violating a declared naval blockade which in fact, according to that international law (which you admit I might be “right about”), Israel had FULL legal rights to stop the ship, detain the ship, and absolutely, use force. You yourself admit the soldiers were attacked and it is clear from the pictures and what was done to the soldiers that the force used against them was clearly “deadly force” – after all – several soldiers were shot…and they were shot by those thugs on the ships that grabbed the soldiers’ weapons, turned them and attacked the soldiers. Once they grabbed the soldiers guns – all bets were off. It became a battle between two armed camps. If I sound like I am saying that the “activists” were “terrorists on a mission to attack Israeli people” – I’m glad. That is exactly what I am saying. Glad I am clear. The videos show those so-called activists clearly preparing for battle. Taking ship railing and cutting it with those humanitarian aid drills and prepare their weapons in advance. As such, saying they were non-violent before the IDF landed on the ship is absurd. Of course they were non-violent in the sense that we assume they didn’t attack each other; but they were certainly violent in the fact that they were quite busy planning their attack. By your logic, we would say no one is violent…um…until they get violent.

2. No one attacked humanitarian ships because those ships , while indeed carrying aid, were not primarily dedicated to this concept. Had they been, they would have agreed to either Israel or Egypt’s offer to deliver the aid. No, they had a political purpose – to break the blockade…and they failed. The humanitarian aid was a guise, a cloud behind which they tried and failed to hide. Yes, I am right about the fact that Israel did NOT violate international law and so your comment, again, about international waters is not relevant here.

3. If the commandos were captured, that proves again, our right to use deadly force to get them back. No, I give no credit to the “mercy” of the captors and among those “activists” who were killed – are those who held our soldiers. So we have two clear rules for future flotillas:

a. If you grab a soldier’s gun – expect to get shot.

b. If you capture a soldier – expect to die.

As for their being animals…those are your words…or perhaps mine. Either way, the blood thirst in the way they beat the soldiers is there, clear, in the video.

4. I never expected to change your mind. The fact that you now admit that I am probably right about international law is enough for me. As for international probes…we’ll agree to disagree. My country regularly has inquiries and many are found wrong. We have already conducted investigations into the Gaza War and soldiers who violated army rules have been tried and sentenced. We are a nation of law and order. You believe it…you don’t…irrelevant. We have inquiries here because this is the nature of our country.

Finally – yes, the Gaza flotilla was a great tragedy…ah, you said the raid was a tragedy, didn’t you? Well, if you insist, I will say it is true – the behavior of the thugs on board was criminal and inhumane. The behavior of the soldiers was also completely inappropriate. They should not have attempted to rappel down, one by one – that was stupid. They should have simply sunk the ships from underneath and as the ships went down…they could have thrown the peace activists some cute rafts and perhaps some sun lotion. As for easing the blockade…yes, my country can be ever stupid in the face of international pressure.

Make no mistake – no good came out of the flotilla…not this one and not the next one to come upon us. The way to peace is not through terrorism, not through violence and not through flotillas that use humanitarian aid as an excuse. The way to peace was, is, and ever will be – talking.

When Words Fail...

Sometimes, you become overwhelmed by the sadness, by the futility of fighting against the wind. Sometimes, you know there is nothing you as a single person can do to change even this small thing. Sometimes, you want to do it all...and know there is nothing that can be done at your level.

I am not a leader of a country, not even of my own home. I am not a politician who can sway crowds with a speech or rock countries with my demands. I am a mother whose heart cries today for another mother. I salute Aviva Shalit, her courage, her strength. I pray for her son every day and today, more than any other.

When words fail, perhaps all that is left are pictures. Today it is four years since that horrible day when Palestinians infiltrated into our land, attacked and killed our soldiers, and dragged Gilad off. Four years without a mother's hug, a mother's soothing voice. Four years. I have watched my son enter the army...grow, develop...and come out safe. All that I ever begged of God during that time. I have seen my second son enter the army and I am watching him grow, praying desperately for his safety.

All I can give Gilad today is my prayers for him. Be safe, be healthy, may you know the world over today people are praying for you, sending their love and hope and most of all, may you come home soon.

The only thing that has changed since this video was made...is that another year has passed. Another year, without Gilad:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From the Flotilla - Description of Barbarians

I've been told the following letter that appeared on Tamar Yonah's blog on Israel National News may not be factual and was meant more as an illustration of the barbaric attack on our soldiers on the Mavi Marmara. I don't know if it is real or not. I know only the anger I experienced at watching so-called peace activists stab and beat our soldiers while the world accused us of inhumane actions. It was Israel (and Egypt) that offered to deliver the humanitarian aid they said they carried and it was the flotilla that refused. Facts continue to come out - about the nature of the sponsoring organizations (Free Gaza and IHH - both with strong terrorist connections). Despite knowing that the letter below may well be staged...I leave it on the blog here because what I wrote before I was told it was fake, remains true:

If it makes you sick to your stomach...good. If it makes you angry...better. If it makes you hope the Israeli navy sinks the next flotilla ships...mission accomplished!

*** If someone knows if this is authentic or not...please contact me...for now, it remains *** (and than you to chayal shabak for letting me know)


Hello Uncle Erwin,

This is Amir writing you after reading what you sent to my father, Eitan.

As you know, it was my unit and my friends who were on the ship. My commander was injured badly as a result of the "pacifists" violence. I want to tell you how he was injured so you could tell the story. It shows just how horrible and inhuman were the activists. My commander was the first soldier that rappelled down from the helicopter to the ship. When he touched ground, he got hit in the head with a pole and stabbed in the stomach with a knife.

When he drew out his secondary weapon-a handgun (his primary weapon was a regular paintball gun: "Tippman 98 custom") he was shot in the leg. He managed to fire a single shot before he was tossed from the balcony by 4
Arab activists, to the lower deck (a 12 feet fall). He was then dragged by other activists to a room in the lower deck were he was stripped down by 2 activists.

They took off his vest, helmet and shirt, leaving him with only his pants and shoes on. When they finished they took a knife and expanded the wound he already had in his stomach. They cut his ab muscles horizontally and by hand spilled his guts out. When they finished they raised him up and walked him on the deck outside. He was conscious the whole time.

If you are asking yourself why they did all that, here comes the reason. They wanted to show the soldiers their commander's body so they will be demoralized and scared. Luckily, when they walked him on the deck a soldier saw him and managed to shoot the activist that was walking him down the outside corridor. He shot him with a special non-lethal bullet that didn't kill him.

My commander managed to jump from the deck to the water and swim to an army rescue boat (his guts still out of his body, and now in salty sea water). That was how he was saved. The activists that did this to him are alive, now in Turkey, and treated as heroes.

I'm sorry if I described this with too many details, but I thought it was necessary for the credibility. Please tell this story to anyone who will listen. I think that these days you are one of Israel's best spokesman.

Thanks uncle Erwin, Shabbat Shalom!


Amir

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

True Freedom Flotilla - Sails to UN for Gilad!

 Four years...four years...please take a moment to imagine not seeing your son in four years, not hearing his voice, but for one short taped message and one short video. Imagine...and pray for Gilad - but more...do something for Gilad. Write a letter to your president or prime minister and demand his freedom; write to the United Nations. Four years...four years....

MEDIA ADVISORY

“TRUE FREEDOM FLOTILLA” TO SAIL TO UNITED NATIONS

UNPRECEDENTED DEMONSTRATION WILL REMIND INTERNATIONAL BODY OF FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF GILAD SHALIT CAPTIVITY AND
CALL FOR HIS RELEASE

WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: The Queen of Hearts boat

Pier 40 (Houston Street and West Side Highway)

New York City

RSVP REQUIRED TO ACCESS MEETING

Marking the fourth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping by Hamas, the “True Freedom” Flotilla will sail from Pier 40 around the tip of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty to the United Nations to remind the international body and the world of the real siege in Gaza and call for the release of Gilad Shalit. The Flotilla is organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The Flotilla will sail regardless of the weather forecast, as the boats are covered.

The media is invited to remain aboard the Queen of Hearts following the press conference. The Flotilla will depart from Pier 40 at 12:00 noon and will return around 2:00 p.m.

Gilad Shalit was kidnapped from within Israeli territory on June 25, 2006, as part of an unprovoked and well-planned attack by Hamas terrorists. He remains held in total isolation with no access to the International Red Cross or other humanitarian bodies. Since his capture, Hamas has provided only two indications that Gilad is still alive – a recorded message of his voice released on June 25, 2007, and a video of him released on October 2, 2009.

PLEASE NOTE: Security requires advance notice of all attendees to this meeting. To RSVP for the meeting, please contact the Conference of Presidents at rsvp@conferenceofpresidents.org or 212-318-6111.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Flotilla's Hero...Thanks to LATMA!

When I listened to the absurd lies coming from the mouths of those who claimed to have been on the flotilla (many finally admitting they were down below in those critical first moments when the thugs were attacking Israeli soldiers...or even on another ship completely), I was so angry. Peace activists? Humanitarians? These were barbarians. Read the story of what these thugs did!

One cut a soldier in his stomach...and then another grabbed the knife and twisted it to cause maximum damage. In the end, his stomach horribly open, the soldier managed to escape and jump into the sea to swim to safety. Another had his ear almost completely severed. The brutality of the attack can be seen in video after video and still there are these idiots...no, this is public, I have to be polite...morons...no, I can do better...people? No, certainly not human beings...okay, I will stick with the only safe word I can think of...and still these idiots want to believe the soldiers are guilty. I couldn't' believe when I heard on the radio that during Israel's initial investigation, soldiers told the army that at first, they even talked about going aboard ship in dress uniforms, the ones they wear to ceremonies and to travel to and from base. Can you imagine? You could scream...and still the world would believe this idiocy and so there are among us...those who choose to laugh. I thank the people of LATMA from the bottom of my heart. Thanks for the laugh and for putting this all in proper perspective. If you're angry about the flotilla, watch this and smile! Watch this and laugh!

Another brilliant production from LATMA - probably the organization best handling Israel's PR in the world. An exaggeration? Perhaps not.

Speaking of exaggerations - enjoy - I certainly did.








Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Need to Explain

Sometimes, as I stare at a blank screen and know I want to write something, I hold back. It's easier to hold back here on this blog than other places because here I am only to write about my sons, about being a mother of a soldier, of several soldiers, here in Israel. That's my agreement, isn't it? Why you come back here? Why you find this place and read it?

But I don't want to write of my sons right now. I want to write of my anger, my confusion, my concerns, and perhaps above all else, my inability to understand the simple formula that runs this world. It is no longer politically correct to hate Jews. At least that much we have accomplished since Hitler ruled the hearts and minds of Germany and in so doing, led our people to the brink of disaster and the world into the valleys of war.

Today, those same people who once hated the Jews, understand they cannot go around with the same old lies. They don't work. And so, born of the old hatred, there is a new one. They hate Israel. Israel is, suddenly, all things evil. More evil than Iran, more sinister than Syria. More violent than Sudan, Sri Lanka. More tyrannical than the Russians. We are most likely the single most hated nation in the world. It would be humorous, given our size, if it were not so sick. More, it likely borders on insanity when given how many times we have sent our sons and daughters to foreign shores to help others. Haiti, Kenya, Turkey, Indonesia. We did not question the religions or nationalities of those who needed our help. Nor, sadly, did we question their humanity.

We flew to Turkey - as with other places, the first to arrive. We risked our lives to save theirs. We donated while their rich Arab brethren sat on their hands and counted their obscene oil dollars. We were there to pull them from the rubble. Perhaps it is we that are insane.

Now, a new flotilla is forming and I wonder how dumb we will be this time. As always, Lebanon is quick to taunt. This time, they are sending only women, they say and as if this is some sick child's game, dare to play the "what, are you afraid of girls?" card. As I said, it would be funny if it were not so serious.

So, let me take a moment and introduce you to some of the women of Islam. Some women who believed that in murder there is salvation; in terror, there is martyrdom. These, perhaps, are similar to those that will go on the flotilla. As the men of the Mavi Marmara prayed for their 72 virgins in heaven, these women will pray to that same illusion.

Actually, according to a study in 2006, it was found that while the men are praying for their virgins, most female suicide bombers are praying for atonements for their sins. Whatever their past sins, they are nothing compared with the sin they committed in those last moments of their lives. In any case, you will shortly hear more about the women's flotilla, and when you do, please think of these women (and the nameless others that have been and most likely will be...in the name of Islam):
  • Hanadi Jaradat murdered 20 people and wounded over 60 in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in October 2003. She carefully positioned herself between two tables filled with people to maximize the damage she would cause. Among the 20 murdered people were 3 generations of 2 entire families, including two young children and a baby.
  •  On January 17, 2002, the Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum was kidnapped and murdered with the help of Amna'a Mouna, a journalist and Fatah activist from Ramallah. 
  • On August 9, 2001 a suicide attack took place in the Sbarro restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem. The suicide terrorist was brought there by Ahlam Tamimi, also a journalist, originally from Jordan and living in Ramallah. She was also involved in gathering operational intelligence prior to the attack. In addition, Ahlam was responsible for planting a bomb concealed in a beer can in a Jerusalem supermarket on July 30, 2001. To this day, as she sits in an Israeli jail, she is not repentant and has said she only wishes she had succeeded in killing more. She is one of 1,000 being demanded by the Palestinians in exchange for Gilad Shalit.
  • On August 3, 2001 an attempt was made by Iman Asha, a Nablus woman, to plant a booby-trapped package in the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station. 
  • On August 31, 2001 a booby-trapped package carried by Abir Hamdan, a resident of Nablus, exploded during her journey from Tulkarm to Nablus, apparently as a result of a 'work accident' during preparations for carrying out an attack on a restaurant in Hadera.
  • An academic and a nurse by profession, Wafa Idris was divorced without children due to her being barren, and previously worked at the Red Crescent Society. To save herself the shame of being unable to have children, Wafa blew herself up while managing to murder two people and wound 90 wounded in on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem (Jan 27, 2002). 
  • Ayat al-Akhras, was 18-years-old when her two brothers took her to Jerusalem to kill herself. She murdered two people wounded 22 others as she approached a supermarket in Jerusalem's Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood on March 29, 2002.
There are many, many others - you too can Google and find the names and atrocities. All I want to explain is that when you hear Lebanon is sending a boatload of women to Gaza, remember that it won't be Mother Theresa on those boats. It could easily be yet another Hanadi Jaradat or Wafa Idris. Because sometimes, perhaps most of the time, certainly too often, women are as ready as the men to murder in the name of Islam.








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