Thursday, July 31, 2014

When a Mosque is an Arsenal...

it is not holy, it is not a house of God, even if it is a house of allah.


Longing for the Silly, Normal, Summer Things

They glory of Facebook is that it connects you to other parts of the world so you can catch a glimpse of what they are doing. The problem is that what they are doing is so very different from my life here in Israel right now. I want to be writing about the silly normal things.

Like both Elie and Shmulik are moving apartments this summer. It has caused unbelievable stress and I've basically found myself in the middle of everything and everyone's issues. To make room for some of the changes here, in between everything else, I've been going through some boxes.

I found a beautiful dress for a baby that Aliza had once worn, long ago. I showed it to her - she's taller than I am, graceful and so young. At 14, the world is so confined around her world. She is normal - a normal 14 year old despite having lived through wars, despite seeing her brothers serve, despite the threat of sirens and news, almost daily, of casualties.

She started complaining about the dress. She doesn't like the collar and the flower. Of a dress she wore as a baby...

She is babysitting for her nephew today - she plans to play with him in the new little pool that his mother bought him...

Davidi went out the other night with his friends. He has been helping Elie pack and move his things...all normal.

I crave normal.

I have the computer open when I am at home and when I am at Elie's apartment helping him pack. In a normal world, people use the computer to play music. I keep it open to hear the sirens indicating incoming missiles. We have, at any time, three different ways to be informed - Elie's phone, my phone....

how perfectly timed...Color Red missile warning now in Otef Aza area

and another....same location

so Elie's phone, my phone, and the computer - four if you count the actual air raid siren itself to indicate an attack on Jerusalem and/or Maale Adumim.

The first thing I do in the morning, the last thing I do at night - is check the Internet...we lost three more soldiers yesterday. Each is a whole world. This is a Jewish concept. We have lost 56 worlds...how can I explain this to people outside Israel.

We don't barbecue and have sales and look forward to a long Memorial Day weekend...we dread the day, our places of entertainment are closed. We mourn to the depths of our souls...and now, every day is memorial day - every day we worry and fear and mourn.

But if that sounds despondent, then you still don't understand us - we are so proud of our soldiers, so proud of our army. Someone asked me on a scale of 1 to 10, how sure am I that Israel is 100% right in this war.

I told him 9 and he asked me to explain the one. I told him I only said 9 because if I said 10, you'd accuse me of being brainwashed, blind, and uninformed.

But I have seen pictures of the tunnels, I have seen the secondary explosions that indicate arsenals of explosives and weapons are being stored in buildings they call mosques, hospitals and homes. Years ago I said it and I'll say it again, a hospital is not an arsenal...and an arsenal is not a hospital. A school, even a United Nations sponsored one, is not a school if it is an arsenal. THREE of their schools have been confirmed to be arsenals.

The anger chokes; the pain and worry bring tears so easily today. And if I am to be honest, I resent those who post on Facebook about the wonderful, carefree days of summer without giving one stinking post, one word to my country, to the families of 56 brave soldiers who stand, stood, and fell for all that the Jewish world is.

I sit in my kitchen, looking out over the Judean hills - the same hills that Jews looked at 2,000 years ago and 3,000 years ago. This is my home, my land and I'll continue to live here with more pride than most will ever feel, even if I crave normal sometimes in the depths of summer...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saddest News Possible

This picture is making the rounds today - it breaks the heart to look at, to think what it represents. We never know when that last moment, that last time together will come...too many families in Israel are remembering that moment now, wishing that if the worst was to come, at least let them have known that last hug would have to last a lifetime...

A lifetime...without him.

They were married 10 months ago...were very much in love. She is so grateful that the photographer managed to capture this last moment, this last hug. She said they stood like this and hugged for 30 minutes...as if he knew it would have to last her a lifetime.

Random Voices from Israel - Continued

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the voices I hear coming from all over Israel...sometimes...often, I am driven to tears and have the strongest desire to make these voices heard more loudly.

11:19 After 2 hours without missiles, once again, sirens in communities nearest to Gaza.

From Miriam - a mother and grandmother living very close to the border with Gaza:
Yesterday evening the booming was relentless. My house was shaking and the walls were vibrating with 2 pictures falling. During the night it quiet down a little and there were only missiles to Shaar HaNegev and Sdot Negev very early this morning. This morning. our jets are back doing their job.
From a Canadian - posting to fellow Canadians:
A fellow Canadian posted on his status: I said I would not do this but I am just too pissed off right now not to tell you how I feel. As a usually polite Canadian I am going to shock all my friends and family living outside Israel. How would you like to be woken up at 2:30 in the morning with an air raid siren blasting in your ear? You now have less than a minute to run to a shelter? Then you hear a loud boom. Think about it the next time you decide to criticize Israeli military actions in Gaza. Think about the next time you decide to side with terrorists. Please spare me the crocodile tears for the victims in Gaza. The Arabs have made their choice. Our government and our IDF must stop this war crime against our civilians and pay for the deaths of our brave and young IDF soldiers.
From Devorah - who lives very close to Gaza - in the 8-15 second zone:

It's after 23:10 and I'm in bed. At this rate, there is no way we are going to get any sleep tonight. Between the sirens, the iron dome blowing the missiles out of the sky and the army bombing Aza.....way too noisy to sleep.
For over a week we haven't felt the IDF attacking Aza like tonight. Our home is 9 km from the fighting and it feels as though the bombing is in our front & back yard. Allow me to explain something, our home is built from cement blocks and its shaking like a leaf. The windows and doors are rattling as though someone is trying to get in. The very strong explosions are waking the young children and scaring the older ones.
Please to not misunderstand me. I am proud of our PM for continuing this necessary war. We must deal with the threat of the tunnels and rockets. We must crush the Hamas.
I just want you to understand what the residents of the south are going through.
We support the government.
We support the IDF.
We support each other...and are prepared to continue living with the noisy days and nights in order to end this immediate threat to our lives.
OK, that's it.

The Human Side of War: Part 1 - Israel

If you believed world media (which would be your first big mistake), you'd picture a huge tank with a Jewish star and faceless men in green uniforms driving over babies and women living in tents with no electricity.

Of course, 22 days after this war began, Gaza does in fact have little electricity but that happened yesterday, so we'll ignore it for now...maybe next post.

Back to the image. In this imaginary picture the media would have you believe, the women and babies are doing nothing but trying to scrape out some food while not getting in the way of that massive tank...

Yes, that's the ridiculous picture and so there are two parts to the solution needed. One is to give a picture of us and the second is to give a picture of them.

This post is about us because I am so amazingly proud of the image and reality of my country and my people. Here are some examples:

Feeding the Soldiers


The old stereotype of the Jewish mother always trying to feed her children has become reality - only it isn't just the Jewish mothers but the Jewish fathers too (and the Jewish store owners, and neighbors, and well, everyone). Early on, a friend said he went to see his son who was stationed with reserve soldiers near Gaza (one of the few blessings of having your enemies close is that you have your soldier sons (and daughters) close as well). His son told him that he had gained weight from all the food people had given him. Here are a few other stories:

A father of a soldierwho is now in Gaza told how his son was informed on Friday that his unit will not be going out for Shabbat, which was a problem because they did not have any provisions after expecting to be released to go home for the weekend. The father ran to the supermarket to buy some things, as much dips and salads as he could. Then he stopped at a shwarma place in Petach Tikva. He asked for a portion to be put into an aluminum tray and explained that it was for his son who is in Gaza without food for the Sabbath.
 

The owner said to him "what do you mean for your son? How many soldiers are in his group?" 

The father answered "70" .


The owner called all of his workers. They prepared all the shwarma they had, brought out all of their meat, fried schnitzels, prepared Moroccan salads and chips and within an hour he and all of his workers had emptied the entire restaurant and given it over to the father.


The father, a religious man who has seen acts of kindness in his life, just stood there crying and thanking him.

Love and Commitment


Love is all over Israel today - from the young to the elderly. Here are two examples. This is the second Operation Protective Edge proposal I have heard about...what better time to commit to the future than at a time when you are most worried about today.


 
And this one - some elderly Holocaust survivors have collected about 100,000 shekels for IDF soldiers. Here's a picture of a few of them holding signs that say "Dear grandchildren, come home safe" and "Take care of yourselves" and "Yashar Koach (sort of slang for "good job"), Soldiers!"



A man has donated 100 mattresses for the soldiers who are sleeping on the ground just outside Gaza. He will even join in paying to have them shipped to the soldiers.

The soldiers sleep in open fields, under tents. Neighboring communities bring them food, open their homes so the soldiers can shower, give them access to their community pools when the soldiers have some down time and despite living in a war zone in which they have anywhere from 7 to 15 seconds to find shelter, they have opened their hearts to our soldiers.

An offer of a shower and a mattress to someone who has camped outside for nearly a month is an incredible act of love.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Old Video - but very special

On their way into Gaza - a tank crew says the Traveler's Prayer - a prayer we say when embarking on a trip...a prayer for blessings of safety and success and a safe return...


How Gaza Chose a Tunnel over a School....and....


It's hard to believe that a caring government would choose to build a weapon, an attack tunnel over dozens of schools, mosques, homes and medical centers. Oh wait, we're not talking about a caring government, we're talking about Hamas. Never mind....



Attempted Terror Attack on Jerusalem Light Rail

Of all the things I have never wanted to do or see, a terror attack is quite high on the list.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. today, I was riding on the second car of the Jerusalem light rail train, heading towards Ammunition Hill (Givat HaTachmoshet). As it arrived at Damascus Gate, as far as I know, the only stop where guards are required to wear bullet-proof vests, passengers got off and on, and then suddenly there was a loud disturbance in the back of the rail car in which I was riding.

Everyone starting running forward, a few people were yelling. The doors at the front had already closed. As I looked to the rear, I saw a small cloud of smoke and heard noise coming from outside. Just to the side of the train station platform, I saw very little other than what looked like an attempt by several people to converge on something or someone while there was more yelling both outside and in the train.

The doors to the train closed. People were trying to understand what was happening. Those that had been in the back explained that an Arab had pulled out tear gas and started spraying it and then, as the doors were about to close and people were trying to get away, he ran out onto the platform and presumably beyond.

People attempted to hail the driver, who it seems ignored all signals of distress. A slight amount of the tear gas drifted forward enough to give a slight feeling of it in the air. The train moved to the next stop where many people got out. Someone hailed security. They came into the train and made everyone go to the first car. I can only hope they checked the train before it began to move.

The next stop was the same, and then we arrived at Ammunition Hill where the train was checked again.

The reaction of the people on the train was a combination of anger and shock. As terror attacks go, it was, I know, a minor event. It could have been so much worse - in fact, it is in and of itself a gift and a miracle that it wasn't worse. It could have been a bomb - there was no security person on the train with us and we were, for all intents and purposes, prisoners within a rail car that was shut down with a threat inside the car.

My hands shook as I called Shmulik to see where he was and as I called Davidi was making his way home at the same time. I wanted to tell him not to take the train, but to catch a bus, so he would not have to go through the Damascus Gate stop. He was already on the bus, so I didn't tell him about the tear gas until later.

Life is full of what could have been and it helps to focus on what was. What was, was an act of hate intended to harm, if not permanently, than at least to cause discomfort. No one would allow us to say that Arabs cannot ride the light rail - they would accuse us of apartheid behavior and so, each day, tens of thousands of Arabs go on the light rail to get to work, to school, to shop, and for medical appointments at some of the finest hospitals in the Middle East.

Many Arabs abused that privilege when they attacked the light rail stations in their neighborhoods, burning down the stations and ticketing machines, defacing the structures with graffiti that read "Death to Israel; Death to the Jews." For weeks, they have been stoning the train - so many of the windows on these clean and relatively new rail cars are shattered. The train bears these marks with stoic dignity as it travels along the route planned by some stupid city planner who forgot to take into account violence and security requirements.

And today, about 40 people were subjected to an attempted terror attack...or perhaps it was like the rockets they fire at us just a minute ago, an hour ago, and throughout this day and the last 20 days. I have always said, just because the rocket misses, doesn't mean it isn't a terror attack.

Just because a few of us probably have scratchy throats, and a few people complained of burning eyes rather than more serious injuries, doesn't mean it wasn't a terror attack.

 


ABC Fails to Report the News

In today's world of social media, anyone can report the news and usually faster than most journalists. People on the ground will tell you what is happening from the moment it happens; who needs a journalist to just report what others have already said.

We here in Israel know that the ceasefire has collapsed. It collapsed because Hamas broke it by firing rockets.  If the only thing that a journalist has to report is that the ceasefire has collapsed, why bother? We're way ahead of you on that one, ABC.

So what does a journalist have to offer in this world of instant news created onsite by non-journalists - citizen journalists, if you will. The answer should be perspective. The answer should be insight. The answer should never be inaccuracies and it should never be the agenda of the media itself.

Sadly, that is what is happening repeatedly in this war. News agencies are showing their preference and that is to report (usually misreport) the sensational.

Yes, Israel announced that it was resuming attacks, but the second part of ABC's tweet is malicious and inaccurate. No, our resuming attacks on Gaza was a direct result of Gaza's "resuming" attacks on us during a ceasefire. That action - GAZA firing on Israeli cities, ended the temporary ceasefire.




Joan Rivers...Subtle She's Not

No, not subtle, but she says what so many of us want to say. We want to look at the media and call them idiots for the stupid questions they ask.

Joan Rivers...thank you!

WHO broke the ceasefire?

I'll give you a hint...it wasn't us....in fact...


Terrorism...Simply, Clearly, Without Question...Terrorism

Cleared for Publication

Statement from Israel Police Spokesperson:

Israel Border Police stop car loaded with explosives on its way to a terror attack.

Israel Border policemen stopped a suspected car this morning (Sunday) near Beitar Illit. The policemen noticed the driver behaving strangely and ordered him to shut off his engine. After the drive hesitated, one of the policemen reached into the car to turn off the engine, and the drive started driving with the policemen half in the car.
After a few meters, the policeman managed to draw his weapon, aim it at the suspect and order him to stop, The suspect stopped the car and was arrested, and handed over the the Shabak for interrogation.
The car was checked by Israeli police bomb squads and in it were gas balloons and pipe bombs filled with explosives. Large forces arrived at the area to neutralize the bomb.

The Emotions of War

Fear is having your elderly parents driving to a doctor's appointment and being responsible for calling them to take cover from Hamas rockets. Fear is getting a phone call from your son that there had been a rocket attack on your parents' city, but for some reason, the web application didn't ring in my office. Fear is hearing the rocket hit an open field, just one of many rockets that breaks the ceasefire we agreed to honor. Fear is not knowing where your child is when a siren indicating a missile has been fired at you begins all around you.

Bewilderment is trying to understand how the UN can condemn us while ignoring Hamas breaking ceasefire after ceasefire. It is the endless wonder why journalists from major media outlets like BBC fall, again and again, for fake pictures coming from Syria as the publish them with captions saying they are from Gaza. Bewilderment is what we feel when we are doing our best to avoid civilian casualties; they are doing their best to cause civilian casualties, and we are the ones asked why so many are dying. Bewilderment is looking at the clear and overwhelming pattern of a list of 600 Palestinian dead.

Anger is knowing as you sit in Jerusalem, your elderly parents are running to take shelter from Gaza rockets. Anger is knowing that we have lost more soldiers; that more civilians have been hurt in a war we did not start. Anger is knowing that we are showing tremendous restraint. That at any moment, we could give in to the anger, surrender to the worldwide condemnations and do exactly what they are accusing us of doing. No, we are NOT committing genocide, but we could simply by doing what Gaza is attempting to do. They are firing countless rockets - probably close to 3,000 by now, at our cities. If we were to fire 3,000 rockets indiscriminately at Gaza, it would be rubble from the northern most point to the southernmost point.

Love is the feeling coming from all over Israel. We can't do enough to help each other in these difficult times. All over Israel, people are collecting toys for the children in southern areas; food and necessary items for the soldiers. El Al has flown parents of wounded soldiers in for free and flown to Turkey to bring our stranded citizens home.

You Gotta Check Your Sources...

This is just one of so many pictures that have been shown to the world in the past...but are being recycled now. Supposedly reputable news media are falling for this almost daily.

This time, instead of using the fake picture, we can use BBC to prove it is fake. A bloodied, suffering woman...no, not Gaza as they claim, but Syria over a year ago.


The Simplest of Truths


We've all seen this, heard this, felt this, known it is the truth...and yet it is worth sharing, worth reminding the world. It is the simplest of truths...


Arabs in Israel

can be anything they want to be...
  • a member of Knesset
  • a high ranking soldier in the army
  • beauty queen
  • doctor
  • lawyer
  • teacher
Jews in Arab countries can be....attacked, hounded, hated, murdered...


What is UNRWA?

What UNRWA is supposed to be, is a special UN organization created to provide aid and relief to Palestinian refugees living, primarily, in Gaza. What it has turned into, however, is a far different story.

UNRWA today is a blatantly pro-Palestinian UN group whose main reason for existence is to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee status, supposedly maintaining schools in Gaza. Again, the reality is far different. The textbooks they use are filled with hate of Israel; no attempt is being made to instill any values other than those of Islam and Hamas.

In the last war, we knew that the schools were being used as launching grounds and arsenals. In the last war, a team of UN members was killed because they chose to live or work in an apartment above which Hamas was firing rockets. Trust me, I have heard these rockets being launched and landing - you cannot mistake the sound of this for something else.

The first time I ever heard it, I was about 2 miles from the Lebanese border in a lovely little apartment in a beautiful hillside village vacationing with my children. The two explosions I heard were chilling and I knew the very instant I heard it that a rocket had been fired. Actually, to be honest, I thought I heard two rockets being fired. I was later told that I was close enough to hear the exit sound - the explosion at lift off, which was at least two miles away, and the explosion upon impact, which was about 8 miles away.

No way was this UN group unaware that their roof was being used as a launching site. Israeli artillery was ordered to fire on the rocket launching site...and they did. The UN never alerted Israel to the location of its team and they died - because like too many in Gaza, they decided that it was safe to remain next to a Hamas military squad in action.

This time, UNRWA was smart enough to come forward and admit that they had "found" missiles in their classrooms. They claim the school was empty and they claim they didn't know the missiles were there. And then, it seems the missiles had "gone missing" - a polite way of saying they were most likely given back to Hamas.

That was the story at two schools...at another school, days before a great tragedy happened, UNRWA was warned by Israel to evacuate a particular school. It was in a bad place - right between an advancing Israeli force and a known Hamas hotbed. Rockets were being launched at hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians...perhaps the very rockets that had been hidden in UNRWA's schools...UNRWA decided to ignore the warning, leaving itself as the front protection of Hamas.

What is known is that the Israeli army was firing at Hamas and Hamas was firing at the Israelis and a mortar or a shell fell in the school and killed at least 15. What is not yet know is why UNRWA refused to heed Israel's warning, why they allowed Hamas to store missiles in their classrooms, and what is also not yet know is whose ammunition fell on the school.

It almost doesn't matter - the tragedy still happened and children died. And yet as UNRWA demands, there should indeed be an investigation - of UNRWA itself.

It is time that this absurd organization be shut down. If Gaza has enough cement to build dozens of tunnels leading many kilometers in all directions, it has enough money to build a few schools and hospitals and staff them. UNRWA is not a neutral force attempting to do good things; it is an arm of Hamas, raising its children to hate, hiding its weapons, and allowing itself to provide human shields as Hamas attempts to attack Israel's citizens.

It is time to dismantle this organization now.



Friday, July 25, 2014

Gaza and Shabbat

Dear Gaza -

Yes, you're firing rockets at us, filling this Friday with hate and threats as you have each of the days for the last 18 days, Israelis and Jews are working to counter that hatred with one of the oldest and greatest gifts we have. 

And on this day, as you fire at Israel, the challah is baking in my home, filling the house with the most amazing smells. The salmon is cooling; two quiches are in the oven. The candles have been filled with oil. I still need to shower and set the table but already the feeling is there...Soon...soon peace will come. No, not with you. I don't believe anymore that we will see peace between our peoples. Not in my lifetime and most definitely not in yours.

You can take so many things away from us, Gaza. You can take our sons to war; you can take our children out of the sun for fear of an incoming rocket attack. You have taken 33 of our sons; made too many children fatherless. Above all, that pain could cripple us...but we won't let it because even as we mourn, we continue to live.

You can take away our sense of calm, here and there. But ultimately, you'll fail, Gaza, for the simple reason that you can't take our faith. You can't take what binds us together as a people. Each day, incredible acts if kindness are being done here to push back the ugliness you spread. This morning, I joined three members our our city council as men, women, children, even a small toddler, walked in with packages of toys and snacks for the children of Sderot.

Stores donated huge cartons of food; toys stores donated thousands of shekels worth of beautifully new toys. Children wrote letters to accompany the games, the stuffed animals. One child even gave his skateboard.

My people, the people of Israel, has stood the test of history again and again, outlasting aggressors like you for centuries. They are all gone and if I had to bet with history, I'd say you'll be gone too.

They left little or nothing in their wake, just as you have. What culture have you added to the world? What great innovations? What scientific or medical breakthroughs have you brought to this world? What nations praise you for the times you have helped them?

All you've done, really, is cultivate hate - and most of that is sadly within your own children. You have perfected the art of committing suicide, I'll grant you that, but you have not perfected the art of living. You have perfected building tunnels to attack while we have built an amazing rocket defense system to protect. I

So this Friday, as last week and as next week, my house is filled with the knowledge that peace will come soon - the special peace of Shabbat. That is what we fight for, that is what we will protect, that is what is coming...soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Child Abuse

More and more reports are coming in of Palestinians sending 12 and 13 year old children with RPGs to fight Israeli soldiers. Of Palestinians literally holding children in front of them and even some carrying infants on their backs as they go to fight.

This reminds me of what the Americans found when they fought in Vietnam. What SICK minds...they are endangering their own children. I have seen video footage of Palestinians shooting from homes, schools, and hospitals. I have seen videos of rockets stored in mosques so how is it possible I can still be shocked by the barbarity coming from Gaza?

In what world do caring parents allow their children to be used this way...in what world do people use their own children this way?

And what, what in God's name will our soldiers do when confronted with these children? For all that the world is accusing us of all manner of barbarity, deep down they know it is nonsense. They all know it - it even slipped into Obama's recent remarks - he condemned the number of Palestinian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives. We love life.

In 2012, Hamas warned, "We love death more than you love life."

"We tell them, in as much as you love life, the Muslim loves death and martyrdom." Palestinian Authority cleric Mufti Sheikh Ikrimeh Sabri (2005)


Nasrallah of Hezbollah said it too: "We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win because they love life and we love death."

They admit they love death and martyrdom. They admit they are firing on our cities. They are sending their children to fight a war against some of the best trained soldiers in the world and offering them the choice - kill a child or die...some of our soldiers will die and some may well kill the child to save themselves and their brothers-in-arms.

And the world is condemning us?

Ultimately, Vietnam defeated America in part because American soldiers could not bring themselves to make the choice they needed to make...Israeli soldiers will not have this option. If America lost the Vietnamese War, South Vietnam would become communist and be lost...but nothing much would really change for America. No one thought America was fighting for its very existence.

If they pulled back from Vietnam...it didn't change the lives or geography or topology of what the US looked like...

And so again, the Palestinians have miscalculated. Behind every Israeli soldier on the front line...is the land of Israel and their families. There is no place to pull back to...no place to surrender.

The Palestinians could not have made it more obvious. Today they fired more rockets at Tel Aviv - a whole barrage. Pieces of the shot down rocket fell in the very center of the city.

So we accept it. They have left us no choice. Let the world condemn us because Palestinians send their children to fight while they hide in bunkers and tunnels like rodents.

The Art of the Media

Not much comment is needed here. I dedicate this to those who dare to call US scum...
 

Even the Banks Show Love

The first time I felt love come from a bank...okay, it wasn't a bank exactly but it was from one of the top people who work at our bank...was when Elie was in the Cast Lead War and I told myself I had to work (kind of like I'm telling myself), so I called the bank about something and got Rachel.

Rachel seems to be the single most amazing worker at my bank - everything is, "Did you speak to Rachel?" or "I'm sorry, Rachel isn't in today, can you call back tomorrow?"

So Rachel answered and I said hello and before I could tell her what was needed, she asked me how my son was, where he was. I told her that I didn't know where he was, that it looked like they would send him (they sent him the next day) and I hadn't spoken to him today. She told me things would be okay, and then she blessed him. I could barely speak; my eyes were filled with tears (see Drat, I Lost It).

I have to head home now...it's Thursday afternoon and I promised to join a member of the City Council tomorrow for a couple of hours as my city comes together to donate toys and candies to children in Sderot who have spent the last few weeks mostly in or very close to bomb shelters. I had to check the bank for a second and then was prepared to leave.

Instead, I am sitting here writing this post - yet another post today...because as I opened the website to check the balance, my brilliant and beautiful and caring daughter sighed and said, "look what they wrote."


DISCOUNT BANK IS WITH THE RESIDENTS OF THE SOUTH

All over Israel, there is such an incredible sense of unity and love. Sure, we fight among ourselves but let someone from outside threaten us and there is no bond stronger on this planet than the one that binds the people of Israel.


UNRWA Guilty of Attempted MURDER

In two schools in Gaza (wait, because they'll probably find more rockets in other places), weapons were found. It was reported that 20 missiles had been found in the basement of just one of the schools, more in another.

Shortly afterwards, it was reported that UNRWA had turned the missiles over to the local authority - which might sound like a logical thing to do in most places. I mean, if you found a rocket in your basement, wouldn't you call the police...fast? I would.

But, in this case, they didn't call the local equivalent of the police because there isn't any - they called Hamas...recognized by normal, sane human beings to be a terrorist organization.

Unwilling or too embarrassed to admit this, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could only admit that the missiles had "gone missing." Gone missing...what a passive way to phrase the disappearance of such a massive weapon...a puppy can go missing but a missile? Twenty missiles?

Actually, what we are pretty sure happened, based on their previous admission, is that the weapons were given to Hamas.

If you hand a gun to a killer and he points it at someone and kills them...no wait, let's be more accurate.

If you SEE someone kill another person and THEN walk over to you and you hand them another gun...no wait...let's be exact.

If you call up a known killer and say, listen, I think I found 20 of your guns...come get them...and the killer (or in this case killers) come and take the guns and go out and start shooting...there is a good chance you will be arrested for aiding and abetting - in short, being a partner in the murder. You knew the person had killed before; you knew the person wanted to kill again. Knowing all this, you handed the killers guns. You share in all that is done with those rockets...I mean guns.

Today, Hamas fired several rockets at large areas in central and southern Israel. With the grace of God and Iron Dome, no one was killed - that makes it attempted murder.

I am not a local authority; I cannot arrest anyone - certainly not in Gaza. But I accuse UNRWA of attempted murder of roughly four million Israelis. As the head of the organization, I reject UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's claim that the missiles have "gone missing" and hold him responsible.

He owes the State and people of Israel not just an explanation, but an apology. He can start by dismantling UNRWA - a corrupt organization that has repeatedly aided and abetted terror groups in Gaza.

Why a Hospital IS a Legitimate Target..

There are those who continue to cry about disproportional responses and the injuring of civilians. So, if Gaza had wounded, where would they take them to?

In a normal world, you'd take them to a hospital...but in Gaza, a hospital is just another building from which to fire at Israel. People seem to be horrified that Israel is firing at a hospital. What amazes me is why the world isn't horrified that Hamas is using hospitals to store explosives, rockets, weapons...

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was angry that Hamas had used UNRWA schools as arsenals. He said, "those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children, UN employees working in such facilities and anyone using the UN schools as shelter." Sadly, I didn't hear him condemn the fact that UNRWA gave the rockets BACK to Hamas, thus proving where their true sympathies and support go.

He didn't mention that the same is true of hospitals. He should have. And I didn't hear him commend Israel for doing all it can to avoid civilian casualties. Here's a video showing an example of this - a hospital - from which shots are fired. Israel warned them to evacuate the hospitals. Two days later, it checked...are all the wounded out...upon confirmation - the hospital was blown up...but watch carefully - the first hit is ours...the secondary explosions are a result of massive amounts of weapons there. 

Four years later, I say again - a hospital that has missiles in it is not a hospital but an arsenal. A school, a mosque, a home - that is used to shelter weapons is an arsenal and a legitimate target.


The Love of Israel

Flags and signs are going up all over Israel - on cars, on buildings, homes and stores...each is a message. A message to our country, to our soldiers, even a message to each other.

Some thank our soldiers; some say we are with them and encourage them to be strong and safe. Some simply say Israel - it is enough. We understand the rest.

Today as I went to my office on Yaffa Street, considered the center of Jerusalem, I noticed that there were, once again, flags flying all along the way. Flags are put up around Independence Day and for some special occasions. In some parts of Jerusalem, as the nation's capital, flags of other nations are put up to welcome dignitaries. For all that the Pope's recent visit was all about the Palestinians and a slap to most Israelis, we welcomed the Pope with the Vatican's flag, fools that we are.

I've seen flags from many countries flying here over the years but today is all about us. When it's about us - there are usually two flags flying. Today, there were three. The flag of Israel, the flag of Jerusalem, and this one...a flag with the symbol of the Israel Defense Forces! 

Israel is so proud of its soldiers and its people who have bravely withstood the bombardment of over 2,000 rockets from Gaza.

A short ago, the FAA canceled the flight ban - it was absurd from the beginning. Someone said there's a regulation that requires them to cancel flights for a period of 24 hours of a missile hits within a certain proximity.

Twenty-four hours later, the ban was indeed canceled and shortly after that announcement was made, the Palestinians tried again - they fired several rockets at central Israel. Those that needed to be shot down were stopped by Iron Dome, the rest allowed to fall in open spaces.

At this point, I'm exhausted - it's been a hard week and I have barely been able to concentrate on anything else but the news. But there is something so amazing about seeing Jerusalem decked out in flags. It's a message to
ourselves. US Secretary of State Kerry is here (or was). UN Secretary General Ban is here (or was). There are no US flags flying in the center of Jerusalem and surely no UN flags here.

Only our flags because ultimately, we have a mission to accomplish. It is our obligation to keep our country safe, to defend itself.

What's Wrong with the UN Human Rights Council?

Where do I begin? The AJC explains....

THIS IS WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The UN Human Rights Council just passed a resolution that criticizes Israel and, shockingly, absolves Hamas of any role or responsibility in the current conflict. 29 nations voted for the resolution while the U.S. opposed and 17 countries abstained.

“For anyone interested in knowing what’s wrong with the UN’s preeminent human rights watchdog, today’s vote is the perfect illustration,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. 


“Because of the ‘automatic majority,’ Israel can’t get a fair hearing,” Harris continued. “Instead, Israel is held responsible for a conflict solely triggered by Hamas.”

The Most Guarded Tank in Gaza

Not really - but it is certainly one of the most protected tanks in Gaza and probably the world...this, and all the other Israeli tanks (with or without the pictures on them) are protected first and foremost by the Protector of Israel, who neither sleeps nor slumbers.

And because each is protected by the love and gratitude of the nation of Israel, including our children - who have been sending pictures and letters to our soldiers.

And as you can see, not only do we love our soldiers, our soldiers love us and feel the love of a nation.



From a Father to His Son

This song was written by a father many years ago with the hope that all would be well, and his son would never be called upon to serve and fight as he was doing at the time.

Years later, his son has been called up; now wears the uniform of Israel. With pride and pain, his father now sings this song with him...

Things will be good, yes it will...Yehiye Tov...


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Between a Rock and a Rocket

Look at the picture below...

A siren sounded in Beersheva and a driver got out of his car. He saw another car stop and a father with an infant in his arms got out and quickly bent over near a wall on the side.

A few seconds later, a stranger came, the man you see here in the black shirt. One doesn't know the other. The man in the black shirt placed himself in front of the father, shielding the baby with his body...there is none like the people of Israel...

Touched by this beautiful site, the driver took the picture and wrote that he was so proud of Israel to have such people in it. 

I Need To Work

There. I wrote it. My mind is so preoccupied. It does a few things...and then I come back and check the news. Which is so stupid because I have a site opened which will automatically beep if there is an incoming missile attack. Already there have been several today.

My hands close the page and my brain begins to focus on this long document that needs to be combined with another, fused and edited and then finished and delivered. I still have a proposal for a new client; I have to check on that new writer. I need to outline the new project that we closed last week and decide whether I'll do the work or bring in a writer.

The document stares back at me from one monitor, while my eyes move to the second monitor and without thinking, I check the news...which is stupid because I would hear beeping and there is none. The heading would change from Color Red to ALERT - ALERT - ALERT...but it's quiet for these last few minutes.

And so I go back to work...and then after a few minutes, I go back again to check.

I can only be glad that I am my own boss, that I bill per hour and so will likely bill only a few minutes per hour because...I check the news...which is stupid because...

"I need to work", says my head.

"But my country is at war; we have over 120 soldiers that have been wounded. There's a funeral I wanted to go to happening right now; families sitting in mourning," answers my heart.

The human brain can only take so much, my heart acknowledges wisely to itself. There are so many things the brain simply can't understand. "Give yourself a break."

"I'm not a soldier; nothing I can do will help," answers the brain, "I might as well work."

"How can you work at a time like this?" Asks the heart with all the understanding only a heart can have. It understands the brain's distress, it feels it too. "Give yourself a break. You don't have to post every missile attack, every siren, every death. You think you are the only one who knows how to use Facebook?"

"No, of course not. Look at the Muqata! He's posting everything and where DOES he get all that information so fast," my brain responds.

"Well, you can't be the Muqata," says my heart, "duh. NO one can be the Muquata. That Jameel is...well, anyway, you're only human."

"What, and Jameel is not? And what about the Brian from London guy, and the Israellycool? You think they're sitting around not posting stuff?"

"Didn't you say you need to work?" asks my heart.

"Yeah, I need to work....did you hear about the soldier who proposed to his girlfriend right there in the field?"

"Yes, it was a beautiful story. And you posted it. Now close Facebook."

"But what if something happens?" my heart asks. "I'm just going to check one more time..."

Tweeting with Twits

I've been tweeting with twits for days now, and I'm so tired...as an active Twitter participant, I've been watching and responding for days. Three common things are coming my way: 

A wave of anti-Semitic comments 

I've received several anti-Semitic comments (a huge number coming from Ireland) in which they say that Hitler didn't kill enough Jews, etc.

Historically inaccurate comments

So many of the comments are made by people who hear reports on the news but know nothing of the actual history of Israel. One person wrote that the Palestinians are the true Jews, and that we Jews today are actually not the true Jews. Another claims that Israel is built on stolen land - one even said "Tel Aviv" to explain why Hamas is firing at Tel Aviv. This is further proof that we are indeed fighting for our existence; that it really has nothing to do with 1967 and everything to do with 1948.

One uninformed gentleman from Ireland even informed me that the cause of this was the settlements dating all the way back to the creation of Israel...that would indeed be Tel Aviv. I informed him that the wars of 1948 and 1956, and the establishment of the PLO in 1964 had little to do with settlements, which only began, according to some, after 1967. 

Intentional mistruths

And the final group of comments comes from those that intentionally blur the truth. Various tweets have suggested that Hamas had bombed Ben Gurion airport (they didn't); that Israel was using chemical weapons (we're not); that the rockets are harmless (they aren't); that the Palestinians want peace (I've seen no evidence of this); and that we are targeting Gazan schools (only the ones with rockets in them and only after we do our best to confirm that they are empty). 

Worst of all has been the crude language used by so many, particularly young Arab men who think it is their right to write abusive and obscene comments to women.

Another one I found incredibly offensive was a tweet made by a British MP who suggests that if he lived in Gaza, he'd be firing rockets. In other words, a normal citizen of Gaza has the right to fire rockets at Israeli citizens. 

Isn't that amazing. He has the nerve to suggest that Gaza missile attacks are justified. This from a lawmaker? Does he understand that according to international law, the firing of rockets into cities is illegal? No, apparently the idiot doesn't understand this basic concept. 

And to make sure you understand, he uses the German "I am a Palestinian" when what he actually should be writing is that he's an idiot. And then he says the West must decide which side it is on. Canada has firmly condemned Gaza. The United States, though urging Israel to show restraint, has firmly come out against the rocket fire against Israeli citizens, as has Germany. 

The fact that David Ward is free to justify Palestinian violence bothers me less than the fact that he was elected to the position he holds. 

And for the record, Mr. Ward, if you shoot a rocket at Israeli civilians, that makes you a criminal and/or a terrorist. It also makes you a very justified target. Go for it. I encourage you sincerely. Words are so cheap and easy. Go on, put your body where your mouth is.

As for the British Parliament - do you truly allow people to promote mass murder to serve in your halls?

Wait, what am I talking about, we have this same thing here in Israel, don't we. Here's Haneen Zoabi, an Arab member of the Israel parliament as she blasts the very institution that gives her a microphone...from which she says we have no right to exist and, like the idiot from Britain, justifies the violence and hatred that started this war.

This is War...

Israelis seem to love to declare operations. I can't count how many operations I've lived through in the 21 years since I moved here. Some of the names, especially when translated

Sirens being heard in Israeli communities surrounding Gaza now.

when translated into

More sirens indicating incoming rockets for Israeli communities surrounding Gaza now.

into English. Some are poignant. Like Operation Shuvu Achim, Operation Return Brothers, which was conducted to search for three kidnapped and murdered Israeli teens - Elad, Gilad, and Naftali.

Some lend themselves to jokes. I won't even begin to list what some of my friends wrote on Facebook when it was announced that the working name of this current conflict was Tsuk Eitan - Protective Edge.

But Israel is making a mistake by continuing to call this an Operation and not a War. I don't now the legal ramifications (national and international) that relate to what a conflict is called. I know some of the detrimental effects that resulted during the Second Lebanon War because recognition of this status was only conferred after the "operation" ended.

But from a psychological point of view, and certainly from an international perspective, we are involved in a war...and not JUST a war, a war they began by shooting rockets at us (or more specifically, drastically increasing the number of rockets).

A war is something that takes place between two entities. Each side is fighting - either by the rules or not, but still, two sides are fighting. An Operation is one conducted by a country - with no inferred or action required by the other side.

More sirens - Israeli communities surrounding Gaza now.

This is most definitely not a one-sided operation by Israel. Perhaps, we started Operation Protective Edge - but Hamas and the Gazans started this war. Call it what it is...

Israel is once again fighting a war. 

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

God Bless This Man

This man is our answer to all those who say Israel is an apartheid land. His name, may God bless him, is Rasan Alian. He is a member of the Druze community in Israel.

He is also a Colonel in the army of Israel, Commander of the Golani Brigade. A few days ago, he was moderately wounded, mostly in the face, including his eyes. He was evacuated, fully conscious, to the hospital, knowing that his men were still fighting, probably knowing that several had already been killed in action.

As the doctors were taking care of him, he was demanding that they release him so that he could get back to his men. They wanted him to stay in the hospital; he demanded that he be released. He was ordered to stay in the hospital and still he argued.

Today, he was released from the army and went straight back to his men. He is dedicated to the land of Israel and the State of Israel. He is not Jewish but he understands that only in this land, of all the nations in the Middle East, only in Israel is there such incredible respect for individuals as human beings. There is no apartheid in Israel - if there were, an intelligent and dedicated man such as Colonel Rasan Alian would not dedicate his life to serving it.

May God bless Rasan Alian with a full and speedy recovery. May God and Rasan continue to watch over the blessed soldiers of Golani as they continue defending our country.

Thank you, Colonel - from every Israeli. You have our thanks, our respect, and our love.


Terrorists Again Using Ambulances

As in previous wars, Hamas is again dressing their armed forces in civilian clothes, Israeli army uniforms...and even using ambulances as transportation. How do you fight an enemy that hides among civilians, dresses as civilians, and abuses ambulances this way.

What is the Proportional Response to This?

This is a house of a family in Yehud. This morning there was a siren in central areas of Israel, including where my parents live. A short while later, we heard there'd been a direct hit on a house. Yes, Iron Dome can miss...

The family had taken shelter in the bomb shelter, and emerged, safe but in shock, to find this. What is the proportional response that Israel is expected to deliver to Gaza? Should we find some innocent family and blow up their home while they are inside? That would be proportional.

Of course, if we did that, the Gaza family would die because they don't build bomb shelters. In fact, the whole neighborhood could blow because inside many Palestinian homes in Gaza, and certainly under them in an intricate maze of tunnels, are thousands of explosives and missiles.

Or, should we do what we are doing? Target the source of this horrible act. Shouldn't we try to find where the missiles are launched from? Shouldn't we try to find the rocket launchers?

Civilized people would agree - and that's what we are doing. The problem is - what happens when the rocket is launched from  a school, a mosque, a home, or even a hospital. Hamas has done all of this.

It isn't all about the numbers...it's about the morality of what we are doing. In this, I agree with what Bibi Netanyahu told some ambassadors today.




For These, We Cry

I promised myself I wouldn't do this. I did it when Elie was in the Cast Lead War and it nearly broke me...I haven't done it so far...but I saw this picture and needed to share it.

These are our soldiers, our sons...may their memory be blessed...

Sergeant Max Steinberg, from the Golani Brigade, (24) from Be'er Sheva. He was promoted from the rank of Corporal to the rank of Sergeant after his death. He was an American citizen who came to Israel reluctantly, and fell in love with the country.

Staff Sergeant Shachar Tase, from the Golani Brigade, (20) from Pardesiya. He was promoted from the rank of Sergeant to the rank of Staff Sergeant after his death.

Staff Sergeant Daniel Pomerantz, from the Golani Brigade, (20) from Kfar Azar. He was promoted from the rank of Sergeant to the rank of Staff Sergeant after his death.

Sergeant Shon Mondschein, from the Golani Brigade, (19) from Tel - Aviv. He was promoted from the rank of Corporal to the rank of Sergeant after his death.

Sergeant Ben Itzhak Oanounou, from the Golani Brigade, (19) from Ashdod. he was promoted from the rank of Corporal to the rank of Sergeant after his death.

Staff Sergeant Oren Simcha Noach, from the Golani Brigade, (22) from Hoshaya. The IDF spokesperson conveys the family's request to avoid media coverage




Why Schools Are Targeted in the Middle East

Both Hamas and Israel are apparently targeting civilian buildings...or buildings that should, by all that is decent, be considered safe. A few days ago, UNRWA announced it had found 20 rockets stored in its basement in Gaza. Apparently, they have learned a lesson from the last war. If you store rockets, your site will be considered an arsenal, not a safe haven.

We know why Israel is targeting Gaza schools. Here is the reason why...
Now ask yourself why Hamas is targeting Israeli schools...the answer appears right below this video:


So, why does Hamas target Israeli schools....not because they contain rockets, not because we are launching missiles from within school yards. They target our schools...because that is where children learn and play.

Talking to the Media...

Apparently, the media has somehow found me, or at least some have. Recently I spoke with BBC Radio for a few minutes. They told me the interview would be non-political and would focus on how it felt to be in Israel at this time, and what it was like when the sirens sound.

The aired interview was 5 minutes long. The recorded interview was approximately 14 minutes long. The first few questions were about the siren...and then came the politics.

The aired recording was about 1 minutes on the siren situation and 4 minutes on the politics.

A reporter from Brazil contacted me; a reporter from Sweden. Each asked me to answer some questions. I've decided to post the answers here...in the next few posts...

A Response to Brazil

Talking to the Swedes

Talking to the Swedes

I was asked to be interviewed for the Swedish News Agency...they sent me some questions and I began to write...the last question was very open - tell us anything that you want...and so I did. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I tend to write long. I intentionally tried to keep my responses short. So - tell me how I did...

1. Can you describe your feeling sending your children to war?

No mother can be happy when her son goes to war. It is not something we dream of, not something we hope for. The first time my son was sent to battle in 2008, I knew that it would forever affect him, and it has. My feelings were a combination of so many things. I was terrified. I cried all the time. I wanted him home and not fighting in Gaza, especially given the way Hamas fights.

2. Is this anguish something that you discuss with other mothers?

Yes, every soldier's mother I know in Israel is feeling the same worry, the same concern. We comfort each other and share both our concerns and the knowledge that we have no choice, just as our sons don't. They are fighting to defend our families, our country. In this war, Gaza has fired rockets at almost all of Israel – well over 1,500 rockets. One came very close to our city. It landed in an open field just to the east. Three others were shot down by our Iron Dome missile defense system.

3. How do you cope with it?

We cope with it by knowing that they have no choice. We didn't choose this war; we didn't start it. No nation would accept this behavior for a single day; we have suffered it for years. Many nations support us in our right to defend ourselves and know that twice already, we accepted and implemented a ceasefire, only to have Hamas break it within a short time.

4. How do you follow your children? Mobile? Skype?

I'd rather not say – I would not want to compromise the safety of my children or anyone elses child and I have to hope you understand that.

5. What do they express when they have to go into war?

When my oldest son returned from the last two wars (really a war and an operation), he expressed his feeling that because we gave in to the world's demand for a ceasefire, that we'd be right back to where we were; that once again, we would be attacked by missiles. He was right. We are being hit by over 100 rockets a day. My elderly parents stay close to their bomb shelter so that they can get there quickly. Instead of telling you if there is traffic ahead or that you should not drive and text at the same time, the electronic signs on the highways tell you that if you hear a siren, you should safely stop on the side of the road. Our sons express their concern for what is happening at home and hope that this time the world will truly understand that Israel has the same right to defend itself as every other nation does. I would ask the people of Sweden what they would do to a country that fired 100 rockets in a single day at Stockholm.

6. What do your children do in the army?

Again, I do not feel that this is a question that I can safely answer. No mother should be asked to endanger her son.

7. Do they tell you stories about what they experience?
Years later, my oldest son still tells me about his experiences. You cannot go to war and remain untouched. This was never something that I wanted my son to experience but sadly, until the Palestinians truly want peace, it is reality here. As in the past, even a few days ago, we agreed to a ceasefire only to have the Palestinians break it within hours. Today, they attempted to attack a small village in the south; moments ago, they fired another barrage of rockets. If they truly wanted a ceasefire, we would, as we have twice already, accepted it.

Pls add what you like on the current situation.

Today and tomorrow and perhaps more times in the days to come, we will be burying precious and beautiful sons of Israel. We cherish our children. We spend millions of dollars to build bomb shelters for our civilians. The Palestinians spend millions of dollars (and 700 tons of cement at least) to build tunnels used to attack us; they spend a lot of money building secure bunkers for their leaders. Not only do they leave their people unprotected, they hide missiles and explosives in civilian structures like hospitals, schools, mosques and homes. Even the UN knows this to be true. UNRWA admitted that they found rockets in one of their schools. But instead of destroying the rockets, they gave them back to Hamas – which has taken credit for many of the rockets fired at Israel.

The Palestinians claim that over 400 people have been killed. Yesterday, 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in battle. Israel was in mourning last night. So many tears and so much pain…sad music on the radio, so many stories about the boys we lost. And last night, as I was sitting in bed ready to go to sleep, for over 45 minutes, I listened to the Arabs from several neighborhoods setting off fireworks and celebrating. I saw reports that they were celebrating in many Arab countries – because they managed to kill 13 of our soldiers.

I thought it was so interesting, so telling of the cultural differences between Israel and the Arab countries. Apparently the deaths of 13 Israelis overshadows the pain of supposedly losing 400 people.

As I was setting my phone to ring in the morning for an early meeting, I saw that the Arabs were claiming that they had kidnapped an Israeli soldier. They even claimed they had his ID number and name to prove it. Israelis were devastated and terrified…but also skeptical. Sure enough, it was yet another example of Hamas' psychological warfare and mind games. The name they had was one of the 13 dead soldiers.

I have heard that Sweden is very anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic country. That saddens me greatly. It is too easy to decide who is wrong or right, weaker or stronger based on numbers. Yes, more Palestinians have died in this latest conflict than Israelis – but you need to look at the reasons why. Both sides are shooting rockets and missiles. Ours are guided and as precise as we can possibly make them. Several times, we have called off missions because our pilots identified civilians in the area. If our goal was to kill innocents, based on the number of rockets we have fired, there would be tens of thousands of dead in Gaza.

Theirs are not guided and not precise at all. While we are targeting military sites carefully chosen, they are simply aiming at our cities and hoping to kill. Why are they failing? Because we build bomb shelters and extensive sirens to alert people. We have trained our children, from the time that they are very young – that a siren means you have to run into a safe room. A little bit older, and they know that if there is no safe room, they have to lay down on the floor and cover their heads.

And we have spent billions of dollars to develop a defense system that is catching about 90% of the rockets we calculate will hit a populated area. Those that will fall in empty fields are not targeted; those coming within range of a city, are shot down. Today, we missed a rocket and it smashed into a house with a 4 month old baby and her toddler-aged sister. Both were with their grandmother in the bomb shelter and were not harmed; the house was basically destroyed.

Before people in Sweden judge Israel and demand that we accept a ceasefire on any terms, ask yourself if someone bombed Stockholm on Monday, as Hamas launched rockets at Tel Aviv several times today, would you accept an agreement that would have them coming back a year or two later to bomb you again?

In 2008/2009 my son was called to war to stop the rockets flying at Israel. In 2012, my son was called to war to stop the rockets flying. It is now 2014. Are we to do this every two years? Wait until they start firing hundreds of rockets at us in a few months or years and then mobilize our sons again and again and again? Is this what Sweden would do?


A Response to Brazil

A journalist in Brazil contacted me and said he wanted to ask a few questions. I looked him up on Twitter - he's asking to speak mostly to Gazans...I guess a crumbled building in Gaza (even if it is the site of a former arsenal or Hamas leader's home) is more exciting than a hole in a soccer field or school yard. No matter that moments before, there were children playing there. The pictures show only that there are no children's bodies - this we celebrate. It's worth the loss of all the media moments in the world not to have our children hurt. That's why our children are not let free to play more than a few seconds run from shelter...that's why we have shelters!

This is what is supposed to appear in Portuguese "for the largest newspaper in capital of Brazil":

July 15, 2014 - before the ground invasion

1- What is the situation in city you live in? Are alarms sounding also there?

I live in Maale Adumim, which is about 5 kilometers to the east of Jerusalem. We have had several sirens here but overall, we are luckier than most other areas of the country. We have been ordered to have our bomb shelters ready and when the sirens sound, we have 90 seconds to get into the shelter. This is much better than the areas close to Gaza, where they have only 15 seconds.

2- Cease-fire just lasted few hours. How do you see intensifying of conflict? As mother of soldier are you afraid your son be called?

A ceasefire was called this morning at 9:00 a.m. It was arranged through the intervention of the Egyptians but it was never really a ceasefire. Israel agreed right away to it while Hamas and the Gazans refused to accept it. During the approximately 6 hours that Israel refrained from firing, Gaza fired approximately 60 rockets into major cities throughout Israel. After 6 hours, our Prime Minister announced what everyone in Israel knew, that this was not a ceasefire. He ordered our air force to return to battle. As a mother of two soldiers, I am very worried that they could be called to war. But I am also worried about the 20,000 or more soldiers who have already been called up. These include sons of my friends and neighbors.

3- Some people accuse Israel of using disproportional strenght in Gaza while no one died in Israel due to rockets. How do you see that?

I am saddened that people refuse to look beyond the numbers and more, that they "fall" for the numbers game being played here.

First, ask yourself why no one has died (yet) in Israel. The answer is not because the Palestinians aren't trying to kill us. They have fired over 1,100 rockets in the past 8 days. They sent an unmanned drone filled with explosives into our skies hoping to crash it into a city and kill as many people as possible.

The reason no one has died is because for more than 20 years, Israel has ordered that every new apartment or house has a bomb shelter, a reinforced room that can withstand the direct impact of a rocket. We are being told not to be further away from a shelter than the time allocated to us. In Sderot, this is 15 seconds. In Ashkelon, this is 60 seconds. I have 90 seconds here near Jerusalem.

Also, we have Iron Dome, a sophisticated defense system that was developed here in Israel. The second something is fired from Gaza, the system detects the trajectory and where the rocket is going to hit – within a given range. If it will hit a populated area (and this includes not only areas that are predominantly Jewish but areas that are predominantly Arab as well), the Iron Dome fires an intercept missile and destroys the incoming rocket in mid-air.

These factors explain why our casualties have been limited, though there is a 16 year old boy in critical condition because he was caught outside, too far to run for shelter. Also, we have had dozens hurt when they rushed to bomb shelters and a few elderly people who have died of heart attacks during or right after a missile attack.

The second part of your question concerns Palestinian casualties. First, I don't consider rocket launching crews, the commander of rocket fire for Islamic Jihad, and a few dozen other "fighters" casualties in the sense that they are combatants, not innocent victims. In several cases, our pilots have fired warning shots into buildings – and dropped leaflets in Arabic telling people to leave an area.

We have even sent text messages to all the phones in an area, warning that a certain building, home to a Hamas commander known to be responsible for rocket fire is about to be targeted.

In one case, the pilot saw people leave and when the trickle of people stopped, he shot at the building. It turns out, more "civilians" had gone in to protect the building – among them were women and children. We have this on video- you can see this on YouTube. What kind of mother goes in a building targeted for destruction, with her children? Are these people really innocent when they knowingly put themselves in harm's way?

And Israel has shown the world repeatedly – again, this is all readily available on video, showing that Hamas is storing its rockets in mosques, schools, homes, neighborhoods – even next to UN buildings!

Whole arsenals – rockets, explosives, etc. Israel warns people to move away – there is a reason. Either Hamas has to move its weapons – rockets they are firing at us – again, over 1,100 of these rockets have been fired at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva, even Eilat – almost every major city, 5 million people, have come under attack.

Are we to do nothing because Palestinians are hiding behind their women and children like cowards? And finally, there are the true innocents – and for these Israel has great regret. Ultimately though, responsibility has to be at least shared with Hamas.

Why are their leaders hiding in bunkers while their women and children are not protected? Until the Palestinians care more for their own people, there will be casualties. We have called off many attacks when civilians are present but as the responsibility for the people of Israel rests with the government of Israel, the responsibility for the people of Gaza rests with the Hamas, the elected representative of the Gazans.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Tears of God

This morning, God cried - just a little. Okay, I'm being fanciful, but as the radio played one of several sad songs and the newscaster broke in to reveal the names of 5 of the 13 soldiers we lost yesterday, it started to rain - gentle, quiet, soft.

For those of you who don't know - it never rains in Israel between March/April and October/November, sometimes even December. Yes, there are times when you'll have a few drops in June or July or even August, but rarely - it could even be years between them. I don't remember it raining at all last year. Fanciful, but comforting. God shares in our tears and our mourning.

The human rights activists who live their lives with numbers and not facts, might point out that God could be crying for the innocents who have died in Gaza. I hope that was part of it too. I have no problem with that - we are not in competition to have our innocents die. That's why we protect them.

On the way into a client's office, this early Monday morning in Israel, I passed a sign on the road that has to be unique in the world. It warned that in the case of a siren indicating an incoming missile, you are to stop the car on the side of the road. Not written, but understood by all, is that you are then to lay down on the ground and put your hands over your head to protect it. Best if you are near a wall that faces Gaza, behind which you can hide.

I listened to the sad songs on the radio, and a news broadcast in which they spoke about the wounded soldiers. There are 80 in various hospitals around the country. When the Minister of Health finished speaking, the news correspondent added that his wife is a nurse and is treating a young Palestinian child injured in the fighting. The Minister of Health also pointed out that hundreds of doctors had been calling in, asking to volunteer. Many simply showed up at the hospitals to help.

I got to the office, to find the large display screen used to track the company's technology now has a large display of a map of Israel and shows when the last missile will hit. As I walked past and made a remark about the display, someone explained that it also makes sounds, but the constant warnings were getting people upset, so they disconnected the sound.

I walked into the kitchen and greeted a friend. She told me that the Ethiopian cleaning woman had two sons in Golani, the unit that just lost 13 soldiers. A few minutes later, the woman walked in. She looks as you can imagine a mother would look, but much worse. Hebrew is not her native language. She understands enough to communicate and do her job, not much more.

In a mix of Ethiopian and Hebrew, that was barely understandable, she began talking about her sons. She hasn't heard from them and she's worried. I tried explaining that no news is good; that she would hear. That they are okay. I don't know what she understood.

She spoke of underground, the tunnels in Gaza. I barely understood but I kept agreeing with her until we both had tears in our eyes.

This morning, I felt God's tears. There is a reason for this war. We did not choose to fight it. Last night, for almost an hour, I heard the Arabs in surrounding villages celebrating. They are happy we lost our 13 precious souls. It seems the fact that they claim to have lost 400 means little to them. What matters is that we lost 13 and so they celebrate.

Today, I am filled with gratitude again. I would not choose to live in any country that didn't change the traffic signs from warnings if there are upcoming delays, warnings to check your tires and not text message, to a warning that in case of a missile attack, you should stop the car on the side of the road. Several people have been injured in car accidents during the siren warnings.

I celebrate today that I live in a country that cries over 13 dead more than a society who is telling the world that they are being massacred and have lost over 400.

I thank God that on the radio this morning, the broadcasters concluded the news update with "we pray" and "with the help of God."

All in all, it might be easier to live somewhere else, but there is no other country that is mine; no other people so moral. We would never send an Israeli child to Gaza; never trust them with our precious treasures - and even if we did, Gaza's medical facilities are pathetic because they spend their money on missiles not medicine; on weapons that take life, not machines that save them.

Today, Israel was blessed again - with the tears of God, the promise that better days will come to us, and the deep knowledge that no matter how bad it gets, we have built a loving and caring society.

They can set off all the fireworks they have; it is we who walk in the sunshine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Nation Determined

What words can be said when 13 worlds end because of the hatred of a culture that worships death? I don't pity Israel on this sad and tragic day. I pity anyone who lives in a country that does not mourn as we do now.

We mourn more deeply than you can imagine. In the coming hours, we will learn as much as we can about the 13 soldiers we lost today, on the 13th day of battle. Not just their name but where they were from, how many siblings they had, what they loved and what they dreamed of doing in their lives.

We are a nation determined and proud. We are fighting an enemy who chose war when we wanted peace. Gaza chose war; Gaza attacked our land, our people, our homes.

When they strike our schools and hospitals, they rejoice. Because a school or a hospital to them is a place to hide weapons. There are so many injustices happening - the world will quickly point to the disproportionate number of deaths in Gaza. Isn't it amazing how the numbers jump...especially the number of children. One wonders if perhaps all the fighters of Hamas are under the age of 12.

One wonders where the parents are. With my body, I would protect my children. I would lock them in a room if I had to - how is it possible that Israel hurt so many children if they were being protected, rather that sacrificed.

For once, even the Secretary of Stupidity, John Kerry gave some insight when he said, "No country could sit by and not take steps to try to deal with people who are sending thousands of rockets your way."

What I will tell you is that we are a most unique country. And we will fight - all the more determined because we now fight for what they died for. Hamas has built an underground world of tunnels beneath cities in Gaza - it is fitting that they live as rats in the dark and scurry between locations.

It is amazing that the world is silent when Hamas threatens Palestinians that if they leave their homes, then from the tunnels below, Hamas will blow up the buildings. These people are prisoners, human shields and instead of protecting them, the United Nations hides Hamas rockets (and then gives them back to Hamas when they are discovered), and sends the Secretary General of the UN to Israel! Let him go to Gaza - let him demand that the occupiers of Gaza - the Hamas - be removed; that the people of Gaza be freed from tyranny.

Today, tonight, after a day of knowing that we had many dead but were not permitted to say so, tonight all the families have been notified. They join an elite and growing part of our nation - families in mourning. Forever, they will be united in their grief, forever just a little bit different from the rest of us.

We mourn with them, we cry with them, but ultimately, they walk just that much more alone. Thirteen more families have been added tonight; eighteen since the start of the war.

I am proud to be an Israeli tonight. Proud to live in a nation of mourning. What you have to understand is that the mourning here would be as great for one as for 13. Clearly the shock is greater, but each was a whole world...each is mourned.

I am proud that my country is doing all it can to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza - even if the world is too blind to see it. I am proud of the doctors who struggle in Israel tonight to help the wounded survive - including some Arabs who fought against our soldiers. In the hospitals of our neighbors, enemies would be dragged from their beds, interrogated, and assassinated.

I am proud that my country spent millions, perhaps more likely billions of dollars- to build bomb shelters - including portable ones placed in schoolyards and parks and in the middle of shopping areas so that people could run quickly and be protected. There are none of these shelters in Gaza, in Egypt, in Syria...because in each of these places, the greatest enemy of the people is their own government.

I am proud that my country spent millions, perhaps billions of dollars creating the greatest weapon we have - which isn't even a weapon at all. Iron Dome is a defensive shield against incoming rockets and missiles. It is not an offensive weapon and so would be deemed a waste of money by our neighbors - that which does not kill has no value in these societies. But Iron Dome has saved Israelis - more than 1,400 rockets have been fired at us in the last 13 days - more than 100 each day.

Dozens, more than dozens were on target to hit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beersheva, and beyond. Iron Dome stopped them and saved lives.

I am proud today to be Israeli, to mourn with my people, to know the truth of what is happening in Gaza and to laugh because once again, Gaza has turned much of the world into fools.


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