Sunday, August 31, 2014

Is Israel Apartheid? The Definitive Answer

This post is dedicated to CHRIS GUNNESS

Chris Gunness' tweet condemning the murder of a
4 year old Israeli child - it took Gunness ELEVEN hours
AFTER his first tweet condemning Israel for initially
identifying the rocket fire from UNRWA to get
around to actually condemning Daniel's death
The question is often asked and each time answered by one side or the other. Arabs will scream out this word and we can only wonder if they even understand what it means. To them, apartheid is ingrained from birth. Perhaps not in terms of black and white, but certainly in terms of Muslim and infidel. Israelis will scream out that we are not apartheid, just look, we beg you, just look at every train in Jerusalem, every hospital in Israel.

Look at all the Arab doctors, lawyers, politicians - none would be possible in an apartheid society. Just look...ah, but therein likes the problem. The world doesn't want to look or listen to us. Of course, as easily as we are dismissed for being biased, one has to wonder why the Arabs aren't dismissed on the other side. But of course, this never happens and so much of Ireland will call us apartheid, perhaps much of France as well. Easier to hide centuries of anti-Semitism behind convenient labels such as being anti-Zionist or anti-apartheid.

But read and listen to this speech - it is inspiring and it is not biased. It is a conclusion determined by experience and though he says he comes as a friend of Israel and Jews, it is a friendship and a love that we earned by doing more for his people than the United Nations ever has.

These are the words of Simon Deng, once a Sudanese slave, addressing the Durban Conference in NY.
I want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance. It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today's distinguished speakers.

I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I came to protest this Durban conference, which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who are themselves guilty of the worst kind of oppression.

Actually, what prevents Gaza from building new
schools and repairing others is largely a
lack of cement...which can be found in
abundance in the dozens of attack tunnels
Gaza built - rather than the schools.
And yet Chris Gunness condemns Israel.
It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel.

The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82 percent of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state - Israel. Hitler couldn't have been made happier!

The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that.
But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN's anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those people.

Please hear me out.

By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale.

For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan -- Christians and Muslims alike --- have been the victims of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum.

In South Sudan , my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered from 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II.

The UN is concerned about the so-called Palestinian refugees. They dedicated a separate agency for them, and they are treated with a special privilege.

Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved, are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan 's conflicts. Who knows really what is happening in Darfur? It is not a "tribal conflict."

It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism well known in north Africa. In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan , everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded the North of Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam. In the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized.

They love their own African languages and dress and customs. The Arab response is genocide! But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur.

In the Nuba Mountains, another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak. The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans - Muslims and Christians. Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains .....

Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks?

What you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations is “Israeli crimes” and Palestinian suffering.

My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering.

What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin. But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid.

Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 90s.

Khartoum declared jihad against my people and this legitimized taking slaves as war booty. Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves.

We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery. I am a living proof of this crime against humanity!

I don't like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today.

I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliations; working around the clock; sleeping on the ground with animals; eating the family’s left-overs. During those three years I was unable to say the word “no”.

All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”

The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it. It took UNICEF – under pressure from the Jewish–led American Anti-Slavery Group -- sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.

But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, and UNICEF backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves. In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN's actions.

My friends, today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent about that. It would offend the OIC and the Arab League.

As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral.

I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees. Let me tell you how they ended up there. These are Sudanese who fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt. They were wrong. When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo.
They needed shelter and they found it in Israel. Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long distances, the refugees' only hope was to reach Israel's side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe.

Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area. Do you know what this means!!!?? And the Arabs say Israel is racist!!!?

In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim, were welcomed and treated like human beings. Just go and ask them, like I have done. They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt , Israel is "heaven."

Is Israel a racist state? To my people, the people who know racism – the answer is: 'absolutely not'. Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow. Jews themselves come in all colors, even black. I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews.

So, yes … I came here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis, but all those people whom the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: we, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse: women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the biggest victims of UN Israel hatred.

Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, and Nigeria, and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression. The Sikhs. We -- a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis -- all suffer. We are ignored, we are abandoned. So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.

In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan. I met a twelve year old girl who told me about her dream.
And here Gunness fails to reference the
three UNRWA schools that the UN
admitted were being used as arsenals;
here he does not mention the hospitals
used as rocket launching sites. Indeed,
shelters should not be combat zones...
it's just a shame Gunness never had the
nerve to point his criticism at the ones
who turned mosques, schools and shelters
into combat zones - Hamas!
In a dream, she wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then, she wanted to visit Israel. I was shocked.

How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel ? When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel , she said: "This is our people." I was never able to find an answer to my question.

On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state. For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement.

In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel's legitimacy.

As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir -- publicly stated that the South Sudan Embassy in Israel will be built--- not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III. We will oppose it by simply continuing to tell the truth! Our truth!

My Jewish friends taught me something that I now want to say with you.

AM YISROEL CHAI! The people of Israel lives!

Thank you

Drawing Red Lines for Israeli Doctors

Israeli doctors have been working incredibly hard over the last 50+ days - in addition to the regular work they have, hundreds of additional patients, mostly soldiers, were brought in for treatment. More, the number of traffic accidents, a sign of the stress within Israeli society in general, have increased significantly over the weeks of the war.

Plus, regularly, they are called upon to treat non-Israelis - Syrians who are injured and brought to the field hospital we have set up; Palestinians who know the treatment they get in Israel far exceeds anything they'll get in any Palestinian/Arab hospital pretty much anywhere in the Arab world, certainly in Gaza. Sure, we've been at war since 1948, but that hasn't stopped Palestinians from getting (and demanding) that our doctors treat them - and they do - with the latest discoveries, with honor, with determination, with dedication.

Israeli doctors have treated Abu Mazen's wife, Ismail Haniyah's grandchild. The former Prime Minister of the PA, and thousands of sick Palestinian children needing emergency treatment, heart surgery, and more.

And it isn't just our doctors but our entire medical community. My children were asked if they have any problem treating anyone - including Arabs - when they volunteered to join the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

One doctor in Petach Tikvah was operating on a Palestinian girl when there was a siren. He refused to leave the operating room to seek safety and so the operation continued, despite the fact that Hamas was firing at his city. It is not for me to draw the line where they place their own personal safety above their patient but for all those who ignorantly accuse Israel of being apartheid, this is a living example of how Israelis offer aid without regard to race, ideological belief, age, religion, or the color of a person's skin.

As the fighting ended, Ismail Haniyeh, "disputed" prime minister of the Palestinians (who was elected with an overwhelming majority of the Gaza residents), crawled out of his bunker located deep under a hospital, to announce victory. News reports shortly after reported that he had been rushed to the upper floors of the hospital after suffering a heart attack.

One friend responded, "oh, does he have a heart?" Not that I've seen. He certainly lacks courage given that he spent the last 50+ days in hiding. To the comment about him having a heart attack, I responded that I think it more likely that he was rushed to the hospital suffering from the Bends, a condition associated with rising too quickly from the depths - usually water. In some cases, the Bends can result in death, said one site I checked on the Internet.

And that's when I thought of Israel's doctors and emergency medical responders. They are given clear instructions. The second an injured terrorist is disarmed, he is to be treated as any other person - injured and in need of assistance. My sons have treated many Arabs as part of their volunteer work for the  ambulance service.

I'm grateful that they have never been called upon to treat a terrorist - not because I don't think they would, but because I doubt few other societies would ask this of their young. What I can tell you, without shame or regret, is that the terrorist, once disarmed, is likely to be treated after the victims are removed, especially if the damage done to the terrorist is relatively minor.

I said before that it is not for me to draw the line of where doctors treat patients who became patients as a result of causing injury to others. I can't draw the line in this next hypothetical case either but seriously, if the Palestinians were to ask us to treat Haniyah - no, just no.



Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to Normal

All over Israel, things are settling back to normal. I've spent much of the last 50 days writing about the military aspects of the conflict and how they impacted on daily life around Israel.

What we didn't have was summer - oh, it was hot and dry as usual. Things were slow and people did take vacation but everywhere there was something missing - not a sense of peace, because we've never had that. But there was this unsettled feeling. If we were having fun, we felt bad because those in the south were sitting in bomb shelters and running to safety. How could we having fun?

And if weren't having fun, we felt the summer slipping away and time running down. We usually go camping - we didn't. We try to take a day here or there; we really didn't.

Aliza started school today. Yesterday, I drove Davidi to his new Hesder yeshiva program. Shmulik is settling into his beautiful new apartment; Elie and Lauren are still unpacking their boxes. Amira bought her son a pool and he's been enjoying the water for a while now. Aliza took pictures of Amira's son and Elie's daughter yesterday - I wish I had permission to post the pictures - they are so so sweet.

Rosh Hashana isn't far away - one month...the summer flew by with so much sadness that each drop of happiness is celebrated. Today was a good day - a friend had a granddaughter born; another friend announced her son just got engaged. Two friends have children getting married in the next few weeks; another friend's son got married last night.

It's a subtle message that life goes on.

And if the world isn't insane enough - for the last two days, Syrian rebels and government forces have been fighting very close to the Israeli border and someone has fired mortars and shot into Israel. An Israeli officer was moderately wounded, but is doing well.

The UN has a "peacekeeping" force on the Syrian-Israeli border. I have to tell you, the UN doesn't have much luck (or courage). In 1967, the UN forces were ordered by Egypt's Nasser to retreat and without hesitation, they did.

Again and again, each time tensions rose on the borders, the first to run was always the UN and once again today, the UN peacekeeping forces decided keeping the peace was too dangerous and so they ran into Israel, away from the Syrian violence.

So, our children are back in school; the UN is on the run; Syria is threatening; Gaza and Lebanon aren't so far behind - in short, things are back to normal.

On a personal note, once again it has been proven that the fastest way to get your stats go crazy is to be involved in a war. I spoke to journalists from several countries - Brazil, England, Sweden and the US; my blog was again quoted in The Guardian.

And as the number of visitors grew each day into the thousands, I waited for things to go back to normal, when the rockets stopped, the reservists sent home, and the curious who came to read my blog would get bored. It's happened several times in the past - and amazingly enough, contrary to most bloggers, I am more at peace with my regular group would leave and I and my long-term friends would be back to the familiar.

There are sites that get tens of thousands of visitors a day...I'm so happy to have those who come to share, to comment, to read. Thousands of visitors a day for me means life is not normal, that my country is going through the worst of times.

So, to those who came for a while and now will look elsewhere, thanks for visiting and I hope that maybe I provided some insight into what it was like here in Israel over these last 50+ days.

And to the rest of you - thank you for being here, for commenting, for reading. I have felt your support across oceans and seas, in Israel and from all over.

Israel's army is slowly returning to its normal level of alert, grateful that as bad as it was, it wasn't worse. Sometimes that's all we can hope for.

And as Thursday ends and Friday comes, here in Israel, we get ready to do what we do each week - cook and clean and prepare...shabbat shalom.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 50 - Are we there yet?

Yesterday was Day 50 of Operation Protective Edge and in the end, the day ended in a ceasefire that is supposed to last for 30 days, during which the sides are supposed to talk and get to some long range agreement.

Today, Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh, leader of the Palestinians in Gaza, crawled out of the bunker in which he hid for the last 50 days. Much of the world laughed when he claimed victory in no uncertain terms.

Israel was under pressure to accept a ceasefire. The pressure came from beyond our borders - this is unacceptable; and the pressure came from the calendar - and this is understandable.

In just a few days, the new school year will open. Yesterday, a nursery schools was destroyed - had this happened next week, we could have lost so many children. Today, my daughter and many high schools students begin.

The ceasefire was announced to begin at 7:00 p.m. - I saw a few places that said it would begin at 8:00 p.m. If indeed it began at 7:00 p.m., Gaza clearly broke it within minutes.

If it began at 8:00 p.m. - then a last (fatal) barrage was fired at Israel a short time before. The barrage lasted more than a half hour, involved dozens of rockets - including in areas in central Israel and resulted in the death of two Israelis.

All day long, they pounded us with rockets - over 100 hit in the Eshkol region very close to the Gaza border; but others were fired throughout the south and even central Israel.

In the end, two interesting things happened around 8:00 p.m.

Gaza came out into the streets to celebrate their victory and Israel accepted that this war may finally be over.

The idea of Gaza celebrating was both amusing and informative. It was amusing because once again, Gazans fired into the air to celebrate and once again, gravity defeated them and dozens were evacuated to local hospitals. How hard is it to understand the concept of gravity?

But also, there is something quite interesting in their choosing to celebrate. This is a people that shouted that we were committing genocide and had destroyed nearly all of Gaza. It would take, they swore to the world, decades to undo the terrible damage. 

From 1939 to 1945, the Germans committed genocide against the Jewish people. Any Jew was their target - old, young, male, female. Over 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered.

Overall, if one were to do a statistical analysis of the casualties of the Holocaust, one would find that babies died in similar numbers to elderly; men in similar numbers to women. I would guess, young people in their late teens and twenties had a better chance of survival because they were put to work by the Nazis. I know that most of my husband's relatives of that age (men and women in this age range), returned while most of the older and younger family members were murdered.

And in the devastation that followed the Holocaust, Jews did not celebrate - not even their liberation from the death camps. The first time I think we celebrated was three years later, when Israel was created...recreated, after 2,000 years in exile.

The interesting part about this conflict that seems to have come to an end, at least for this round, is the casualties. There is no question, other than among a fringe bunch of lunatics (one of which even wrote to me), that the Jews of Europe did not go to war against the Germans, before, during or even after WWII.

Overwhelmingly, Jewish men in their late teens, twenties and even thirties had a better chance of survival than women, children, the elderly.

And what we see from the statistics of dead in Gaza, is an overwhelming number of men these same ages. Children are by far well under-represented, as are women and elderly. In other words, a large number of the dead in Gaza were military age...connect the dots.

What is happening now is a retrospective of 50 days at war - the longest single operation/war we have ever experienced. Israel hit Hamas hard, very hard and yes, Hamas didn't fall. To the very last minute - and fifteen minutes beyond, Hamas continued to fire rockets, even at Tel Aviv. 

Throughout the day, as it became clear that there would be a ceasefire, Hamas bombarded Israel with rockets.

In total, almost 5,000 rockets were fired at Israel in just 50 days.

No, Hamas continued - but not because we didn't cause them any damage. Instead, it is part of the mindset - as completely inaccurate as their claiming victory in the end.

Day 50 ended in a ceasefire. The signs on the highways warning that you should pull safely to the side if you hear a siren, have turned back into regular highway signs warning you to check your tires, what number to call in case there is an accident. The flags and signs remain - the people aren't quite as ready as the government to believe this is over.

Aliza thought she heard a siren at one point; we all still listen and check the news. A few ceasefires ago (this is the twelfth - Hamas broke all the other 11, a perfect record - not one agreement honored), the mother of one soldier came over and told me how happy she was that it was over. I didn't have the heart to tell her it wasn't over...but now, I believe it is.

The truest end to war is peace. So far, for eleven ceasefires, we didn't even get to a cessation of violence. But peace...

Are we there yet? No. And sadly, it's been a long time since I believed we would ever get there. The only difference now, post war, is that so many more Israelis now stand beside me in believing that peace is not possible so long as Hamas is the legally elected representatives of the Palestinian people. A poll released today says that 89% of the Palestinians are in favor of firing rockets at Israel. 89% - that tells you so much about the enemy we face.

Someone wrote to me complaining that nothing had been accomplished. I don't agree with her and think she is being unfair, especially since she lives in the US, not here. I shouldn't have to explain to her and yet I find myself trying to break through the militant voice she so easily spews out. We did a tremendous amount to push Hamas back. Tunnels were destroyed; their top military leaders removed permanently from the equation.

Their rocket arsenals have been seriously depleted. I believe I saw a report that said our military intelligence estimated they had around 10,000 at the start. Close to half of those were fired at us, many thousands more were destroyed in the hospitals, mosques, homes, and tunnels they converted to arsenals. Of course, we were condemned by the UN and France and others for daring to destroy these arsenals because of the shapes and sizes of the buildings in which they stored, but that's okay because we value the lives we save more than the voices we would hope to have silenced by not bombing these legitimate military targets.

In January, 2009, as Elie fought with his unit - I wrote a mosque is not an arsenal and an arsenal is not a mosque. This is true of hospitals and schools. The minute UNRWA schools were used to store rockets, they ceased being schools and became legitimate military targets - even Ban-Ki Moon admitted that.

It will take Hamas years to recuperate, to get back to the level they were 51 days ago. Is that enough? No - it stinks that we can't utterly and completely remove Hamas forever from the picture. But Hamas played this brilliantly and did all it could to show the world its true colors. If the world is too blind to see or too filled with hate to admit this, that is their loss, and ours.

Foreign journalists, reluctantly and resentfully, in some cases, ultimately added their voices and pictures to show Hamas firing from civilian areas, hiding behind children, and lying about the number of casualties.

Like many in Israel, I wish we could have finished the job, permanently buried Hamas. Without question, we brought Hamas to its knees and that will have to be enough. If the Palestinians can honor a leader that hid under ground while his people took the brunt of the war he waged, that is their loss.

Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory. This is to be expected of a politician and yet, despite the politics of it, he's right. Ultimately, the victory is ours because as a nation, we did what we could to protect our young and now we stop this was for them. Hamas stole their summer. There was no camp, little fun. They were mostly inside, awakened night after night. In a few days, they will start school and, as children do, bounce back. For our children, we would do all and despite many political differences, with this I agree with Bibi.

The reality of the Middle East could have been changed in this war, had we been allowed to do what needed to be done. Instead, the history and the future, at least for now, will be the same. We will all bounce back...and then, in a year or two or three...we'll do this all again in an operation or a war with a different name.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

STOP - They Are Bombing My People

Surreal...just surreal. I'm sitting in a meeting and as we go around the table speaking of tasks and accomplishments over the last two weeks of work at this hi-tech company - in the last 30 minutes, the screen constantly goes red on the small window on the side of my laptop. Again and again.

"They are bombing my people," I want to scream. Except that everyone here in the room is "my people" too. There is one that connects from Germany. He sits there and listens, has no idea that my screen is turning red; no idea that my heart cries as I explain what tasks were accomplished, what problems there were in delivering the document before him.

The names of the communities mean nothing to him, to most people in the world but each is so precious, so beautiful. Each is a community built with love, tended by people who chose to live there.

Nahal Oz, where little Daniel was killed; Alumim, where another friend lives and close to where Elie was stationed during Cast Lead. Be'eri, beautiful Be'eri. Kissufim, that I passed so many times driving south.

On and on...

They are running for their lives, or sitting in their bomb shelters afraid to leave because only there are they truly safe. I want to scream in this meeting. I am asked an opinion and I speak..and as I speak, my screen turns red. Do I stop and say - they are bombing my people! Or do I answer the question...

And, of course, I speak. I answer questions...and my heart cries. They are bombing my people.

The Sound of Scared

This morning as I was driving to Tel Aviv - early because I prefer to beat the traffic, the 6:00 a.m. report said that there had been no rocket fire from Gaza since 9:00 p.m. You're tempting fate, I thought to myself.

And sure enough, a short while later - sirens in Ashkelon. A few minutes later - Rishon L'Zion - far enough north to begin to worry. If the missiles were ont point on a graph and I was another - we would collide in the middle somewhere. Of course, the rockets - for the good and the bad - fly faster than I'll ever drive.

They're firing up here, I thought to myself - coming north. I was passing the airport - a major target (which in practical terms means the airport is fine and everyone else around it has to worry). I moved to the left lane so that if I had to stop, there would be a place and a dividing wall. Many other cars did the same and traffic slowed dramatically. What a concept this is, I thought to myself - driving to work waiting for a rocket. In what world? And the answer, of course, is only in Israel. And how the world finds that acceptable is quite sickening. How the world can worry not about those being fired upon, but those who are firing the rockets.

And yes, I know the world isn't worried about Hamas, they are worried about the poor Palestinian civilians...who continue to ignore when we drop leaflets in targeted areas, who climb to the roof tops of buildings because they know that we won't fire if we identify them up there, who don't build bomb shelters but use the cement that could save their lives to build attack tunnels and bunkers for their leaders. These are the people who worry the world and bring the vile Chris Guinness, spokesperson for UNRWA, to his knees in fear.

So mixed in with my concern, as I thought of this, was anger. They are firing at over one million people who are doing nothing but waking up, showering, and driving to work.

And within a few seconds, more cities. I could feel my heart begin to race - seriously. Tel Aviv...Jaffo...Herziliya...that's where I'm headed. Shoham...Rosh Ha'ayan. Shoham is somewhat close to where my sister lives; Rosh Ha'ayin is very close to where my parents live. Rosh Ha'ayin on one side; Tel Aviv in the distance on the other.

It was about 6:30 a.m. and I decided to call my parents and wake them. My father answered and I explained quickly - I didn't hear the name of the city where they live, but I had already figured that it was too hard for me to listen for their city and listen other places while calculating where I was and if I needed to stop.

I looked at the sky long after anything fired from Gaza would have landed. A friend driving from the north of Herziliya saw Iron Dome take out two rockets - or at least be fired twice.

Israelis have come to the call to the bomb shelter relatively calmly - we go, we sit and even if there is a direct hit - as there was a few minutes ago on a house in Ashkelon, most often, the people are okay. It's only possessions and that is not what we worship.

But being on the road adds a whole new dimension of scared. This is why Gaza fires. After close to 4,000 rockets and mortars, even they know they are unlikely to hit anything major with our amazing Iron Dome. They killed little Daniel on Saturday only because he lived in a beautiful village so close to Gaza, built long ago when people still believed peace would come some day.

No, Gaza doesn't really fire to kill, they fire to terrorize.


Monday, August 25, 2014

How Homemade is this Rocket?

One laughable claim that Palestinians and their misguided supporters like to lob at Israel is that the rockets and mortars they fire at us - like the one that killed little Daniel Tragerman two days ago, were "homemade."

I don't know what kind of home they have or what they think home is, but home is not where you store rockets and certainly not where you make them.

This is the remains of a rocket that was shot out of the sky by our amazing Iron Dome.

Homemade? This rocket piece looks to be about as long as that man is tall. Even if he's short - it's a good 5 feet long.

Homemade? Maybe we've gotten to the root of the Palestinian-Israeli problem - if this is the kind of homes they have, no wonder there can be no peace.

Sirens sounding now in Nahal Oz. Alumim. Yad Mordechai. Netiv Ha'asarah.




Day 48 - How is this Possible?

I have to work. God, I have to work. I can't work. I can't think. I am bombarded by messages of hate and though on the outside I try not to show that they get to me, deep down they do. Not because I doubt, even for a second what Israel is doing, and why, but because hate is an overpowering emotion. It is ugly and ignorant; it is irrational and loud. So many Israelis are on edge - traffic accidents are up, people are tired of the rockets - even those of us living in relative quiet.

Sirens in Alumim and Nahal Oz (where little Daniel was killed on Saturday)

I keep thinking they have to run out of rockets; that

Sirens in Kerem Shalom

that they have to stop - but they don't. Yesterday morning I was in Tel Aviv - a few short hours later, a rocket hit empty fields.

Sirens in Kerem Shalom
Sirens in Kerem Shalom

Not even time to type a sentence - this is how it goes...all day long. How can I work? How can I write documents and proposals in the midst of this? Oh, it's simple enough really. I'm far enough away


Sirens in Kerem Shalom 

I'm far enough away that I can just shut the application, close the browser and not hear - but what right do I have to do that? I have so many friends who tell me that they can't listen to the news anymore. I understand the feeling but I can't. We all center the world around us - we see through our eyes, our experiences...but somehow I carry this idea that I have to see it all - through my eyes and theirs. I have friends in the south - how can I sit at a desk and type when they are running for their lives - literally.

Little Daniel was killed in his living room because for some reason, he didn't run to the shelter like he always did. His parents will live with that - though with two smaller children and seconds to get to shelter, had they hesitated, they could all have died - Daniel, the other two younger children, and them.

And yesterday, hour after hour - and today again, endless rockets. Yesterday, a German woman lectured me on humanity and I lost it. She dares to accuse Israel of murdering innocents? Sometimes, I'll admit, it is 

Sirens in Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha'asarah
Status Update
By Miriam from the south...

Good morning everyone...Yesterday from 6:22 a.m until midnight Israeli citizens were bombarded with 135 missiles..on day 48 I have only one question...how is this possible?

This is totally unacceptable!
Sirens in Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha'asarah

Our morale is not broken; we are not too tired to fight. Our soldiers know what they do is holy and right - no, not a holy war, that isn't what we Jews fight. We do not believe war is holy; Jihad is not ours. But to defend life is holy; to live and fight to live - that is right.

But I'm sad today - sadder than I've been in a long time and tears come easily. Last night, Aliza saw a newspaper I had brought home. It had a picture of little Daniel Tragerman, who was only four and a half when he was killed.

"Did he die?" Aliza asked him though I didn't have to answer because born in Israel and 14, she reads Hebrew faster and more fluently than I ever will be able to read it. 

"He was in the living room," she told me, though I knew it already. 

"Why didn't his parents take him to the shelter?" she asked.

"Don't blame them," I practically begged her. "They did what they could. It was impossible." She lowered her head and started to cry and her tears broke me in a way that 7 weeks haven't. To watch your child cry over the death of a child...no words, just such sorrow. No way to comfort her. I just held her and cried too - for Daniel, for Miriam, for Miriam's children, one of whom I know - and Devorah's children, for all of Israel's children. 

Daniel's parents have decided not to ever return to their home, to Nahal Oz so close to Gaza. They had a mere three seconds...they lost Daniel. How could they possibly have protected him?

That's what I thought of when I read Miriam's words, "How is it possible?'

How is it possible that I can receive so many messages of hate - Hitler should have killed you all; that we should all be gassed, that Hitler was right. That we, not the Syrians, not the Iraqis, not the Nigerians or North Koreans, not the Russians, not the Ukrainians, not ISIS, not Hamas, not Hizbollah - that we are the greatest threat...little Israel...to the moral, physical, economic, and social balance of the world.

That we started the genocide of the Palestinian people in 1948 - when they attacked us with five armies...

That we dropped nuclear bombs on Gaza in this war....um...no

That half the dead in Gaza are children...um, only if you define children as men in their 30s with rifles and rocket launchers.

How is it possible - in 2014 - that people can be so stupid?

Sirens in Kerem Shalom

Sirens in Kfar Aza and Kibbutz Sa'ad

Sirens in Kfar Aza and Kibbutz Sa'ad

Listen - He Speaks Truth

A young soldier speaks of his experience in Gaza. He's not a trained spokesman; not a propagandist. He's simply one soldier who was called to fight and did what he had to do. You'd have to be blind to think he is not sincere - both in his determination to do what he is required to do to protect Israel and in his attempt to avoid harming innocents in Gaza while doing it.

He, like so many of our soldiers, were put in a horrible position of having to decide whether to let the Hamas soldier escape, or harm the young child behind whom the Hamasnik was hiding.

The decision has to be made in a split second and often involves endangering your own life - because while you hesitate, the Hamas gunman does not.

Listen to this soldier - yes, he is wearing the uniform of Israel but note that unlike Hamas, he does not hide his face; he does not lie. He is telling you the truth - and if you are too blind to see it, the fault lies with you and not with him.


More Sirens than a Person Can Count

I started this on Friday, otherwise. If I had started it today, I would have called it "Goodbye, Daniel."

Somewhere in Israel, there is someone responsible for counting how many rockets Hamas fired at us today, this week, this month, this year and all of the 15 or so years or more that it has been firing at us. I don't know how many fell. I only know that it seemed endless.

Today and yesterday, I have been balancing the needs of three children, missing one terribly, and realizing the fourth is about to move on and out and with all that has happened this summer, he was robbed of so much.

My children, like most of the kids in Israel, have had virtually no summer. Who could think with what was happening here?

Today, yesterday, the day before, last week and even last month, Israel has had endless attacks.

There is almost nothing else in the news other than the attacks...or there was nothing new, until yesterday when a family with three children heard the Color Red warning. Their oldest child, Daniel was outside. He had three seconds to get to safety - he didn't make it.

Daniel Tregerman died yesterday and today his family and all of Israel mourn today. At his funeral, this morning, his mother Gila spoke words a mother should never have to say:
Daniel my sweetheart, I cannot believe I am here now, saying
goodbye. We were the happiest family in the world, and I just cannot come to grips with it. We wanted to say thanks, you taught us how to love and you gave us some much joy. I find solace in the fact that you were a loved and happy child until your last minute.
We wanted to protect you but even the code red siren failed to save you. You would always run first and call your little brother (to the shelter) and then in a second it ended. We don't want to say goodbye. You are the love of my life, the perfect child, every parent's dream: Smart, sensitive, ahead of his age group and beautiful, so beautiful.
Mourning the loss of Daniel, President Reuven Rivlin delivered these words:
President Rivlin (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

"We dreaded the moment more than anything. We saw preschools suffer hits and abandon bikes and we knew the terrorists have no regard for the blood of their children would not spare our own."

"He was too young to cross the street by himself because it was dangerous, but old enough to know the Code Red siren means because that too is dangerous; he was stilling learning the alphabet but knew the difference between a shelter and mortar, between an interception and a hit, between birds chirping and the rockets shrieking.

"I think of a flower growing here, with its stem being cut. Cut be an evil hand, cutting a life and smile that will never be seen again. I think of a mother and father, and brother and sister who lost their sibling, their son. They lost you Daniel, the most precious of things in the world."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Does this look like a defeated army?

After 32 days of Reserve Duty - some soldiers have a message for Israel and the world. Note that they don't address Gaza...

Gaza would have you believe they were victorious, that our troops left in defeat...this is the best response I have found yet. Proof, like most of what Hamas says - lies...all lies.

Here are our glorious, undefeated army - or part of it anyway. While the standing army is made up of young men, generally 18 - 22 years old, these are the Reserves - made up of men in their late 20s, 30s, and even into their 40s. They are free from much of the discipline enforced on the standing army - free to show what they really think, free to sing to the world a message that is so much a part of the Israeli psyche - no matter what today brings, even on a day when our hearts break after the death of a young Israeli child, the first and we pray the last of our children to pay this price...we live in a beautiful country - watch this once just to look at the scenery! Each day here is the best day of our lives!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Threat Like No Other

Last night, Hamas made a threat. No one believed they would carry it out. And if they did, those same "no ones" never believed they would be successful. So all in all, the sun rose this morning in Israel, people woke up, showered or not, dressed (hopefully), drank their morning coffee or tea, took it in a traveling cup or set off for work expecting to drink something when they arrive.

The roads were packed in the typical places, a bit light because it is the end of August but Israel morning traffic as usual. Radios were on because that's how most Israelis drive, with regular news breaks on most stations, because that's how most Israelis live. And above, in the skies, it was relatively normal, if a bit more tense than usual.

No major incoming or outgoing flight disruptions were seen by the outside world. In the past, under credible threat, Israel has ordered planes to "collect" further offshore and then our jets fly them in safely. I remember once hearing that the planes, flown by former IDF pilots, landed every 45 seconds as the air force circled and protected them.

Last night, Hamas threatened to fire rockets at Ben Gurion International Airport at 6:00 a.m. Elie left to pick up Lauren and the baby, scheduled to arrive at 7:00. Security was tight, even when Elie got there, but the planes flew in as normal. It was a matter of pride and a signal to Hamas.

No, you are not going to change us; you are not going to ruin our lives as you have ruined the lives of the people of Gaza. It was meant to be a threat like no other - how many times is an international airport threatened with disaster? I've heard of airports closing because of bomb threats, but not on a scale such as this.

Today, our international airport was threatened - but like most of Hamas' threats, they were intended to cause terror (which they didn't) and to cause disruptions (of which there were none).

Lauren and the baby landed safely and are now back home with Elie in their new apartment.

Only two airlines heeded Hamas' warning - those would be the airlines of Jordan and Turkey - all the rest of the world is beginning to understand that Hamas is nothing more than a terror organization experiencing the end of its existence. The only real question at this point, is how much of Gaza it will take with it into extinction.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dear Israel

It's been 21 years to the day since I landed at Ben Gurion airport with two small boys, 9 suitcases, 6 carry-ons, a carriage and a car seat. I was met at the airport by a smiling husband who had landed more than 2 months before, and a 7 year old daughter who had come a month earlier.

The minute the wheels of the plane touched the ground, I knew a peace that has rarely been missing in all the years since that day when we walked down the staircase to home. It's silly when the truth sounds so cliche-ish, but it's true. In all those years, I have never once wished myself anywhere else, and the few times I have left for brief visits - all of which I can count on one hand - I have spent much of the time wishing I was here.

I have loved you since I was 13-years-old. At first, it was the love of right, of justice, of dreams becoming reality. It was the distant love of a young girl looking for logic and reason, more, for an explanation. If all we ever did was walk like sheep and cower before the Cossacks, what was there to be proud of? That's all I wanted to understand - and it all became crystal clear as I began to understand you.

You are the reality we waited for, worked towards, for 2,000 years. You enabled a broken people to walk out of the gas chambers, concentration camps and Displaced Persons camps in which they dumped us after the war. We came here to a land that needed us as much as we needed you. You offered us the promise that no one would ever do again what was done over the centuries of exile. We were home to be protected and to protect.

You are more than a piece of land, more than the fulfillment of a promise. You are our opportunity to excel, to be so much of what we as a people want to be. Perhaps, ultimately, that is why they hate us so much. We heal ourselves and we heal the children of our enemies; we even heal our enemies - not because the world threatens us but because that is a part of our nature. When we must fight, we fight with honor and morality and if the world is too stupid or hate-filled to notice it; that doesn't change what we do because ultimately, we answer to ourselves and to God, not Obama and the United Nations.

Today, I want to think not of them, but of us. What we have accomplished in these 21 years - you and me. You have created more innovation, more life-saving devices than I can list. Everyday elements of the lives of the majority of the world are touched by what has been created here in this tiny land.

Even as our enemies curse us and boycott us, it's all a lie - because they don't boycott the vast majority of the technology that comes from Israel. They are all here, those hi-tech companies, because they recognize our dedication, our intelligence, our yearning to solve any challenge sent out way.

That is the light that overshadows the darkness. We are not naive enough to refuse to see the hate sent our way; we simply refuse to let it cripple us or stop us.

In the time I have been here, they have set fire innumerable times to your fields and valleys and forests. They know that in hurting the land, they hurt us. And what they fail to understand each and every time, is that you can't claim the land as yours, while attacking it year after year.

They watch us plant in the desert and laugh because who can bring life to death? And then they and their culture of death watch in astounded silence as the desert blooms, as forests grow where once there was barren land and swamps are drained to the fertile land underneath. As a people, once isolated and alone, thrives and grows as strong and proud as the very land on which we live.

They have fired rockets and missiles, exploded bombs and bodies, thrown firebombs and boulders and stones. They have stabbed us, shot us and broken our hearts more times than I can list over the 21 years I have been here, and the 45 before that. And what infuriates them most is that while they can break our hearts easily, they have never, not once, broken our spirit or our determination.

You and we together have brought home tens of thousands - from Ethiopia and Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and beyond. They have returned to you from the Soviet Union and now from France, England, Belgium, the Ukraine and the United States. We have built mega-cities and almost daily I watch this large building in Herziliya grow floor by floor, stopping for nothing, not even war.

Roads, super-highways and more have been built and are being built - everywhere, we are building because that is what people do in their land. They settle it, they develop it, they love it.

And in these 21 years, I too have grown, though perhaps less dramatically. Two children we have added to the three we brought here. Born in Israel, they are so beautiful, so tall, so strong. They converse in Hebrew, think and dream in Hebrew and because I came when they were young enough, the three older ones do as well. Two have served in your army; one gave her time to national service. Another is about to step forward to serve and deep in my heart, I know I'll survive this one going in, even if right now it doesn't seem possible to go through this all again.

There are ignorant ones, even with many degrees and even from our own people, who say that my life is in limbo, unfinished and unable to move forward because I have chosen to live 5 miles to the east of Jerusalem instead of to the west. How silly they are, how unaware of the truth!

Limbo? I have five of the most special people in the world that I call my own. Three have married to give me eight of the most amazing gifts a human being could have. Two have brought me little angels that show me the future is going to be an amazing place.

Dear Israel - you have given me so much in these years - life, love, happiness, a home - above all, a promise. You are eternal in a way that no other land is, has been, or will be.

Let them have their commissions, their inquiries. Let them ignore the amazing gifts you have brought and continue to bring to the world. Let them ignore that we are a people of life, of peace. All this is a moment in an eternity, a second in a lifetime and beyond.

Each year, I sit under the fireworks of Independence Day and whisper so no one will hear because they may think it silly that I speak to a land, a physical thing but not a person. So, on that day, each year, I wish you a happy birthday because I celebrate the day you were reborn. I watch the colors in the sky and know that we have turned a dream into reality, a hope into a promise. This is a national gift, something we all share and so I join in a national moment of celebration.

And on this day, each year, it is my chance to thank you for all that you are to the People of Israel, but more, all that you are to me. Above all you have given me, the most precious gift, is the gift of home.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Four Days in the Life of a Fourteen Year Old Girl

In the midst of the war, Aliza's youth group's annual summer camp date arrived this week. Four days of hiking and camping out. She was a bit horrified that there would be no showers (she was happy that in the last night there was finally facilities for a shower). She went prepared...two phones, three batteries.

She took enough sweets and candies to last a month - and ate almost none of them. She's been drinking a lot - that's good and smart because it's August in Israel which translates to HOT, HOT, and HOTTER.

With the grace of God, there was a ceasefire during the entire time...except that Hamas broke it at 9:30 last night and I fought the urge to get in the car and go get her. With each siren and each report of a rocket hitting, I told myself I was being ridiculous, and I was. She had already gotten very close to Jerusalem - not out of range, but still quite far.

I kept thinking they should have canceled the camp...though Aliza is so happy that they didn't. As to what they did - over the last four days, she has walked from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem - not only a distance of 47 kilometers (29.2 miles) but uphill as well.

She walked 10 kilometers the first day; 15 the next. She walked 13 kilometers yesterday and will walk the final 9 kilometers today. She asked me to make her chicken soup (which I make with turkey)...she said that's all she wants.

So...I'm leaving work early today to go home and make the soup I would normally make tomorrow...because I can't wait to have her home and because despite my own cowardice, I am so proud that she walked 47 kilometers seeing some of the most beautiful areas of Israel!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What We Accomplished During this War

No, this isn't an analysis of the war, especially because I don't believe we are done. I think Round 3 will begin, as Hamas has promised, TONIGHT after midnight. That frightens me more than I can admit on a personal level.

Each summer, my children look forward to the youth group camping. When they are in the early grades, it is for one night, and slowly, through the years, it builds. Last year, Aliza joined her youth group for a three day trip...this year, her final year in the youth group, it is for four nights.

They are walking from Beit Shemesh, in the center of the country, up through the mountains to Jerusalem. They are averaging 10-15 kilometers a day. I'm astounded and proud of her...and worried that tomorrow night, her last night, Hamas could fire rockets.

The army restricts gatherings of over 500 people within a certain range of Gaza. She is not in that range and the chances of them aiming where her group will be sleeping is so small...and yet too large for a worried mother.

But that's the worry - what I wanted to write about was the accomplishments made during this war...on the smallest possible level...and here it is.

I have a client in Herzilya. Part of Herziliya has become one of the largest centers of innovation in the country. Driving here, you pass major hi-tech companies - Microsoft, Oracle, Google...just to name a few.

For the last few weeks, I have been slowly losing the view of the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The view is gone but what remains is a testament to Israel. Each day, the workers go up there and do what they do, and each week, there is a new floor that will soon be filled with more hi-tech companies creating the most amazing software and hardware in the world. Really.

In the early days, I worried what would happen to the workers if there was a siren while they were working up there. In the end, I was lucky. All the days that there were sirens, I was working remotely. Though I've often had video conferences in the bomb shelter, I've never had to go there to seek shelter and since I was never there, I can't say what happens to the workers way up on the cranes.

But what I can tell you is that despite the war, nothing stopped these guys from working. There before my eyes, the building has grown several stories in height. There's a message in there for Hamas. You can't stop us from living; you can't even stop us from building!

A Message to France

Europe is being conquered...and the amazing part is that it is happening daily, all over Europe. The Europeans know this and the smart ones are very worried. Many French Jews are waking up and have made plans to move to Israel; Ukrainian Jews have been coming to Israel.

What is left behind is a Europe that won't be recognized by its citizens in the coming years. I can't say they don't deserve it; but I know that they will regret it. This Latma video is cute and funny...with a very serious message underneath.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Today, No Rockets Were Fired at Israel

None...

And you see, the saddest part about that is that this is news - not that rockets WERE fired, but that they were NOT.

In Israel, no children ran to bomb shelters; no mothers struggled to grab their children while calculated the safest place to hide. No soldiers walked up to a house and delivered the worst news a parent could ever hear.

In any other country, the news would be shocked to report that a rocket had been fired within its borders. Here in Israel, the big news story is that Hamas has actually managed to withhold its fire for coming up on 48 hours now.

Robin Williams and the Jewish Problem

There's this old joke about a teacher assigning her students with the task of writing about elephants. The French child wrote about the love life of elephants, or some such thing. The Italian wrote of what elephants ate - all stereotypical responses. As for the Jewish child, he wrote, "The Elephant and the Jewish Problem."


I don't know why I thought of that - maybe I'm looking for a smile.

I heard that Robin Williams had died on the way into work this morning....they discussed his talents, his movies. Said he had three children.

And then the inevitable conversation, "I heard he was Jewish," said one newscaster.

"No, his wife is Jewish," responded the Hollywood-based reporter.

"So, his children are Jewish," said the first.

"No, he was married three times. His current wife is Jewish; his children are from a previous marriage. But he was a mentsch [a good person]."

Maybe that sums up so much - he was a mentsch in a world where there are so few. He was so much a part of my growing up...so many movies, so many smiles. I always thought he was the most human of men, the smartest, the best.

He never struck me, as George Clooney did, as full of himself but rather full of talent. He made America laugh - better I can say of few men.

May his memory be blessed and may whatever tormented him in life, leave him alone in death. May his family be comforted - few live as full a life as he did. He gave great meaning to so many roles, each a message for all of us.

Understand Israel...in Just 10 Minutes

Ron Dermer on CNN

Update - it was a HAMAS rocket, NOT Israeli...see how brilliantly Israel's Ron Dermer responded...and how badly the media failed to accurately report the most basic facts in this incident.

The outrage of the world has to be turned on Hamas - absolutely!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Gaza Deserves its Own Iron Dome

I'm tired - I started to call this post just that - I'm tired. I keep thinking it and writing it and still the depth of my exhaustion can't be described. It is emotionally draining - this whole thing - war, ceasefire, war, rockets, the worry about who has been called, who will be called.

I sleep for a few hours and wake in the middle of the night wondering if my friends in the south are asleep or hearing sirens. I try to work but every so often - sometimes several times an hour, sometimes a few hours apart, my computer rings to indicate a missile attack.

So now we are about 20 hours into the second  72 hour ceasefire. Hamas promises it will be the last; swears in the next attack, they will attack Tel Aviv. Considering they attacked Tel Aviv last night minutes before the ceasefire began, why do they think that threat will break us?

Everywhere, the talk is still of the war. No one believes it is over - even the people who thought it was over last time, now understand we are not done.

On the bright side, my family managed to weather this one with no one inside and chances of one of my sons being called now is probably low. Still, the tension in the country, in my house, in my world, is so high.

Tomorrow, after about 6 weeks of waiting, we get our new car. Even before I left the hospital after the accident, my husband had called Mitsubishi, told them about the accident and asked them to reserve the same car, same color. We had literally been talking about how much I loved the car on the way up to our meetings, an hour or so before the accident.

I should be more excited about getting the car...I probably will be when I see it. For now, I'm more caught up in waiting, watching, wondering. It sounds like a silly soap opera - Will Tom catch Ann? Will Hamas fire before the ceasefire? Will Richard discover Kate's secret? Are there more tunnels that can be used.

And will the UN be satisfied if we give Gaza its own Iron Dome?

What War Should Feel Like

For all that there are things that are not perfect in Israel, there are so many things we do right. Sometimes, in the depths of sadness, we need to remember this.

Israel is not a politically correct country. Frankly, we really don't understand the world and readily accept that it doesn't understand us. This is not some game we are playing here; this is our lives. We cannot afford to be gracious and accommodating more than we have been. We have tried the road to peace for more than 60 years; it has gotten us nowhere.

What we do, how we wage war is determined by two factors. One is international law - but the greater and stricter value, the one that really counts - is our own sense of morality. We have conducted this war, as with our other wars, to avoid harming innocent Palestinians. It would be funny, if it weren't so pathetic, how our efforts are largely ignored.

Video after video shows what Hamas is doing - from firing from civilian areas, to hiding their rockets in UN-sponsored schools, mosques and hospitals, to standing - quite literally, behind children.

We are, as a nation, nearly crippled by the deaths of our soldiers. Each one is a physical blow. Tens of thousands of people all over the country have attended each of the 64 funerals of the soldiers we have lost. We didn't lose a nameless soldier thousands of miles away in an unnamed country fighting a battle that doesn't really touch us. We lost a son, a precious, irreplaceable place in our hearts and lives fighting to defend our homes and at any moment, we could get in a car and be where he died in a matter of minutes, hours at most. From the farthest point on Israel, we could reach the border with Gaza in three to four hours of driving. From my home, I can be there in just over an hour. I have friends who are right there, or 5 minutes away, or 30 minutes or whatever. This is the way it should be.

We are, as a nation, nearly crippled with the desire for peace. Each generation serves this country with the firm belief that in doing so, our sons and daughters won't have to. I have heard this from my son-in-law, whose son is only 3 years old. I have heard this from my friends, whose son fought in Lebanon. Each generation, each decade, each year and each month, we pray this will be the last time we send our sons to battle. And this is how it should be.

As a nation, we do everything we can to avoid hurting civilians on the other side, even as their very goal, their ideal target, is the innocent of Israel. They dance in the streets, nearly wet themselves with glory, when they hear that one of them has murdered three teenage boys, murdered a baby, set off a bomb in a mall. I have seen them celebrate; heard their fireworks, cheers and even gunfire. And despite their glee, we continue as before. We shoot flares into buildings - even the foreign press and the United Nations has confirmed our warnings - the leaflets we drop in Arabic saying this area will be targeted; the media announcements, get out of this Hamas-filled neighborhood; the text messages to cellular phones, time is running out. We confirmed that shooting was coming from a hospital in Gaza - we called them and gave them TWO days to evacuate and then we called them again, in Arabic...is everyone out? Are you sure? And then we blew it up a hospital that wasn't a hospital but an arsenal. All proved by the secondary explosions of explosives shown in video after our precision strike. This is how it should be - innocents should not be targeted.

At any moment, at every moment, all parts of Israel are connected. In the far north, in Jerusalem, everywhere, we know when a rocket is fired and where it hits. We are doing what we can to help residents of the south - special fairs are being set up with businesses coming north and many people surrounding them to purchase from them. We are sending down truckloads of toys and food for the children and families of the south. Most of all, we are worrying and watching and praying for the residents of the south - this too is how it should be.

What should a war feel like? It should feel like it does here in Israel - that you can barely concentrate on work you need to do; that at any moment, you have to stop and check that everyone is okay. You don't feel lucky because you live more than 40 kilometers away; you remain terrified who live less than that.

You count the seconds from a siren...7 seconds for those who are right next to Gaza; 15 seconds for those near Sderot and similar distances; 45 seconds for Ashkelon; 60 seconds for Beersheva.

And finally, when involved in a war, you should know and believe that there are can be no victors. No one wins in war. The only question might be who loses less. Israel is not claiming victory not because we have not shown our incredible military superiority and not because we celebrate their endless attacks on our open fields. We are not celebrating because we lost 67 worlds. This is as it should be...and we wonder how it is possible, if they really lost so much and so many, that they continue to break every ceasefire - no, that isn't as it should be.

The fact that Hamas can claim genocide and complete destruction on one hand and claim victory on the other seems to me to be a huge contradiction. So huge, in fact, that it boggles the mind that so many outside of Israel fail to realize this.

War should feel like hell...and it should be the very thing you work hardest to avoid and when it comes to your land, yet again, you should feel such incredible sadness. There are no videos calling for Israelis to march into Gaza and blow up innocent people; there are no songs celebrating this war. There is, in Israel, acceptance that once again our sons and daughters have been called to defend our land and our people and, as always, they have answered the call with honor, with morality, with strength and determination.


From An Israeli Soldier to Ban-Ki Moon and the UN

This is a guest post by an Israeli soldier who recently spent 17 days fighting in Gaza. The words are his...the anger is mine. I hurt for this young man, for what he witnessed, for the friends he lost. I thank him for allowing me to post this here; I thank him for his service and love of Israel and hope he knows that this love is returned. He has our pride, our love, our gratitude.

From an Israeli Soldier to Ban-Ki Moon and the United Nations

This morning, after 17 nights of sleeping in my IDF uniform and shoes, i finally woke up at home. Sadly, I woke up to a very disturbing headline produced by the head of the U.N. 

Mr. Ban-Ki Moon declared yesterday that Israel has committed countless war crimes during Operation "Protective Edge" and called for the prosecution of those who bombed and fired at UNRWA institutions in Gaza.

I would like to share with you some of my experiences during this operation. I do not feel the need to elaborate about the hurt, anger and pain I feel today, after losing friends and soldiers, because hurting is, unfortunately, the fate of both sides of the conflict. 

Yet, I do feel the need to explain why I believe the U.N declaration yesterday is false and biased. A team of soldiers that serves in my unit entered an UNRWA health clinic in Khan Younis on July 30th. According to Israeli intelligence, this health clinic allowed Hamas to dig a terror tunnel in the first floor of the building.

When the soldiers entered the clinic (and found the terror tunnel), twelve 80 kilo barrels of explosives were activated, killing three of our soldiers and injuring most of the other members of the team. 

Mr. Ban-Ki Moon, if you want to prosecute those who bombed UNRWA institutions in Gaza, please Sir, go ahead.

Unfortunately I can not share the details of the missions I took part in during this operation but I feel the urge to share with you the decision making process that is held when it comes to bombing terror centers and terrorists. 

I will first say that the IDF uses the smartest and most expensive missiles available in order to kill terrorists, and terrorists only. These missiles are very accurate and strike only the places where the terrorists hide, causing minimal damage to the neighborhoods adjacent to these terror locations. 

The decision making process that is held by the commanders of the IDF includes viewing the area and understanding that there are no innocent bystanders that might get hurt from the bombing.

Please believe me when I say that I have held my fire countless times, knowing that terrorists will get away, because innocent people might have been hurt.
I am not afraid to write this information because it is already known and used by Hamas terrorists that launch their rockets from schools and hide in hospitals. They already know our merciful policy.


Mr. Ban-Ki Moon, if you want to prosecute me for war crimes, go right ahead. I will leave all my details below, for your convenience. [A Soldier's Mother adds: I have deleted them and Mr. Ban-Ki Moon, if you wish to prosecute this IDF soldier, you will have to go through me and every other citizen of Israel first!]

Hamas is a problem that waits for a U.N solution. I ,as well as the rest of the world, hurt for the loss of innocent lives in Gaza. I really do. But with that said, our country cannot continue living with the threat of rockets being launched at us. 


Mr.
Ban-Ki Moon, perhaps instead of blaming Israel for supposedly committing war crimes, the U.N should concentrate more on fixing this terrible problem in order that no more Israeli civilians, no more young Israeli soldiers, and no more innocent Gazans will die.

--- A Soldier of the Israel Defense Forces 


(Name withheld until such time as the world wakes up and recognizes the true guilty party in Gaza)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Eternal Israel...

New song by Lenny Solomon - beautiful.

Here's a very rough translation (missing a few lines but it was taking too long and I missed a few words)...but so beautiful....

Difficult times
The people are united
Everyone is ready (prepared)
This special people

The army fights
The people support
All together with the support of the people

Israel forever - eternal Israel
He will not lie
The people of Israel is forever

Everyone helps
The people volunteer
...
The people continue
A nation of righteousness
Everyone is united
The nation of Israel lives

Israel forever - eternal Israel
He will not lie
The people of Israel is forever

Things Children Should Never Say

...or perhaps it is more accurate to say these are things children should never HAVE to say

Yoav, 5.5 years old - his family has evacuated to a cabin in the north to get away from the rockets. The owner of the cabin showed the family to the cabin, and told where pool was, and where the dining room is and when the tour was over, little Yoav said, "but you didn't tell us where the bomb shelter is."

Shay, 5.5 years old asked her mother - "Ima, are they shooting in all the countries now?"

Niv, 3.5 years old - "the best weapon is bananas - that way everyone will slip and we'll win."

Keshet, 5 years old - went with her family up north to get away from the rockets and her tooth fell out. She asked her mother, "Ima, how can the tooth fairy get in to here, but the rockets can't?"

Uri, 5 years old - his father has been called into the Reserves and someone called his mother to ask if he needs anything. Uri heard this and responded, "Of course! He needs a kiss and a hug from us."

Noya, 6 years old - her father came back for a short visit with the family  (for his birthday) after 3 weeks serving in the south. He came in needing a haircut, long beard and a few more gray hairs. Noya said, "Abba, did you have a birthday while you were in the Reserves, it looks like you grew by a year."

Lotan (4.5 years old) was talking with his friend(5 years old)- both attend nursery school in Rishon L'Zion
     Lotan: we had a siren today in nursery school.
     Friend: we didn't have one.
     Lotan: so it seems you had a ceasefire.

Ariel (3.5 years old), "Ima, right at night they make the sirens weaker so that we can sleep?"

Shoham (4.5 years old) asked his mother, "Ima, when there's a siren in the safari, where do the animals go [to hide]?"


Ayelet-Chen (4.5) from a community near the Gaza border, whose parents chose to take her to the north to get away from the rockets, "Ima, it's very nice here but when your telephone tells you there aren't any more sirens, we can return home?

Noam (4 years old), whose father is serving in Gaza, to her friend, "To you know why there are not more missiles falling? Because my father went to the army to stop them - and even if he isn't your father, he'll stop them for you too."

Gabbi (2.5 years old), "Ima, right when there's an alarm, you run to a worried place" (the Hebrew word for "protected" sounds a little like the Hebrew word for "worried")

Yuval (4 years old) asked her mother: - "Ima, Abba's [Daddy's] work is in a protected room?" His mother assured him that yes, his father's work place has a protected room (i.e. bomb shelter). Yuval answered, "what, he works in the stairwell?"

Goni (3 years old) sees his father dressed in uniform about to leave the house for Reserve duty and says, "Abba, are you going to the army?" His father answers that he is, and Goni asks "where does the army live?"

Ariel (3 years old), "Ima, do the soldiers have enough water in their guns?"

Elia (5 years old), "Ima, don't worry. You don't have to set the alarm clock because the sirens already wake us up in the morning."

Shachar (2 years old), "Ima,  you know, when the woman says 'Color Red' [announcement of a Red Alert /incoming missile attack], then we need to run to the dwarf" (Hebrew word that Shachar said was "gamad" - what he meant was "mamad" which is a protected room)

Emunah (4 years old) "Ima, close all the windows in the house so that the siren can't come in."

Should Arab Men Sexually Attack Israeli Women?

Apparently, there are those who believe they should. Watch the video below...and though you want to dismiss her as a fool, remember that she is a lawyer, being interviewed on Al-Arabiya television.

Who does this woman speak for? What religion? What country? I want to believe she is a stupid, ignorant, dumb moron without a brain or a heart.

I want to believe she speaks for no one, for no people, no religion, no culture, no god.

 I will say with complete confidence that she does not speak for God, she does not speak for any religion that is recognized by the God I worship.

The irony here is the slip she makes when referring to how Arab men are already abusing Arab women. As statistics prove, she is correct about that.

I'd like to believe that some twisted sickness turned her into someone who could spout this mindless hatred.

My fear is that the twisted sickness has a name...and I fear that name is Islam.



 

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