Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't uproot what has been planted

As our soldiers are heading back into the Gaza Strip, now is a good time to remember the Jewish Communities of Gush Katif and the Northern Gaza Strip.

In 2005, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, we left behind the infrastructure of 21 beautiful communities.
Although the people were evicted from their homes, and their houses were bulldozed, the roads and some infrastructure was left intact, including the wonderful horticulture business which produced vegetables and flowers which were exported all over Europe.

We handed over a man-made Paradise to the people of Gaza. What did they do with these beautiful communities? Using the Satellite View in Google Maps, you can see what is left of these communities - take a look at the links below to see the desolate wasteland dotted with roads and empty greenhouses in what was once some of the most beautiful communities in Israel.

Bnei Atzmon 
Gan Or
Ganei Tal
Kerem Atzmona
Kfar Darom 
Kfar Yam
Netzer Hazani 
Neve Dekalim 
Pe'at Sadeh
Rafiah Yam
Shirat HaYam
Tel Katifa
Elei Sinai 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Baruch Dayan Haemet

ברוך דיין האמת

More soldiers died today defending our land.

When the land offensive started, we knew that there was a high chance that some of our precious sons (and daughters) would not come home, but at least they know that they died in a just cause - if there ever was a just, ethical war - this is it.

May G-d grant our army strength to continue in their mission and guard and protect them from all further harm. And may He grant the wisdom and courage in our leaders to continue to do what's right, and to finish this operation so that the citizens of Israel are no longer under threat of a murderous terrorist regime.

We should keep our thoughts and prayers with our soldiers.

There is a new web site that tells you how many days, hours and minutes Israel has been "Rocket Free"

As of this writing, Israel has been "Rocket Free" for just over half an hour. I hope that by the end of this operation, we will measure the time that Israel has been rocket free in years, not minutes.

There were many times in History when Jewish Blood ran freely, and no one lifted a finger to help us - that period of history is over.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How do you say "Chutzpa" in British?

This has got to be one of the most disgusting videos I have ever seen (waning, may cause nausea or vomiting)

For people unaware, Britain has been involved in the wars in Afghanistan (about 20,000 Civilian deaths) and Iraq (only about 5000 civilian deaths) yet neither Afghanistan nor Iraq has fired a single rocket at London, not even a tiny Gad B at Leeds. The citizens of Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, and all other British towns and cities have not experienced a single rocket (well not since WWII), they don't have air raid sirens, bomb shelters, or traumatized children anywhere in the UK - yet Britain has been involved in many military campaigns throughout the world.

The British army has never called the enemy to say exactly where they will bomb, doesn't drop warning leaflets or put its soldiers at risk to protect enemy civilians.

Yet members of the British Parliament have the Chutzpa to stand up and lecture Israel about international Law and Human Rights.
Is it only a breach of International Law if Israel is involved? Why have these parliamentarians singles out the Jewish State for criticism? Do they think that Jews have less right to defend themselves than other people?

Well guess what - Jews have thousands of years experience being the target of hostile enemies who say openly that they want us dead. For 2000 years we have sat quietly while we were massacred across Europe, including several times in England. We got tired of being the world's punching bag. If someone attacks us, they can now expect us to stand up an defend ourselves. And if that is offensive to members of Her Majesty's Government, well personally - I couldn't care less.

And by the way - one of the honorable MPs described Gaza as the "World's Biggest Prison" I just checked a map - the British Isles seem like a much bigger Prison (By "prison" I assume you mean "Independent territory surrounded by sea or a border") , the Government in Westminster may not be as ruthless as the Hamas Government is Gaza, and although they both seem to lack moral clarity, Hamas are still much worse - however I am prepared to bet that the food is better in the Gazan prison, and they get free health care from Israel which is surely better than the British health system, so I guess all is not lost.

(BTW - while writing this post, the radio announced a least 10 "Code Red" alerts, I'll post a video of the British parliament condemning that as soon as it is available -but don't hold your breath)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Should Israel's End Game be?

The news this morning is abuzz with talk of a cease fire which was supposed to have taken place 3 hours ago (and counting). Israel accepted the 12 hour cease fire; Hamas, true to their word, didn't - and have continued to fire rockets at Israeli towns.

Now that Israel has given Hamas an opportunity to finish the current round of fighting, assuming that they don't stop firing, Israel should make it very clear what it plans to do after the 12 hours are up, and that is to undo the damage caused to Israel's security situation by the Withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

I'm not sure whether long term Israel should have stayed in Gaza or not (Gush Katif had some of the most beautiful towns and beaches that I've seen anywhere in this country), but I am sure that the time and manner in which we withdrew from Gaza in 2005 sent a loud and clear message to the Palestinians that violence and terrorism works, and if they increase terrorism and rockets, not to mention kidnappings, there will only be further concessions from Israel.

To undo the damage from the Gaza Withdrawal, Israel must announce that at the end of the 12 hour cease fire, Israel will reconquer the Gaza Strip and reinstate a full occupation of the territory.
Israel should state that it has no intention to permanently occupy the Gaza Strip, and will not rebuild civilian institutions, however the army will retain full control of the territory until we have complete quiet for a period of 2 years.

Hamas can choose when Israel ends the occupation; it will be 2 years after the last rocket is fired into Israel. At the end of the 2 years of quiet, Israel will start a gradual withdrawal, the timing of which will depend on whether there is an agreement with the Palestinian leadership (which would mean a quick, smooth withdrawal), or the withdrawal is unilateral, which would mean that it would be in stages, and after each stage to wait a period to confirm that quiet is maintained before continuing to the next phase.

This would give Hamas complete control over when and how Israel withdraws from Gaza, and an incentive to stop rocket fire.

While the IDF are in Gaza, they should make sure every effort to prevent attacks against both our civilians and soldiers. This would include a full presence along the Philadelphi corridor to stop arms smuggling from Egypt, complete control over land and sea ports to inspect all imports, and dividing the Gaza strip into three separate areas. Each area should be governed by separate rules based on how quiet it is - for example, if there are a lot of attacks coming out of the North of Gaza Strip, there may need to be curfews or limit of travel within that area. If the Southern Gaza strip is quieter, we should encourage and assist them in rebuilding infrastructure in that area.

During the hopefully short term re-occupation of the Gaza Strip, Israel should see what it can do to improve the quality of life and economy of Gaza. For example, Israel could build a military hospital, which could also serve civilian needs for the local population, maybe even including a medical school to train new Gazan doctors, so Palestinians do not need to travel to Israel for medical care.
If the Southern Gaza Strip is quiet, maybe bring in some of the experts who designed the greenhouses in Gush Katif to reestablish them under Gazan ownership so that the Gazans can grow flowers and vegetables which could be exported to Israel instead of rockets.

Would the idea work - no idea, but unless Israel articulates a detailed plan how to stop Hamas from attacking our civilians, even after the current round of fighting is finished, we will still have regular attacks against towns in the south and a repeat of this war in another 12-24 months, like a bad movie being played over and over again.

Lets find a way to stop this movie and bring quiet to the citizens of Sderot as well has Khan Yunis

Monday, July 7, 2014

I fully agree with and endorse the open letter of condemnation posted on the Elder of Zion blog.

We unequivocally condemn the horrific murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. It was unjustifiable under any circumstances. The killing was reprehensible and we hope that the criminals who did this sickening act are found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Israel is a country run by the rule of law. There are reports that Jews have been arrested for this crime. If a trial finds that Jews are indeed guilty of this unconscionable killing, our condemnation is redoubled. The idea that Jews could do such an act fills us with shame and horror.

The people who murdered Mohammed do not represent us in any way. It is not enough to dissociate ourselves from the dreadful act; we must also ensure that crimes like this are never repeated.

Just as the appalling murders of Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar do not in any way justify the hideous murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, neither does Khdeir's murder justify the violence, terrorism, destruction and incitement we have seen over the past few days against Israelis and Jews.

We hope and pray that everyone, Arab and Jew, lives in peace and security in the region.


Between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Compare and Contrast

The media has been filled in recent days by the response to the horrific murders of "our Boys" (Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal הי"ד) and the subsequent equally horrific murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir.  The response to these two acts of barbarianism is a good opportunity to compare values in Jewish and Arab society.

So with flashbacks to 6th form English, here is my essay on "Compare and Contrast the response to murders in the Holy land"

Murder of Gilad, Eyal, and Naftali

What Happened: Three teenagers were kidnapped and murdered on their way home from school.

The Perpetrators: Members of Hamas.

Why were they killed: Because they were Jewish.

Response of the Palestinian Leadership:  Palestinian Authority issued a belated condemnation, Hamas denied responsibility but said that they supported the action.

Response of the Palestinian People: Wide spread celebration including handing out candies in the street and the infamous 3-fingered salute. Large number of rockets fired at civilian targets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Anti-Semitic cartoons in the PA-controlled Palestinian press.

Response of World Leaders: Mild commendation and calls on Israel for restraint.

Response of the Israeli Leadership: Condemnation of the act, and swift action to try to locate the kidnapped teenagers, which included a curfew on the areas where the perpetrators were believed to be hiding and the arrest of several hundred members of Hamas.

Response of the Israeli People: When the boys were reported missing: massive prayer rallies and calls to increase good deeds; When the boys were found dead: tears and massive attendance at the funerals. There were limited calls for revenge which were widely condemned by religious and political leaders. There were also demonstrations in favour of unity and peace with the Palestinian People.

Murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir

What Happened: A teenager was murdered on his way to morning prayers at a local mosque.

The Perpetrators: Unknown at this stage; one theory is that it is a revenge killing, other possibilities are that it was a family "honour-killing".

Why was he killed: Unknown at this stage

Response of the Palestinian Leadership: Immediate condemnation.

Response of the Palestinian People: Massive violent rioting across the country, including massive damage of property throughout Jerusalem, including attacks against people in Northern and Southern Jerusalem, the torching of a UN vehicle near Armon HaNatziv. Riots in the Galilee, and a large number of rockets fired at civilian targets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Anti-Semitic editorials in the PA-controlled Palestinian press, including Blood Libel (claims that the boy was murdered for use in Jewish religious ritual).

Response of World Leaders: Immediate strong commendation.

Response of the Israeli Leadership: Swift action to try to locate the perpetrators and strong condemnation of the murder. Public statements from political leaders across the spectrum condemning violence or calls for revenge.

Response of the Israeli People: Strong condemnation of the murder. and calls to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Public statements from religious leaders (including the Chief Rabbi) condemning violence or calls for revenge.

I'd also like to mention the murder of Omaima Jaradat

What Happened: A 16 year old Arab Girl was murdered by her uncle for "disgracing family honour".

The Perpetrators: The girl's uncle.

Why was she killed: "Disgracing family honour"

Response of the Palestinian Leadership: No public response - Arabs killing a female family member is not newsworthy.

Response of the Palestinian People: No public response - Arabs killing a female family member is not newsworthy.

Response of World Leaders: No public response - Arabs killing a female family member is not newsworthy.

Response of the Israeli Leadership: Police arrested the murderer, No public response.

Response of the Israeli People: Arabs killing a female family member is not newsworthy.

A Facebook friend of mine said that there is no difference between different types of killing, all mothers grieve the same. It may be true that all mothers grieve (although I'm not sure how mothers respond to an "honor-killing" of their children) - however there is a profound difference between how different cultures respond to grief (hint: massive destruction of public property and attacks against civilians is not supported or encouraged by all cultures).

Lets hope that Muhammad Abu Khdeir's murderer  is quickly brought to justice and we have a quieter week in this little country of ours.

Monday, June 30, 2014

16 Years and 16 Days

The past 16 days in our little country were 16 days like no other that I can remember.
For 16 days our entire country was united in prayer - there was no religious or secular, no right-wing or left-wing just a nation united in prayer, in hope, and in worry.

A nation glued to the news, hoping to hear the news that was never to come.

A nation that constantly had the the words בשרות טובות on our lips - a wish for good news that was never to come.
A nation that always had the names and images of the three boys on their lips, always wondering where were our boys, Naftali, Gil-ad, and Elad (הי"ד). A nation that spent a few extra minutes hugging their children before they set out in the morning and when they came home safely at the end of the day.

And then, on the 17th day, while the country was celebrating the end of the school year and start of Summer vacation, our small nation was shattered with the news that we all feared would come, but had tried to put out of our mind - that our three young boys will never come home from school, their plans for the Summer vacation, and for next year and beyond will never come to pass.

My youngest son is Amichai, - עמי-חי - My nation lives. He is 5 years old.
Tonight as I put Amichai to bed he looked at me and asked if it was true that our three boys were now in גן עדן - in the Garden of Eden? He stopped and thought about what he had just said, and then asked with a child's innocence - "does this mean that they will never grow old"?
Before going to sleep, he insisted on saying another chapter of Psalms - I said to him that we no longer need to say Psalms to bring the boys home - "I know" he said, "but can we say Psalms anyway for the boys' mothers, so that they know that we are still thinking of them and they won't be sad". So together Amichai and I recited Psalms 130 - שיר המעלות ממעמקים קראתיך ה - "A song of Ascent - out of the depths have I cried to You HaShem", words that even a child of 5 has said so many times over the past 2 weeks that he knew them by heart.

Master of the Universe - Your children have cried enough, please now is the time to wipe away our tears.....

המקום ינחם אתנו בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים ולא תוסיפו לדאבה עוד