The many blogposts I intend to write- and I have many wonderful sights, people and culture- seemed to get pre-emoted with other more serious stories these days.
This week we were supposed to be celebrating. Eurovision, the international song fest similar to a global “American Idol” of sorts starts in Tel Aviv tonight. Hosting this gala been quite a source of pride for this tiny country and has been the talk of Israel for the past several months. Already, contestants and event goers have started arriving. It is scheduled to last until May 18.
This week we celebrate Memorial Day, an entire day of national mourning over the lives lost in wars and to terror attacks. The remembrance of cost of freedom that turns at sunset to jubilation over our independence in 1948. I was going to write about nationalism of the good kind, where it doesn’t matter where you came from, but who you are now.
This week marked the start of Ramadan. Yesterday morning at 10:00 am, a time when most Israelis are in synagogue or are enjoying what is supposed to be a lazy, relaxed Shabbat, the Gazans began their shelling. Hamas. It actually translates to ‘violence.’ Hamas. The past 36 hours has developed into an incessant barrage of rockets from Gaza. The Red Alert buzzer on my App has not stopped for longer than about 40 minutes. Then it resumes. Incoming missiles in the center of the country. Listing each community effected.
Thank G-d, we are all safe up here in the North. So far there have been 5 Israelis killed with hundreds of injuries, some critical, some light shrapnel wounds, on the Israeli side. Hundreds have been treated for shock. Thank G-d for Iron Dome which has intercepted a vast majority of the missiles. Many have fallen in open spaces. But still, far too many structures have incurred direct hits. Homes. Kindergartens. Workplaces. A gas station. A hospital lightly hit. Schools have been canceled as well as any public gatherings and open air markets. All emergency shelters are open. In some communities, there is only a 15 second warning to take shelter. And the arc of shelling has swept wider and further into the Areas South, East and North of Gaza.
Can you imagine any other country having to deal with this and what their response would be???? Yes. The IDF is doing surgical strikes taking out weapons production sites; Hamas military headquarters; terrorist strongholds; terror tunnel shafts. Hamas targets civilians. Israel targets terror. Over 700 missiles have been launched so far by Gaza.
It seems Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are both responsible for the escalating violence. Israeli reinforcements and artillery are being moved into position as this develops into a war of attrition, according to Debka.com. It’s apparent that the fragile truce brokered in March by Egypt has collapsed and Netanyahu is not interested in accepting another false cease-fire. Of course, many news stations are saying it’s the fault of Israel for cutting funding from Gaza.
As I’m writing this, I have been checking international news outlets. ABC is not reporting anything at all. CBS has picked up the story, but it’s well down on their list of news. BBC has remained completely silent. The Guardian has it listed as a top headliner, but distorts facts and makes Israel the aggressor. HuffPo is in lockstep with a verbatim article from NBC. CNN and NBC include it in their top news stories. However, NBC is giving it a biased slant in favor of the terrorists. The story leads with a picture of a young Gaza’s girl sitting amid rubble. They report a pregnant Muslim woman and her young toddler were killed, but make it sound like it was due to IDF retaliation. In fact, according to Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, IDF, on reviewing the video footage, one of the hundreds of missiles launched by Gaza fell short, wiping out an apartment building on the Gaza side. The mother and two children were killed. Fox News has listed it way down the story line All Israeli news outlets are giving detailed regular updates.
From recent news reports: “We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed”, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit tweeted. Also leading terrorist operative, Hamid Ahmed Abdul Khudri has been killed in Gaza.
We pray for the safety of all the citizens of Israel. For protection and wisdom and courage for our young soldiers, male and female. We pray for wisdom for Netanyahu and the administration that they act in HaShem’s timing and intensity. We pray for a deescalation of violence. And that it does not spread to include multiple fronts. We pray for safety for us as we travel down to Tel Aviv tomorrow. We pray for peace.