On the first day of Protective Edge I found myself travelling north past Beit Shean, past the Kinneret, even past Katzrin. Almost to the Syrian border we stopped our car and parked at the side of the road. We were just a drop late for our son-in-law’s army ceremony. In the course of the twenty-eight years I have lived in Israel I have been to a number of army ceremonies. They all seem to have several factors in common. They are boring, usually hot, and the family members attending always bring goodies for their loved ones. Despite all this I know it’s important to attend them. The soldiers need all the moral support they can get. On that Wednesday afternoon, the first day of war, I couldn’t think of anything I would have rather been doing and I was rewarded for my efforts. My son-in-law was presented with an excellent soldier certificate.
One week later he received a four-day pass. My daughter was especially excited as his birthday was Friday. She had plenty of plans of how to celebrate it. Part of the celebration was joining our family barbeque Thursday evening. Just as it was beginning he received a phone call. He needed to return to his base in the north. As soon as the reserve soldiers could arrive he and his unit would be sent south. The ground war was really happening.
A phenomenal amount of prayers were recited last month for Ayal, Gil-ad, and Naftali, the kidnapped boys. No prayers are ever wasted and I am not the only one to think those prayers are now helping to protect our soldiers in this war. It seems as if most of us are bound together in our concern for them and all those suffering from the barrage of rocket fire. Sorrowfully, though, there are still those that point fingers and play the blame game and that helps no one. The army and government, although not perfect, are doing the best they can in a very difficult situation. Those who still blame the settlements need to have a better understanding of Israeli history.*
As indignant as I feel about those who blame the settlers for all the problems, I do understand their desire to do so. It reminds me of the battered wife syndrome. She thinks if only she can stop burning the food, keep the house cleaner, make sure that no man looks at her admiringly, or whatever her husband blames her for, then the abuse will end. It won’t though because she isn’t the one at fault. Her husband is the one with the problem. Even if she serves gourmet meals, uses the best cleaning supplies in the world, or wears a sack so no one will look at her the abuse will continue.
So it is with the Arabs. My home in Shilo didn’t cause their problems and I refuse to bear the blame. Destroying my community or turning it over to our enemies won’t improve the situation. We have tried appeasement and treaties. Now, sadly, it’s time for war. I pray that Protective Edge will end quickly, successfully, with as few casualties as possible, and end the abuse. Then, instead of going to army rituals, I can attend graduation ceremonies. They are just as boring but, at least in Israel, schools are safer than wars.
May HaShem comfort the families, the friends, and all of us for the painful loss of the soldiers killed in battle.
*just a small number of important facts
-Fatah (PLO), dedicated to the destruction of Israel, began in 1965 before there were any settlements. Yehudah and Shomron were occupied by Jordan and Gaza by Egypt. Refugee camps were built by Jordan and Egypt to house Arab refugees from 1948 Israel.
-With the reunification of Jerusalem following The Six Day War Israel returned the running of The Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, back to the Arabs. Since then scores of Jewish worshippers below at the Kotel have been attacked with rocks and refuse.
-The Oslo Accords, signed by Israel in 1993, included arming hundreds of PA policemen. In its wake over 1500 Jews were murdered by suicide bombers and drive-by shootings.
-The 2005 Disengagement, the dismantling of seventeen Jewish settlements in Gaza, left thousands of settlers homeless and enabled Arabs from Gaza to shoot as far as Tel Aviv, and farther.
-Just this week at least two humanitarian ceasefires were agreed to and during each one Hamas fired rockets at Israel.
-This past year protestors were killed in Turkey, Egypt, and Libya. Women and children in Afghanistan were bombed. Scores of victims were hung in Iran. Almost 2000 Arabs were murdered in Syria. The building of settlements is not the problem.