You see, as most Americans were waking up this morning, and those in Europe and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel — over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.”
Published October 25, even more relevant today.
Seems the foreign press has been largely out to coffee during the past year. According to them, this latest action started when Israel, in a precise strike, killed Ahmed Jabari, Hamas’ top military man, rather than following months, weeks and days of rocket attacks on civilian centers in Israel.
Don’t believe me? Watch this November 15th interview of Mark Regev by CNN.
Don’t believe me? Here’s what Hamas official Khalil al-Haya had to say following Jabari’s demise,
“The battle between us and the occupation is open and it will end only with the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
Via: Fox News
I’ve lived here for a long time (32 years) and been through enough popular uprisings, wars, actions and operations to know that this agenda hasn’t changed since the days of the PLO. Extremists do not know the word “compromise,” no matter how much the Israeli and Palestinian peoples may want and long for peace and quiet (and, yes, there are those on both sides that do). It’s a bleak outlook ahead for everyone.
UPDATE: Currently Hamas is firing Fajr-5 rockets, provided by Iran, that can reach the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, which is the area I live in, making the total number of people under fire significantly larger (3.5 million). Like all missiles fired from Gaza, Hamas is firing them from within civilian areas, putting its own population at risk, again.
NOTE: In the interview with Mark Regev, at time-mark 1:20 there is a split-screen video from Reuters where an injured Palestinian man in a black shirt and beige jacket is being carried away from a bombing site. This video has been debunked as completely staged. A few minutes later, the same man was photographed standing up and walking away from the scene.
So you wanted to know what it’s like living under fire from Gaza?
Yesterday evening, straight from Netivot (speakers on)
- Grad Missile Hits Netivot Home (israelnationalnews.com)
- Grad rocket slams into Netivot home; several treated for shock (timesofisrael.com)
- IDF launches three Gaza strikes in response to rocket fire (haaretz.com)
In the Jewish calendar the period of “Slichot”, which means forgiveness, is a time of turning inward to reflect and contemplate on our own behavior and our relationships with both humankind and the Divine. Slichot starts prior to the Jewish New Year and leads up to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the most solemn day of the year, which this year begins at sundown tonight and ends after nightfall Wednesday night.
Yom Kippur is a strange day in Israel. As night falls the streets empty of cars, the incessant noise of car tires is replaced by the shouts of children bicycling on the roads along with roller skaters and young parents out with strollers. It is a stark contrast to the observance of the Jewish calendar’s most holy day by the religious, who are fasting and praying for atonement.
Having grown up in a Conservative Jewish home in the States, where plurality was the norm, it is not the non-observance of my secular neighbors that disturbs me, but the indifferent lack of consideration for those that do. It nevertheless, reflects our sorely divided society. Not having grown up in Israel it didn’t really hit me how wide the divide between religious and secular was until I spoke with an acquaintance who made it clear that their family would have nothing to do with fasting or prayer on Yom Kippur or any other time because of the religious. For her, no wishes for being inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year or wishing someone an easy fast, Yom Kippur greetings which are for me the distilled essence of the day, and a small light bulb lit up over my head about how non-observant Jewish Israelis view Judaism.
Even though the school system teaches the Old Testament and Jewish holidays from a young age, most Israelis come in contact with the state religion through the local rabbinate or religious council only at key points in their lives, namely birth, marriage and death, and they are met with the strictest, most intolerant form of Jewish observance. If you wish to do something other than the strict orthodox observance of those events, you cannot do so here. No other option is officially available, even with the apparent “official” adoption of other Jewish movements within the State. Religion, like language, however, has never been set in stone and clinging to a restricted, narrow form of observance forces the divide even wider, making each party more intransigent and intolerant. Reading the daily newspapers it also seems to me that this intolerance spills over into other aspects of our daily life. It’s a downward spiral.
As we head into this most solemn day on the Hebrew calendar, where introspection, meditation and prayer are mandated, as a Jew and as an Israeli, I will not only meditate on how I can become a better person in the coming year, I will also contemplate the abyss of “Sinat Achim” and hope with righteous actions that it can be bridged.
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year and may your fast be an easy one.
(*Meaning, “Excuse me” or “Forgive me”. But, intonation is everything. Said with emphasis, the title of this post could also mean “Say what?!”)
Update: In the Moment’s blog also discusses the issue. Poll: Most Jewish Israelis dissatisfied with government policies on religion