Dear Chaverot, Dear Friends,
Now more than ever, Am-Israel must stay resilient, strong and united for great challenges face us in Israel and in the Diaspora. As the cease fire enters its second day. talks in Cairo continue. All in all it is too soon to speculate on anything, so rather than do so, I would like to concentrate on other aspects of Protective Edge.
LIVING ON THE EDGE
Residents from the border line kibbutzim and villages are still hesitant to return home after the collapse of the previous cease fire last week. The elders remain adamant and refuse to leave the land and their homes, Families have been torn apart – the husbands remaining to care for their farms and livestock, while their families stay outside the red alert zone. Some wives confessed to renting flats as they just can’t return to more of the same turmoil they have grown accustomed to.
Many of the younger generations , especially of the 30 year age group are thinking of leaving – fourteen years of accumulated physical, psychological, emotional and economical trauma is beginning to take its toll They want their children to grow up in normal conditions, and concerns regarding the tunnels is proving more than they can cope with. Children used to the red alert and all sorts of projectiles, are having nightmares about terrorists popping up from under their beds to kill them.
A ray of light is that we are also hearing of couples and families that are either building houses or intend to move to the South to strengthen it, and they intend to move there as soon as possible. They are aware of what faces them, but will not let anything or anyone change their plans.
Post trauma treatment and support will be needed much more after this war, than in previous campaigns or wars. As always, WIZO will do its best to provide whatever help it can.
WHAT YOU SEE IS CERTAINLY NOT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
Due to the bias media footage from Gaza City broadcasted worldwide , a few basic facts about the Hamas have been lost and it is imperative that they not be forgotten: Israel is a Western liberal democracy, where Arabs have the vote and, like Jews, are not detained in the middle of the night for what they think or say. While there is a violent, right-wing fringe, Israelis remains basically tolerant, even in wartime, even under terrorist provocation. Israel is a scientific, technological and artistic powerhouse, in large measure because it is an open society.
On the other side are a range of fanatical Muslim organizations that are totalitarian. Hamas holds Gaza’s population as a hostage in an iron grip and is intolerant of all “others” – Jews, homosexuals, socialists. How many Christians have remained in Gaza since the violent 2007 Hamas takeover?
The Palestinians claim they have been treated badly, but is not some of the blame their own doing? They rejected two-state compromises offered in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008 – because like Isis in Iraq and Syria, like al Qaeda, the Shabab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria, they seek to destroy Western neighbours. The barbarians truly are at the gates – and it saddens me that the world at large chooses to ignore the writing is on the wall , , not realizing that it will not go away – tens of millions of Moslems in Europe and on the other continents – will make sure it doesn’t.
I also think it is high time the international media be held accountable for the one-sided anti-Israel narrative in the mainstream press, There are a growing number of reports from journalists testifying to Hamas intimidation that call into question the veracity of some accounts of the fighting. Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati tweeted on July 29 that he could only reveal the truth that a Hamas rocket hit the UNWRA camp at Shati when he was “Out of Gaza far from Hamas retaliation.”. Then there were reports from Finnish, French and Indian reporters whose lives were put in jeopardy by the Hamas setting up launching pads in their near proximity.
Now you can understand why the international media has broadcasted so many pictures of the victims and very few of Hamas terrorists firing rockets from civilian areas or handling weapons, when thousands of rockets have been fired and weapons used. However, what will be done to prevent it happening again? Probably nothing. Bias media will continue to distort teh truth and fuel Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism.
ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE RISE
According to new research by the World Zionist Organization’s Communications Centre there is a 383% increase in Anti-Semitic incidents throughout the world within the past month. In the month prior to the Operation there were 66 Anti-Semitic occurrences logged. Conversely, the number of Anti-Semitic incidents logged during the time of the Operation (July 8-August 7, 2014) was 319. Hates crimes against Israel logged within the past month have included the burning of synagogues, tearing down of Mezuzahs from Jewish homes, violent protests and more.
The period of July 8- August 7, 2013 was also studied to analyze the difference between the time of the Operation Protective Edge and that same time period one year earlier. As usual, the trend was that Anti-Semitism increased during the time of the Operation. Compared to the same time period in 2013, there was an increase of 306% in Anti-Semitism in Europe in Operation Protective Edge. Similarly, South America saw an increase of 1100%, an increase of 600% in South Africa, an increase of 100% in Mexico/Central America, an increase of 14% in Oceania, an increase of 400% in Canada and the United States saw an increase of 150%.
WE BRING SHALOM TO YOU (Hevenu shalom Aleichem)
Some Jews decided that enough is enough and more than 3400 new immigrants have arrived over the last few weeks despite the Protective Edge and the additional difficulties it incurs.
This morning a special Nefesh B’Nefesh ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport welcomed 338 new olim from the US and Canada to Israel (aboard were over a hundred soon-to-be IDF enlistees).
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and other political figures expressed admiration at the decision of those living a comfortable life abroad to come to Israel during a time of war and violence.
“The IDF has had to prevent many of its soldiers from escaping from hospitals to rejoin their units fighting in Gaza and just as “nobody expected anything from them and they could have sat on the sidelines in quiet and comfort,” nobody expected anything from the new immigrants, said Nefesh B’Nefesh head Rabbi Yehoshua Fass.
“No one expected you to come. You didn’t have to join, but you, just like those soldiers, understand the commitment and love of this land and to its future,” he said.
Over a hundred of the new immigrants are slated to join the army in the coming months, descending from their plane wearing green tee shirts indicating their status as “IDF immigrants.”
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar told the crowd “Almost each of is, if he is not a new immigrant, is the son of a new immigrant. I am the son of an immigrant who came from Argentina forty nine years ago and every immigrant and their sons and daughters can reach any place in our open society.”
Danielle Shushan, 20, from Queens, New York said that while she will not be drafted until November she is happy to come now when “the country needs defending.”
Although difficult times face us, we must all stay strong in our unity and faith; proud of our cause and compassion.
I will conclude by joining our chaverot in the USA and all over the world in mourning the death of Oscar winning actor and comedian Robin Williams. He was one of a kind –a brilliant actor and a genius comedian who gave us all so much joy and laughter while struggling with addictions and severe bouts of depression. He was a mensch by all accounts – kind, generous, caring and giving; he was known for his extensive charity work for the needy, and for his support for Israel. His use of Yiddish in his comedy often made people mistake him for a member of the tribe, and he proclaimed himself an “honorary Jew.
May He Rest in Peace.