This reporter can recall discussing the upcoming “Disengagement” with the mayors of several border communities such as Netivot and Sdot Negev in the spring of 2005. The Disengagement took place in August of that year.
Perhaps the Israeli politicians were more savvy than they felt they could let on, as I was visiting them under the auspices of an Jewish Federation of North America’s mission, and the Federations whole-heartedly supported the Disengagement.
But I was incredulous that these elected officials could not see what was so plain to me, a North American Jew: their towns were going to become the new sacrificial lambs to the militant Islamists who live just a few miles away, and who were about to have their genocidal tendencies given free rein in a unilateral move by the Israeli government.
And here we are – or, more importantly, there they are - almost exactly nine years later. The nerves of the hard-scrabble, resilient residents of Israel’s southern border communities which have endured so much, so many thousands of rocket attacks, so many beds made wet by traumatized children who are long past the age of bed-wetting, were already beginning to fray. And now, a four year old child is dead and nobody is willing to wait for that to happen again.
The first voices have been raised: they want out.
Since Friday, Aug. 22, approximately 700 Israeli families have asked the government to provide them with assistance to move away from the border with Gaza, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is reporting. Friday is when four-year old Daniel Tragerman was killed while playing inside his home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Ninety five rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel on Monday, out of the approximately 125 that were launched towards the Jewish State.
The school year for Israeli children begins next Monday, September 1. Parents and government authorities are still trying to figure out how to accommodate the children’s educational needs wherever it is that the children will be, and for however long they will have to remain out of the line of fire.
A nation cannot continue retracting and long endure. Especially a nation the size of Israel, one whose neighbors’ enmity towards it shows no sign of relenting.
Will all those who encouraged the Disengagement now come forward with financial assistance to help those exposed by that folly? And will the government do what it promised when those thousands of Jews were removed from the Gaza Strip? Will it finally invoke a Zero Tolerance policy?
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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