It was a war Israel was more afraid of winning than of losing.
Here's a syndrome for the books: A renowned filmmaker gets stinking drunk. Angry and bizarre words then spew forth - from the lips (or pens) of others.
Undeterred by the Heathrow shutdown, I turned up for the Aug. 10 night flight to Israel. I had no business there and no formal holiday plans. I just felt I needed to be there, perhaps to help out friends and family whose breadwinners had been called up for reserve duty.
As the Hizbullah-Israel war wound down last week, pundits were quick to label winners and losers. Some said Hizbullah won because it survived, bombed Israel with 4,000 rockets, and earned the applause of the Arab "street." Others maintain that Israel won because Hizbullah was partially crippled, its leadership is in hiding, and the Lebanese will emerge from the dust furious at Hizbullah for a war they did not seek.
Our beloved Israel is engaged in an existential fight for survival. From the moment of its birth in 1948, Israel has been under constant siege. This latest war, however, feels different. It comes upon Israel after decades of non-stop terrorist attacks, large-scale military battles, and endless international boycotts and condemnation.
A general mood of depression has gripped Israel since the cease-fire in Lebanon came into force on Monday, August 14. It is unjustified. True, we again lost many precious sons in the quagmire of Lebanon. A large number of our soldiers and civilians are still crowding the hospitals, some of them seriously wounded. Our cities and settlements in the North suffered gaping wounds that will require months of rehabilitation.
It is as unpleasant as it is impolitic to point out - in wartime, especially - that, despite all protestations to the contrary, the emperor indeed has no clothes. Neither spin nor sloganeering can conceal from the Jewish public and world opinion the obvious deterioration of Israel's security situation.
One night last week I heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from upstairs. "Mommy!" Cries at that level of urgency, panic, and volume can mean only one thing: My children had seen a cockroach that had wandered out of a newly-formed hole hidden behind the bathtub.
Although we have been pressured into accepting a cease-fire, which will only give our enemies an opportunity to rebuild their war machine meant to destroy the Jewish people, this war has not come to an end. As with our previous wars, beginning with the war of liberation in 1948, we are continually forced to fight for the very existence of our people and the independence of the Jewish homeland.
During a recent trip to Israel, I couldn't help but notice the dearth of fellow visitors and think of the many religiously observant American Jews who stridently demand that Israel never cede any land.
There is a story told about the great Mirrer rosh yeshiva, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt"l. During the Six-Day War a bombshell landed near the yeshiva, just missing it. No one was injured. Rav Shmulevitz decided to make a seudas hoda'ah, a festive meal thanking God for this nes nistar (hidden miracle) that spared his students any injury.
The war in Lebanon should not have surprised anyone. For many years, Hizbullah, which is funded, equipped and ideologically supported by Iran and Syria, has made it crystal clear that its goal is to conquer Israel, expel its Jewish inhabitants, and place the entire land under Islamic rule.
There is a good reason that Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah has accepted UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which sets the terms for a cease-fire between his jihad army and the State of Israel.
Islamic terrorists routinely kidnap the most vulnerable civilians and hold them hostage. Hamas and Hizbullah, like Arafat's PLO, hold their own people hostage as well, and hide both themselves and their weapons among Muslim civilians.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - The close of another day that I had hoped would be the beginning of an epitaph, the inscription commemorating the end of this war. However, it wasn't meant to be. Instead, another day of enduring news of rocket fire, wounded, and dead.
The world is full of Israel-haters. I don't know why. It probably has something to do with anti-Semitism - and even more to do with lack of knowledge and understanding about the Middle East.
A democratically elected government's ultimate responsibility is the safety and security of its citizens. Accordingly, achieving that goal is the task facing the Israeli government in its dual war against Hizbullah terrorists on its northern front and Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world. I, the prime minister of Israel, am speaking to you from Jerusalem in the face of the terrible pictures from Kfar Kana. Any human heart, wherever it is, must sicken and recoil at the sight of such pictures. There are no words of comfort that can mitigate the enormity of this tragedy. Still, I am looking you straight in the eye and telling you that the State of Israel will continue its military campaign in Lebanon.
In 1967 Israel defeated the combined armies of the Arab world in six days.
"Just like Hitler fought the Jews, we are a great Islamic nation of jihad, and we too should fight the Jews and burn them." - Hisham Shamas, political science student, at a symposium hosted by Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV at Lebanon's largest and only government-run university, Université Libanaise, November 29, 2005.