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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
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The Collective Jew

Monday, August 19th, 2013
I keep trying to make this point to show what I believe is the unique Israel. In the last few weeks, three incidents have happened that once again reinforce what I have known all my life. Am I wrong to believe there is no other country in the world that would do these things?

Here’s the first amazing story:

A young cancer patient on the way to the US with a bunch of other sick kids can’t find her passport.

With no other choice, the young girl was removed from the plane and the plane prepared to depart after a fruitless search on the plane, in the airport, everywhere. Minutes before takeoff, while the plane was taxiing to the runway, they found the passport in another child’s backpack.

Too late, no? The stewardess told the pilot – the pilot radioed the tower and was given permission to turn back. The story appears here.

As the child cried, so too did people on the plane – and the stewardesses, and people on the ground. Amazing.

And the second story…

David Finti is 19 years old. He is a Romanian Jew. While boarding a train, David was electrocuted and severely burned. The local Jewish community contacted the Jewish Agency. They recognize the collectivism of our people just as on the Israeli side it was recognized as well. And so, Israel flew the young man to Israel, making him an Israeli citizen so that he could get critical care free of charge. David and his parents were flown to Israel and are now at Hadassah’s Ein Kerem hospital. The story appears here.

Yet another story in the last few days has come to light. Israel recently managed to bring in another 17 Yemenite Jews – leaving 90 left.What amazes me is that we were able to bring another group here to Israel and more, that we know how many remain. We are watching, waiting, hoping to bring the last remnants of what was once a great community here to Israel.

It is what we do. Three stories of how Israel watches, Israel waits, Israel acts.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Crossword Puzzle – Got Juice

Friday, December 7th, 2012

 

Across

1. Apple leftover

5. Concert equipment

9. Grad. school tests

14. The ___, counting time

15. Torah mariner

16. Gets promoted

17. Stallion’s mate

18. “Beetle Bailey” dog

19. “Live ___ ___ Legs”, Pearl Jam album

20. Cry by He-Man, or when removing the third word a statement made by the lucky ones last month

23. Preserve, in a way

24. Letters before DVD

25. Dimness

27. Dylan of the Mets

28. Arid

30. Squared cracker?

32. Kind of action figure, or possible title for one providing juice?

36. Sch. with a bear mascot in Little Rock

37. Decorative pitcher

38. Tail action

39. Kind of agreement

40. “Wheel of Fortune” buy

41. Like G-d

45. Seek a seat

46. Make like Eli

47. Poet’s “before”

48. Davidic song

50. Napoleon in literature, e.g.

51. Wetland

54. 1992 Morgan Freeman movie

58. Color of one of the Avengers

60. Wren or hen

61. Country of conflict on the political stage

62. Kind of church

63. Hodgepodge

64. Foul mood

65. Unpopular name at the moment

66. Seals’ meals

67. Belonging to Chaya, e.g.

 

Down

1. Rickles or Regan

2. Poker game

3. Played again

4. Day before

5. One more

6. Cocoon exiters

7. Head

8. Factory

9. An unfriendly dog, e.g.

10. Actor Sal

11. Kind of artificial ground

12. Driver’s helper?

13. Common ID

21. Penultimate fairy tale word

22. Shrek, e.g.

26. Region across from Hong Kong

27. Jewish stranger?

28. Ginger cookies

29. Waffle brand

31. Washington locale, with “the”

32. Orchard item

33. Admit

34. A Miramax founder

35. Cobblers’ tools

39. Bonanza find

41. Very much

42. Light antique?

43. Odd folk

44. As a result

49. Coming up

50. Jeopardy

51. Carried by

52. Broadcasting

53. Fellows

55. Cousin of a bassoon

56. Sly trick

57. Abode for Jonah, once

58. Astronaut Grissom

59. Biochemistry abbr.

 

(Answers, next week)

Be A Savior

Friday, December 7th, 2012

A child, who can’t swim, jumps into the deep end of the swimming pool. A man chokes on his food while eating in a restaurant. A friend goes into shock. A woman faints. All of these scenarios share common ground. They all include a victim who is lacking oxygen. People need to know what to do in these emergency situations.

Approximately 330,000 people die annually because they do not reach the emergency room in time. This number would decrease rapidly if the emergency room paramedics weren’t the only ones who know what to do. Recently, I was at a friend’s house. There was a platter of candy and gum near us, and her little sister was inhaling more of it than could fit in her mouth. She started choking. We all started screaming, but not really doing anything. We were five girls who had no clue what to do. Yet, just knowing a few simple steps can save a person from possible brain damage.

First off, if someone can talk or breathe, they aren’t choking. Have them continue to cough until their airway is clear. There are certain signs that can tell you if someone is choking. For example, if a baby is choking, his or her skin will change to a reddish color, and then turn blue. An adult’s neck might start to bulge, and his or her face will turn red and puffy. If you are qualified, and you see that someone is choking, start to employ CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Place a fist below the victim’s ribcage and do thirty rapid compressions in less than eighteen seconds, but on a child or infant, remember to do the compressions in a more gentle manner.

There is a mnemonic device that can help you remember the steps to follow in an emergency situation: DR911ABCD.

D-DANGERS. Look around you and make sure that there are no dangerous objects near the victim, such as fire, glass, gas, or open wires. Assess the victim.

R-RESPONSIVENESS. Check to see if the victim is responsive. You can do this by inquiring as to whether he or she is okay and if you can help.

911- Call 911 and report your emergency.

A-AIRWAYS. Make sure that none of the victim’s airways are blocked.

B-BREATHING. Make sure the victim is breathing

C-CIRCULATION. If the victim is not breathing, start doing CPR. After four to six minutes without oxygen the heart will stop beating. Brain damage is certain after ten minutes, so time is of the essence.

D-DEFIBRILLATION. If the victim is not breathing, and the CPR has had no effect, use a defibrillator. An AED (automated external defibrillator) interprets heart rhythms. Two heart rhythms can mean cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. Ventricular Fibrillation (VF), when the heart is shaking like jelly, and Ventricular Tachycardia (V-Tac), when the heart pumps 200-300+ a minute. Chances of survival decrease 7-10% for every minute waiting for defibrillation.

The DR911ABCD measures can be used for most emergencies, in addition to hypothermia (when the body temperature is 95 degrees or lower), and shock (when there is a lack of oxygen in body tissue).

This past summer, my two-year-old cousin was at the pool. As the whole area emptied, he ran back, alone. He slipped and fell in the deep end. He didn’t know how to swim, so he sank to the bottom. The lifeguard on duty didn’t see him. She finished up and started to walk out. Glancing down, she saw a blue form at the bottom of the pool. Instinctively, she dove in and pulled him out. Screaming for help, she started to do CPR. My cousin was brought to the hospital, and now, Baruch Hashem, he is fine. His parents have started a program called Project Moshe- Learn to Save a Life.

Do you want to be ignorant or knowledgeable? The information that you can acquire may be the very thing that saves someone. While you may convince yourself that this isn’t something you need, trust me, you do. It could be your mother, sister, cousin, or best friend. Don’t take the risk! Learn CPR, and learn how to save a life.

‘Because they Could’

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Before a radio interview this week, the host sent me a list of questions that might come up on the show. The answer to an extraordinary number of them was, “Because they could.” Because bad actors were reasonably sure no one (read: United States) would protest and even more sure no one would stop them.

For example: Why did Jordanian Palestinians join the protest calling for the overthrow King Abdullah II of Jordan? Why did Iran attack a U.S. drone in the international waters of the Persian Gulf? Why did Mahmoud Abbas go ahead with the U.N. General Assembly vote on observer status over pointed U.S. objections? Why did the Emir of Qatar visit Gaza and give Hamas $400 million? Why did Ansar al Shariah attack the U.S. Consulate/CIA Annex on 9-11? Why did Mohammad Morsi take on dictatorial powers in Egypt? Why is Iran using Sudan as its staging base for the export of arms to Gaza?

That is not to say there are no other answers, and indeed, there are many, but the abdication of American leadership in the Middle East/Persian Gulf region encourages those whose aims are inimical to the West to believe they can advance themselves with impunity.

This stands in odd contrast to the questions about Israel: Why did Israel bomb Gaza? Why didn’t Israel take its ground forces into Gaza?

The answer to the first set of questions is, “Because it had to.” The answer to the second is, “Because it didn’t have to.”

Because Israel Had To

Operation Pillar of Defense was not only retaliation for Hamas rocket fire — although that would have been reason enough for a civilized country to go to war. The attack was a response to the discovery that Hamas had acquired perhaps 100 Iranian Fajr-5 rockets. These are the same type of rockets that someone destroyed in a Sudanese weapons factory in October, and their presence in Gaza was unacceptable to Israel.

By way of comparison: The other rockets and mortars in Hamas’s arsenal made life difficult for more than a million Israelis across the southern part of the country — the U.S. equivalent is 44,000,000 people. Every one of them would have 15 seconds to find shelter and shelter their children and elderly parents. Geographically, the radius of the otherHamas rockets superimposed on New York would cover Hurricane Sandy-land and more.

The Iranian Fajr-5 added Tel Aviv (Israel’s commercial center) and Jerusalem (its capital) to rocket range — over 1,200,000 residents in the cities, plus suburbs with over half a million more. The equivalent of an additional 75,000,000 Americans, give or take.

Of course, there are those who do not have a problem with Israelis facing attack at the whim of an enemy determined to kill as many civilians as possible. Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton acknowledged that, well, okay, rocket fire from Gaza is “reprehensible,” but “let’s be clear: The overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.” You wonder what he would think if it were 130 million Americans having to rush for shelter on 15 seconds’ notice.

Because Israel Didn’t Have To

Hamas tried desperately to lure Israeli troops into Gaza. Having trained for a ground invasion, laid mines and planted booby-traps, Hamas wanted nothing more than IDF trophies, dead or alive. Increased rocket fire (more than 1,500 rockets between November 14th and 21st – an average of eight per hour or one every eight minutes) was intended to create not only an increase in Israeli civilian casualties, but irresistible pressure from the citizenry on the government to “do something.”

Although the Israeli public strongly favored a ground incursion and the government mobilized the reserves, it did not happen. Why?

The Israeli Air Force removed the Fajr-5 threat and decapitated Hamas leadership without a ground offensive. More than 1,600 targets in Gaza were hit, including rocket launching sites, storage facilities and terrorist infrastructure. Thirty senior Hamas operatives trained in Iran were killed, unable to transmit their knowledge. Iron Dome’s 85% success rate intercepting rockets aimed at population centers allowed the Israeli government to make decisions without the pressure of civilian casualties. And finally, knowledge that there were 75,000 soldiers mobilized and ready reassured the Israeli public that the government was prepared to do more if necessary.

Ceasefire Tonight, Same War All Over Again Day after Tomorrow

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

As soon as the IDF started pounding the Gaza strip with massive artillery fire and attacks from the air, it was a sign of the end of this polite skirmish. In fact, as soon as the artillery started, I knew it was either to soften the ground in preparation for the ground invasion, or the final salvo armies traditionally deliver before the truce, to inflict as much damage as they still can, and so they’ll have less to schlep home afterwards.

Wars are a wonderful way to clear up the shelves for the new shipment of ammo.

Like the rest of us, Netanyahu, Barak, Liberman et al have weighed the benefits and risks of a ground invasion of a densely populated and very hostile Gaza, and decided to be prudent. All they need is for one bad move to end up in mass killings of either our boys, God forbid, or, possibly even worse, Arab civilians, two months before the elections. So they kicked the can to themselves down the road, as many have anticipated.

After today’s cabinet meeting, one senior Israeli official told Reuters: “Before deciding on a ground invasion, the prime minister intends to exhaust the diplomatic move in order to see if a long-term ceasefire can be achieved.”

Diplomatic moves must include Egypt, Gaza’s Muslim Brothers’ home office. President Mohamed Morsi took a call from Obama on Monday, with a clear request (we’ll call it that) to make Hamas stop shooting rockets into Israel.

The Egyptians have been working on that project ever since (well, almost two days, but it felt longer). We’ll see what kind of hybrid they’ve cobbled.

Here are the difficulties Israel had to consider:

1. It cannot negotiate with Hamas without directly destabilizing the Fatah government in Judea and Samaria. 2. It cannot invade Gaza without removing Hamas which entails staying there as a provisional government – not something the Israeli PM is looking forward to. 3. Whatever truce is reached tonight will not be worth the paper on which it is written.

All of the above suggests that the military cost of Operation Pillar of Defense, combined with the 1200 reported cases of serious damage to property over the past week – not to speak of the lives lost – will only buy Israel a few months of quiet.

Netanyahu, Barak, and Liberman tonight decided to avoid confronting the bully all the way. But as history teaches us, the bully you failed to confront in 1936, at a relatively low cost, or in 1938, at a higher cost, finally forced you to confront him in 1939 at the highest cost imaginable.

I wish all of us a safe life and a happy Hanukah.

Winning ‘Defensive Shield’ Will Be Messy and Lengthy, But We Must Win, Now

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Assuming that the term “Pillar of Cloud” wasn’t selected at random by an IDF computer (which does in fact happen sometimes), we have a problem.  I have to hope that the name refers not to a strictly aerial operation, but to aerial bombardment preceding the entry of infantry and armored forces on the ground in Gaza, just as the pillar of cloud and fire preceded the Children of Israel in the wilderness.

If indeed the latter is the true meaning of Operation Pillar of Cloud (the Hebrew name for Operation Pillar of Defense), then it is going to run into opposition from Amram Mitzna and other high-ranking leftist officers, who already this week came out against a ground invasion to put an end to the terrorism.  They claim that the right tool for the job is aerial bombardment—and even that, only so long as it is restrained and limited to very specific targets, as in the assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari this week.

These are the same people who came out against a ground invasion during the Second Lebanon War, thus ruining that campaign.  Eliminating Hizballah as a military force simply wasn’t on their agenda, and whatever goals they did set were not formulated with any clarity.

The left’s argument is that it is necessary to contain the conflict in order to allow a peaceful resolution, to try to lower the flames and apply low-intensity conflict doctrine.

And what about the ongoing terrorist activity?

One of the leading proponents of this approach, a very senior commander who used to be identified with the right, recently told me that because it is possible today to the dirty work precisely and aerially, there is no need for Israeli control of Judea and Samaria.  The Mossad, he said, has managed to eliminate targets even in distant countries—obviously it can do the same thing in our backyard when necessary.  So, he concluded, there is no problem with establishing a Palestinian state.

The sort of operations you’re describing, I said, are special ops that require significant preparations and investments, not a general military solution for eliminating whole battalions and divisions of terrorists.

He maintained that it is sufficient to eliminate the heads and leave the armies.

Just, and Pragmatic to Boot

Whether we like it or not, the Arabs aren’t stupid.  There are enough of them who are capable of staying in bunkers for extended periods, such as Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who barely leaves his hiding place but manages to run operations against Israel from there.

There have been aerial attacks on specific targets in Gaza in the past, notably the one that eliminated Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.  Yet simply eliminating terrorist commanders isn’t enough.  Every time one senior terrorist is eliminated, he is succeeded by another.  So operations to take out the terrorists are important, but they have to be carried out generally, not specifically.  This not only serves to mete out justice to the murderers, but also is very much a practical necessity, because even with the head of the snake gone, the body keeps killing.

So how is it possible to identify every team of terrorists that sets out to strand a million Israelis in bomb shelters, or to identify all the little rocket launchers in Gaza, without having forces on the ground?

For that matter, without effective control of the territory, how is it possible to gather comprehensive intelligence on the entire hierarchy of murderers in a terrorist organization?

Anyone who aims to make do with targeted attacks, containment, and low-intensity conflict until peace is brought about by negotiations with the terrorists ought to keep in mind that we tried that in Judea and Samaria prior to Operation Defensive Shield, practicing restraint and waiting for a whole year while an unprecedented wave of terrorism engulfed the country.

This brings us to comments made by Colonel Moshe Hagar.  Hagar is not only a senior combat officer who worked on Defensive Shield, but also a great Torah scholar, head of the pre-military academy system, scion of a Chassidic dynasty, whose sharpness comes courtesy of the Torah and of his father Yehoshua, who died this year after finishing a book on the halachot(laws) of war and the redemption of captives.

Hagar argues that Defensive Shield must be brought to Gaza.  He acknowledges, though, that it will be messier and take much longer than in Judea and Samaria.  The delay in acting and the “Disengagement” have given Hamas two decades to build up forces that are more numerous and better equipped than those the IDF fought during Defensive Shield.

Even that was not easy, and the results were not immediate.  It took two years for the IDF to eliminate or arrest the terrorists, confiscate their weapons, and rehabilitate the intelligence infrastructure that had been destroyed when we gave the Palestinians overall security responsibility for the area in the Oslo Accords.

Hagar’s assessment is shared by Treasury Minister Yuval Steinitz.  Even with his familiarity with the difficulties, earned during his tenure as chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset, he has long argued for a long-term ground operation in Gaza.  The minister is a philosopher by training, and as such is not disinclined to voice an unpopular opinion.  For years, since he was head of that committee, even before the revolution in Egypt, he has been arguing that it is necessary to put an end to the present situation on the southern front, including the border with Egypt and the Sinai Desert.

Lieutenant-General Yaakov Amidror, chairman of the National Security Council at the Prime Minister’s Office, says the same thing, but only off the record, due to his position.

Time is not working in our favor.  The longer we wait, the higher the price we will pay.  We need a ground operation, and now.  We need to do what we did in Judea and Samaria.  We need to take back control of Gaza once and for all.

Originally published in Makor Rishon, 16 November 2012. Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg.

A Pillar of Fire at Night: Iron Dome in Action Over Be’er Sheva (Video)

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

We invite you to view a slice of ordinary/extraordinary life in Israel in this video.

Be’er Sheva is an ancient/modern desert city that most people visit, if they ever go there, because of its first-rateuniversity (Ben Gurion) and its hospital, one of the busiest in Israel. But like many forgotten places in various parts of the world, it’s also home for a certain number of people, nearly 200,000 of them.

Now that Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and practically every other Israeli community in the southern half of Israel have experienced the blood-chilling sound of air-raid sirens in the past three days (and in some places, many repeats of the experience), it may be interesting for people living far from here to see and hear what it feels like from the ground.

We don’t know the exact number, but the residents of Be’er Sheva have experienced dozens of incoming missile warnings since Wednesday night. The one captured in this video involves multiple rockets flying in from Gaza. Through the magic of videography, they appear here as floating fairy lights in an ink-black sea of heavens above the ground-level festivities of an ordinary shopping center.

Then one after another in rapid succession they are extinguished. The reality of what is happening is much less poetic, but astonishing when you pause to think about it: an anti-missile technology that did not exist anywhere in the world is now knocking these terrorist flying bombs out of the sky as the ordinary folk who are the actual targets of an attempt to kill them in quantities watch from below and quietly applaud.

It’s larger than life. But it’s life. Our life, for now.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/a-pillar-of-fire-at-night-iron-dome-in-action-over-beer-sheva-video/2012/11/18/

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