Sunday, just hours before the people of Israel bowed their heads in memory of the 22,305 Israel Defense Force soldiers who have fallen in the country's wars, a funeral took place in Kedumim in Samaria.
Concluded in mid-September, the sixth annual International Conference on Global Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, underscored the growing threat of mega-terror. To a large extent, this existential threat to Israel is made worse by the always-deliberate insertion of terrorist personnel and assets in the midst of civilian populations.
We Jews have experienced so much pain in our long and arduous history that the pain of Islamic terrorism seems to be just another episode of indescribable suffering. To an extent, this is certainly true. For the moment, we must endure, and - in the end - we shall prevail. So it has been before; so it will be again.
Now we have passed the five-year anniversary of September 11, 2006 - with all of the horrifying memories, with all of the recurrent pain. We know today, that all pertinent government agencies are working 24/7 to keep us safe in the future. We know, as well, that even greater preparedness can never make us truly safe. We know, above all, that we must continue with our daily lives, personal and collective, and that we must not submit to the unprecedented blackmail of Islamic terrorism ("Convert or die!").
There is some confusion these days over who is really in favor of peace, who is still clueless, who is a defeatist, and who has failed to learn anything at all about the Middle East conflict over the past 20 years.
Technically, the Lebanon war against Hizbullah is over. In fact, however, Israel remains starkly vulnerable to further rocket attacks, and - even more ominously - to a still-nuclearizing Iran. Making matters worse, Prime Minister Olmert has yet to openly change course from his indisputably catastrophic plan for "realignment" and "convergence."
Unless you know your way around the blogosphere or get your news from publications like the Malaysia Sun, Australia’s Sunday Morning Herald or Germany’s Die Welt, you likely missed the story last week that some 84 Hollywood celebrities – actors, directors and producers – had signed an ad condemning Hizbullah and Hamas that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.
What’s been most striking about the media coverage of the war between Israel and Hizbullah is the sheer familiarity of it all. It took many of the usual suspects about a week or so to get their preset narrative – both sides are blameworthy, Israel’s response is disproportional, an immediate cease-fire is the only answer, and can’t we all just get along? – up and running, but that’s exactly what happened as soon as Lebanese civilian casualties began to mount and inconveniences like background and context could be shunted off beyond camera range.