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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘past’

In Gaza, Israel Confronts An Enemy With Stronger Missiles And Closer Allies

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

KFAR AZA, Israel – In some ways, Israel’s latest confrontation with Hamas looks like past conflicts in the Gaza Strip. Operation Pillar of Defense has left some key Hamas leaders dead, depleted weapons supplies and hit more than 1,000 targets in Gaza.

“We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organizations” in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at his Sunday Cabinet meeting.

But even as Israeli air strikes hit a Gaza media center Monday evening and killed several leaders of Islamic Jihad, there are some important – and worrisome – differences that Israel is seeing in Hamas this time around.

The terrorist organization that rules Gaza is using more powerful missiles, with a range that can reach the Israeli heartland, and Hamas has closer and stronger allies at its side.

In the past, Hamas rockets threatened only Israel’s south. At their farthest, the projectiles could reach the desert metropolis of Beersheba and the southern coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.

This time, however, the rockets have flown nearly 50 miles, reaching the densely populated center of the country: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, making Hamas’s rockets no longer just a problem for Israel’s “periphery.”

Taken together with Hizbullah’s increasing firepower from Lebanon, terrorist missiles can reach virtually all of Israel.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which shoots incoming missiles out of the air, has helped limit the damage from Hamas’s rocket attacks. The system is deployed to eliminate missiles headed for Israeli population centers, and Israeli officials say the interception rate is near 90 percent.

Complicating matters further for Israel, Hamas has a steadfast ally in Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Last week, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited Gaza and voiced support for Hamas. Egypt also recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv after the assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, which marked the beginning of the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Pillar of Defense.

On Saturday, Hamas hosted Tunisia’s foreign minister, Rafik Abdessalem, who during his visit to the Gaza Strip condemned “blatant Israeli aggression.”

Cairo’s sympathies make the conflict especially complicated for Israel, which hopes to safeguard its treaty with Egypt even as it attempts to subdue Hamas. So far, the government of Egypt is playing the role of mediator between Israel and Hamas as the two sides discuss a possible cease-fire.

By Monday, the conflict had claimed three Israeli fatalities – from a missile strike on an apartment building in the town of Kiryat Malachi – and dozens of injuries. In Gaza, about 100 Palestinians were reported dead and more than 600 injured.

Even as cease-fire negotiations took place, some 75,000 Israeli reserve troops were activated, and military personnel and equipment arrived at the Gaza frontier in preparation for a possible ground invasion.

On Saturday night, rows of military jeeps and armored cars sat parked at a gas station near the border while dozens of young soldiers in full uniform – some with helmets and others with vests – stood in groups or clustered with middle-aged officers around tables. For many, the immediate concern was about where to find some food.

“There’s nothing open,” one soldier complained as he watched a nearby restaurant shutter its doors.

Chaim, a soldier who did not give his last name due to IDF restrictions on speaking to the media, said Israel should act forcefully.

“Everyone wants to go in,” he said of a ground invasion. “We’ve waited too long. I’m calm. We have a Father in Heaven.

“We need to keep going,” he said, until the terrorists “don’t exist.”

Yossi, a soldier from Ashkelon, a frequent target of Gaza’s missiles, said he’s excited to serve.

“I take it,” he said of the rocket fire, “and I also defend.”

Polls show Israelis are strongly supportive of the operation in Gaza, and Netanyahu’s political opponents have lined up behind him, notwithstanding the elections in January. “Israel is united in the war against terror,” Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, a Netanyahu rival, wrote last week on her Facebook page. She called Jabari an “arch-terrorist,” writing, “His assassination is right and just.”

The Obama administration also supported the Israeli operation.

“There’s no country in the world that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” President Obama said at a news conference Sunday.

Double Bus Exploded in Tel-Aviv, 21 Injured, 3 Serious

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Around noon, Wednesday, a young man boarded the Dan transit company number 142 articulated bus in downtown Tel-Aviv, an area of many government and business hi-risers (the IDF command center is situated only a few blocks away), and while riding for as few minutes, the man planted a bomb on the bus, exited at the corner of Weizman and Shaul Hamerlech Streets, as behind his back a huge explosion rocked the bus, shattering its glasses and blackening its front and interiors.

The 142 bus exploded a minute or so before it would have reached its most popular spot, by the Arlozorov Street train station, where it would have been boarded by dozens of passengers, in the midst of a large crowd of pedestrians.

A police official told Ma’ariv that the organizers of this attack were hoping for a “big” event with multiple casualties.

Large police, Firefighting and EMT forces are arriving at the bus site. The street was blocked.

There are 17 injured, two of them inmoderate to serious condition, who were taken to the Ichilov Hospital nearby. No fatality, thank God.

The Ichilov Medical Center is right on Weizman Street, a short walk from the explosion.

An Army Radio reporter said that the internal damage was not as extensive as in previous explosions in years past.

Unofficial report says there was no suicide bomber on board, which suggests an explosive charge was planted on the bus. This would explain the relatively limited damage, compared to past explosions. Rumor has it that the terrorist was seen fleeing the bus and security forces were giving chase.

An eye witness told Army radio she heard the explosion and went out of her office, to discover a scene of smoke and shattered glass. She saw a female soldier’s body being removed from the bus.

Office workers in the district received warning to remain in their offices, because police suspect that the terrorist, is still at large.

An MDA official said that because of the war there is an increased number of ambulances in the city.

There are warnings about several terrorist teams in the city who are planning more attacks. Traffic jams are paralyzing access to downtown this afternoon.

Tel-Aviv school children were told to stay in school this afternoon, until further notice.

 

When Hamas Rockets Land on… Gaza

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office has just quantified this evening what anyone (us included) who has been following the endless firing of rockets by terrorist thugs in Gaza these last seven years already knows: the terrorists keep misfiring a significant number of their rockets. These then crash onto the heads and houses of the Gazans.

The IDF which tracks these things says [see its Twitter page] no fewer than 99 such explosive devices have ‘fallen short’ in the last four days.

Does anyone imagine these then evaporate into thin air? Because they never ever get reported in the news media, does this mean they don’t occur? That such self-inflicted injuries don’t happen? Of course it does not mean those things. We know what happens when they explode on landing. We have been watching those explosions for years. We have been absorbing those explosions at an extraordinary rate these past five days – all over Israel.

The IDF’s Twitter page is under assault now from people who claim it’s all so, so, so untrue. We feel for them. No one explained to them before how the tragic indifference of the Hamas rocketeers has exacted a price in human lives from their own communities for years. Our post of earlier today ["18-Nov-12: Fell short? Not just the Hamas rockets but the ethics of the journalists covering them"] has some additional background, going back five years.

Visit This Ongoing War.

No Ceasefire, My Son, Finish the Job!

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Dear Son,

It was good speaking with you and hearing that you are in excellent spirits. Please call home from time to time when you can. And try to fill your free time with Torah learning. We are told that Joshua was reprimanded by the angel in charge of the armies of Israel for neglecting to study Torah during breaks in the battle. We are the Nation of the “Safra and Sefer,’ the Sword and the Book. When we engage in battle, we give 100% to the fight. But whenever we have free time, the obligation to meditate on the Torah day and night returns in full measure. I know, it isn’t easy in your present situation, not knowing when the order to enter Gaza will come, but Torah study is as important as cleaning your rifle and making sure that your machsaniot are all loaded with bullets.

For the meantime, I will try to send you a Torah thought each day. I noticed an abridged “easy reader” copy of ‘Robinson Caruso” in your room, and remembered you saying that you wanted to improve your skills in English, so I’ll write these letters in English, and that way you can learn Torah and improve your English at the same time.

If you have access to a radio, I’m sure you are hearing a lot of talk about the supreme effort of the Israeli Air Force not to injure “innocent civilians.” You already know what I think about that. We are not engaged in a match of badminton. This is war. The Hamas isn’t merely a handful of terrorists. Gaza is a terrorist state. The people living there identify with Hamas and with its constantly vocalized oath to destroy Israel. They “voted” Hamas into power. Hamas and all of the citizens of Gaza seek our annihilation. This is a war of state against state.

But let me remind you of another interesting point. This past year, the government of Syria has slaughtered 50,000 truly innocent civilians. Does the world give a damn? No. Has anyone seriously ordered Assad to stop? No. The world, even the Arab world itself, really doesn’t care that tens of thousands of innocent Arab civilians are being slaughtered in Syria. But when Israel kills a few “innocent” Palestinians bystanders in Gaza who were watching terrorists fire a missile toward your grandparents in Ashkelon, then all of the world in cries out unison, from the U.S. State Department, to the United Nations, and the leaders of Russia, England, and France.

Suddenly filled with compassion for the innocent Arab victims, they all immediately hold emergency press conferences, and warn Israel not to escalate the conflict by daring send in ground troops in Gaza to uproot the terror, lest there be more civilian casualties. What hypocrisy! Are the Arabs in Gaza any different from the Arabs in Syria? Why is the world silent when Assad kills 50,000 innocent civilians, and suddenly aghast in a hysterical uproar when Israel kills a handful of “innocents” who just happened to be hanging around a rocket launcher?

Their double standard is so opaque! So now, my boy, I want to let you in on a secret that I want you to pass on to all the guys in your platoon. What’s the real reason that the Egyptians, and the British, and President Barak Hussein Obama don’t want our troops to go into Gaza and finish the job of erasing this evil incarnate from the world? It isn’t because they suddenly love innocent Arabs, believe me.

The answer lies in the Torah portion we read on Shabbat. Already in Rivka’s womb, Esav was trying to kill Yaacov. As Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai has ruled, the halachah is that Esav hates Yaacov. To further its own interests, America is willing to back us, up to a point. But to let us go all out and destroy Hamas completely, once and for all – “No no no no no!” they shout. Stop! Suddenly they, and everyone else, are worried about “innocent civilians.”

Yes, my precious, son, you are fighting to stop the missile fire on our country and to protect fellow Jews. But, as I have previously written, you are fighting for something much more. You are a soldier in the army of Hashem, fighting against the darkness and evil in the world which seeks to snuff out God’s light. The nations of Esav and Ishmael know who we are. They know that Israel is God’s Chosen Nation, endowed with the Divine task of bringing the truth of God’s Kingship to the world.

Social Networking And The Blended Family

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

It still amazes me how the Internet has completely changed our lives and how we view communication these days. My children hardly believe me when I tell them that there was a time when being in touch with someone, meant we actually saw them, spoke to them on the phone, or wrote them a letter and mailed it.

The word communication is defined as the act of sending a message and the completion of that act occurs when that message is received. Today, communicating is so simple, maybe even too simple. With just a quick “point and click” on your computer screen you can let people know that you “like” or agree with something “posted” on a “page.” You can even brighten someone’s day by forwarding on the joke you got in an e-mail. Just like that; instant communication.

Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with my computer and certainly with the Internet. The World Wide Web played a role in my divorce; allowing easy access for my ex-husband to “step out” and get to know other women from the safety and comfort of our home. At that time, more than 17 years ago, I was naïve and did not even know such a thing was even possible.

That experience certainly made me more than a bit wary of spending time on the Internet at all, but over the past decade it has begun to take on a greater role in my life.

I love the ease the Internet affords me. I am able to work from home, look up new recipes and keep in touch with family and friends. I thoroughly enjoy seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews who live far away and have even had the opportunity to join in family smachot that I would have otherwise missed.

Interestingly “social networking” has us considering people we hardly know as “friends”. I even heard a neighbor remark that she was just talking to a “Facebook friend” meaning they never actually met and only knew each other through their network of “online” friends. Hey, I enjoy connecting to new people as much as the next person, but can you really know and befriend someone based on a string of “statuses,” “comments,” blogs and “posts?” Everyone knows what we “like” and we seem to be “sharing” more of ourselves with the rest of the world.

Lately I have taken notice of the many ways this new era of instant communication and “social networking” has affected families of divorce and the blended family.

Take for instance an acquaintance of mine who is unfortunately going through a nasty custody battle. I understand and appreciate the importance of a good support system during trying times – I honestly do. But when your network of friends has topped 1000 and you feel a need to update your “friends” on how your divorce proceedings are going on a constant basis, something is awry. Do you need your entire list of “friends” to weigh in on every battle? Does posting that you had a bad day in court make the outcome any better? Does inviting everyone into your sorrow lesson the pain?

The misguided belief that venting via “post” and receiving encouraging “comments” is in any way a healthy response to a very frustrating situation is foolish at best – and may even be harmful.

With claims of it being in the best interest of the children, claimants on both sides of a highly publicized divorce case have garnered support this way. Is this truly in the best interest of the children, or a means to gain publicity and exposure?

Another “social networking” issue that has had a personal affect on my family is that this is the way my children are kept updated on their father’s life. I think it has been years since my son has had an actual conversation with his father, but his dad will send a quick :) his way every so often. They found out about his third marriage, and his fourth divorce via Facebook. The message came through loud and clear when his status turned from “married” to “single.” On a positive note, a bond of sorts is retained and my ex-husband has a chance to become “friends” with his children and to meet his grandchildren.

5 Minute Rocket Update: 3 Dead, Multiple Cities Hit

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

9:08 AM 2 women, 1 man killed in Kiryat Melachi strike. Baby moderately wounded. Dozens being treated for shell shock.

9:05 AM In the past 5 minutes, 4 barrages of rocket attacks on Ashdod.

House in  Kiryat Gat hit. No injuries reported.

IDF expresses concern that as the day goes by, rocket attacks will intensify.

Woman Critically Injured in Rocket Strike

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

8:40 AM In the past 20 minutes, 30-40 rockets fired from Gaza. There was a direct hit on a house in Kiryat Melachi. Reports of critically wounded woman.

2 injured. People trapped.

MDA and police responding.

Sirens in Be’er Sheva

 

8:01 AM Muslim Bros call for global “Day of Rage” against IDF “aggression”

 

8:00 AM Sirens in Ashkelon

 

7:57 AM Sirens in Ashkelon / Beer Tuvia region

 

7:48 AM Sirens in Beer Sheva – massive explosion reported. Barrage of rockets launched at Beer Sheva.

 

7:14 AM Red Alert in Eshkol Region

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/woman-critically-injured-in-rocket-strike/2012/11/15/

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