The view from my veranda

140721 Gaza Up-date

21st July 2014
Dear Friends
13, 13 should be a beautiful number in Judaism but yesterday it became unlucky 13 as 13 beautiful young lives were snuffed out in Gaza. The IDF went in to prevent further and further attacks – this is war – and thirteen soldiers died. In Israel everyone knows everyone and it hurts, it is not a matter of names it is people, fathers, sons, brothers, grandchildren – we mourn together and sadly this is not the end. They all died defending our freedom.  The names of the dead are never released until all family members have been notified so we have the names of only 5.  and now
Can you imagine an army that provides medical attention, staple foods and  medical supplies to its sworn enemies? Can you imagine an army that drops flyers and sends sms (text) messages to the telephones of civilians in an enemy country begging them to leave an area that will be bombed because it houses terrorist bases? That is the much maligned IDF.
There are civilian tragedies in Gaza, horrific civilian tragedies but they are caused by Hamas preventing civilians from leaving the buildings under which they hide their arsenals; Hamas ensures that arsenals are hidden beneath hospitals, schools and UNWRA sites and ensures that the foreign press, after a tough day in the field, is taken to one of the fine hotels or restaurants in Gaza City.  This article by Tom Gross sums up the media situation perfectly, although primarily about the BBC
The prime target of the IDF is the tunnels. Not the arms tunnels from Egypt, the Egyptians took care of those, but the tunnels through which they plan to bring terrorists to kill Israelis. Please understand that these  are highly sophisticated tunnels and the people of towns and villages on the border could hear the rumbling of what they thought were earthquakes, but it was much more sinister than an earthquake, it was the heavy equipment digging tunnels underneath them to bring terrorists into Israel to kill them, the residents of agricultural Kibbutzim. This morning it happened, Hamas terrorists came through an, as yet undiscovered, tunnel and broke into two villages and began shooting, soldiers acted immediately and all the terrorists were killed.
Coming back to aid, the aid Israel passes through to the people of Gaza. Do you remember how the UN, UK, USA, EU all forced Israel to resume the  provision of building materials to Gaza? “For humanitarian reasons”? Well yesterday we discovered many sacks of Nesher concrete in the tunnels – they didn’t build homes, they concentrated on destruction – again – using the concrete/cement we gave them to reinforce the enormous tunnels. I guess this is the Middle East but why oh why do those who don’t begin to understand tell us what to do.
Israelis, whether in the north, south, east or west in this tiny country, recognise that our government protects us. All governments, this one and previous ones.
Charles Krauthammer said it better than anyone in his article Moral Clarity in Gaza. “Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”
These videos help you to understand the difficulty of ensuring the least civilian casualties – we do not accept the American use of Collateral Damage – we call them human lives.
Will Grandma make it to the safe room
The television just went blank – there is a technical problem in our area – and I feel as if someone cut my arms and legs off after anaesthetising my brain. We are hooked day and night to the news – wondering what surprises Hamas still has up their sleeves. I spoke to dear friends in Perth, Australia, and they feel the same, equally tied to the television. They tune in to i24 or in addition to those links I gave you last week there is Josh Hastens
So Israel is fighting her War of Independence – in fact a 67 year old War of Independence. It has either been overt or tacit for all that time. Our PR failed because of our very success. We would never be considered weak again, never be led as sheep to the slaughter and so we lost our underdog advantage with the left and the media.
Jon Snow is a clever and thorough interviewer, whose sharp tongue is his trademark, and with whom I have had more than one “discussion” on Israel. Jon believes it acceptable to demean the Israeli Prime Ministers spokesperson Mark Regev in this interview  It is truly a case of double standards – one for Israel and one for all others. My only complaint of Marks restraint at the barrage is that he did not ask Jon Snow about the British and American killing of children and old people when the troops fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Again –
those troops call it “collateral damage” we call it a tragedy. Perhaps Jon Snow should watch Egyptian television to understand what questions he should be asking. Even better – he should listen to his own Prime Minister who spoke in the House today saying that  Hamas is responsible for this war – no country would hold back after the barrage of rockets on it citizens.
If you want to do something, give something there are several ways to do so. One is through the Friends of the IDF where Haim Saban is matching your donation  – sorry about the long link – the other, much smaller but equally important is Josh Hastens link
Tomorrow Zvi and I leave for Romania for a week. We leave with a heavy heart but many others depend upon our travelling – we are representing Israel with Zvi’s choir. I hope I will be able to let you know what the Romanians think of us but……. I am afraid I already know.
Please understand, this is going to sound very strange but Israelis are still safer than people living in almost any other country in the world. Tourists don’t cancel trips to Turkey, Venezuela, Colombia …. the USA or Europe because of troubles – so don’t cancel your trip – we need to know you still love us.
Yesterday the Bloomfield Science Museum with Rachel and her children. It was full of children having a wonderful time – life goes on, with caution but life goes on. Children of all ages were blissfully unaware of the situation in Israel and that is excellent. Adults checked out where the safe room was and just got on with it.
In a different world and different mood Vera Lynn sang to the troops of World War 2 at a time when the citizens understood that when bombs fall on Britain we fight back
I wish you could understand the words of the incredible songs that these children of Israels “Music School” sing – each is a prayer, each sings of love, all dream of peace
With love from Jerusalem, still so beautiful, so normal, so quiet, as we begin a new week of sad news. Do I want to be anywhere else? No way – this is my home and I am not going anywhere.
By the way – the ambulances and police have changed their sirens to one that sounds much less like an air-raid siren and more like the Paris Gendarmerie so that it won’t scare us!!!

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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