The view from my veranda

Day 15

Day 15

21st October 2023

Shevua Tov, which means Have a good week.

It took no time until the world forgot about the depraved slaughter of innocents, it took less than two weeks before the voices were raised against Israel. What does that tell you? That as long as we are dying, we elicit sympathy but the moment we fight back it ends?

Simple facts. Some 18,000 Gazans work in Israel, received full work permits, crossed the border and worked in close contact with those who Hamas slaughtered. We now know that Hamas knew exactly how to get in and the structure of the villages, who lives where and how many rooms in each home, from those workers! Based on that information they built their model camps where they learned thoroughly, where and how to cause the greatest suffering.

I have said it before and now I repeat – there is no siege, never was. It’s all a big fat lie! Israel has been sending hundreds of truck loads of staple goods, crossing daily, for all the years of missile attacks. Egypt refused. Jordan refused. Only Israel provided sustenance to Gaza! Gaza receives billions of dollars from the international community and chooses to use it to invest in tools of war rather than in infrastructure, to ensure potable water for its people, at the very least. The building materials we were told to provide were used to build tunnels; every cent went underground not into housing. Gaza is a warren of underground tunnels with just two purposes – to infiltrate into Israel and to act as escape routes for the leaders. Egypt successfully blew up the tunnels which led into their country and built a far more secure barrier to prevent any infiltration. Anyone breaching that barrier is instantly killed. The agricultural aids didn’t grow a single fruit or vegetable in Gaza because it all went to making bombs – missiles. It’s time to get real. The lorries of aid have returned but don’t tell us we ought to care for the people of Gaza when nobody else is willing to. The additional aid from the USA is contingent on it going to the people not to Hamas, but who can tell which is which?

I used to think it was a compliment that we are held to a higher moral standard than our neighbours but of late I have realised that far from being a compliment it ties our hands, prevents us from adequately defending ourselves. Is there another army in the world that sends sms messages and drops flyers to ordinary citizens to get out of harm’s way?

The IDF spokesperson announced that we have completed plans for a ground attack but will choose our moment carefully. I believe that it will take a great deal of planning because the war against Hamas will be waged underground, a guerrilla war in the tunnels built from international funding and Israeli aid. We are good but when you don’t know where the tunnels are and your enemy knows them like the back of his hand, the risk to the lives of the soldiers increases a hundred fold. We must take our time, use every tiny piece of information from the “mashtapim” the moles inside Gaza, and only then, wage the ground attack ensuring the safety of the hostages too. In the meantime, more and more ordinary people have heeded the warnings of the IDF and moved southward. Alon Ben David, a very careful and accurate military correspondent on Israeli television, spoke of the change in the faces of IDF officers since October 7th.  He said that their entire stature and attitude had changed dramatically, a determination to wipe out those who dared to wreak havoc, to slaughter, to rape and burn, to decapitate Israelis will pay for their heinous crimes.

I know how things look from afar, I understand that many of you are afraid of the repercussions of Israel’s actions; I really understand, but if we don’t defend ourselves, nobody will defend you. The rumblings of hatred are becoming an earthquake fanned by the fallacious unspeakable lies told by the media.

Shai Davidai a professor at Columbia University, an Israeli, stood on the grounds of the university and spoke out to parents in the USA “I cannot protect your children from pro-terror students or organisations because the Presidents of Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Berkley will not speak out against terror”

Shabbat was surprisingly beautiful. Zvi’s boys and their families decided to come for Shabbat dinner, despite living in the coastal region which has suffered too many Red Alerts. They told me at about 11:00 on Friday that they would arrive at about 19:30, all 12 of them! Luckily, I am always prepared for all situations and by about 3 o’clock everything was cooked and the table was set for a 3 course meal when Zvi got back from his parliament. As an extra special treat for them and for us, Danny Liwerant, former World Chairman of Keren Hayesod came for dinner too. He is here to assess the situation, to guide the Jewish Agency in their decisions as to where their help is best needed. Danny and Zvi have been friends since Zvi was 13, the oversized Israeli geek who arrived in Mexico, wore short trousers and couldn’t speak Spanish! Danny is actually 9 days older than Zvi which he is never allowed to forget. I was so thrilled that once Zvi had made kiddush and most of the food had been consumed, the children went crazy! In and out of the apartment, playing hide and seek with whoops of glee and no sirens to disturb them. I think they enjoyed the food too, not a great deal left! My concern was their drive back home but all the children promise to let me know when they got in through their front door, and they did.

Strangely enough we seem to be living a relatively normal life, being near Jerusalem, but every news bulletin, every story, reaches deep into our hearts. Stil,l we go to our meetings and courses, invite neighbours and friends to visit, the need to be together, to be with others who understand how we feel has become an essential part of our being.

I just had a wonderful telephone call with Shelly Silver, the closest thing to a grandchild without being a blood relation! Shelly just got back from her post-IDF sojourn in South and North America and is now serving in the Home Front Command ensuring that new soldiers have everything they need on every level. Shelly went to see a girlfriend who is serving in the Southern village of Tzohar and found a diabolical reminder of what took place two weeks ago. Everything is burned, homes, trees, mounds of ash containing only heaven knows what horrific secrets and weapons discarded by the terrorists, sights too diabolical to describe. Beside Tzohar is the village of Tkuma where just one family returned, giving their home and their hearts to care for the soldiers that prepare for war. Shelly told me that young Israelis are determinedly returning from their travels to serve Israel, to play their part in the drama that is still unfolding. Talking to this fabulous young woman, with wisdom gained through experience, I sensed yet again that we are a very special country where our young people understand that they are fighting for freedom, for yours as well as ours. Shelly and her parents are coming to visit tomorrow on her way back to her base. I can’t wait.

So dear friends, don’t believe everything you see on the screen, in the case of the BBC news and most of CNN, don’t believe a word! Please, speak out, timidity didn’t win wars.

I decided to look online for a list of the hostages, the captives, in English and was surprised to find that the BBC had a full list. Please pray for each and every one of them. For me, I cannot get the picture of Shiri Bibas and her two tiny, red-headed babies being pushed and shoved onto a vehicle.

I wish you a good week, Shevua Tov, a better week in which we can all hear some good news, any good news and pray for the hostages to return home.

Lt Col. Shai Abramson sang this song to honour those who were taken in war and never returned, but today I feel it expresses all our prayers for the hostages taken on that diabolical day, on the 7th of October. “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables.

With much love