Erev Shabbat July 11, 2014
It’s the Sabbath and we are commanded to rest and enjoy the peace of this day. Found in the words we exchange with one another on the Sabbath we are reminded of this obligation: Shabbat Shalom: a Sabbath of peace, Shabbat Menucha: Sabbath rest, Ora ve Simcha: Light and Gladness (a song for the Sabbath Day).
Yet our Sabbath rest and peace are interrupted by concern and worry for our brothers and sisters in the Land of Israel. As we gather this evening to usher in the Sabbath Day those in Israel do not sleep restfully in their beds. They wait for sirens to scream and have but fifteen to sixty seconds to make their way to the nearest bomb shelter. Israel is at war-a war not of their making.
Some have attributed this latest violence to the horrific murder of a Palestinian youth the day after the funeral of three Israeli teenagers. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza, abandoning all settlements, leaving in working order all factories, greenhouses and homes in February, 2005 some 8,000 rockets and mortar shells have been launched against civilian centers in Israel. Initially because of their primitive technology these projectiles carried minimum payloads, had only short range capacities and were without targeting capabilities. Nonetheless Israeli border towns such as Sderot were under constant bombardment. As the years past and the smuggling into Gaza increased the missiles and rockets became more numerous and their accuracy and payloads improved several fold. Now almost every inch of Israel is within range.
Twice in recent history as a result of this endless barrage of Hamas shelling and rocketing Israel has militarily gone on the defense, once in the winter of 2008 and again in the winter of 2009.
As Jews we feel for those in Gaza, the innocent victims of Hamas terror and hate. Over one hundred and fifty have died, over five hundred injured. They have died for senseless reasons and motivations. Hamas cannot win. At best Hamas can disturb normal life for Israelis. Hiding behind innocent women and children thus causing needless causalities is not the way of civilized people. To its credit Israel calls and pamphlets by air prior to every air attack thus hoping to reduce civilian causalities.
Shame on Hamas for causing the needless death of its own citizens in Gaza. Shame on President Abbas for establishing a unity government between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas on June 2 of this year.
Let there be no misunderstanding the death of the innocent is tragic-whether they be Palestinians or Israelis. Yet let there be no misunderstanding this fight, this war is not between two moral equivalents. Gaza is not an occupied territory. There are no Israelis living in Gaza. And from 2005 until 2007 when Hamas defeated and expelled Pres. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority there was no Israeli blockade. Hamas has chosen this war, chosen to rain destruction upon Israel and in so doing has brought misery upon its own citizens.
Just today as Israel is on high alert truck loads of humanitarian supplies were shipped into Gaza from Israel. What other nation on earth would do such a thing; provide aid to another nation with whom it’s at war? Even Egypt has sealed its border with Gaza! Nothing goes in and nothing comes out by way of Egypt.
This terror has to stop. No other country would tolerate it and certainly not for nine years. Hamas is not interested in a two state solution: two peoples living side by side in peace. Hamas is dedicated to the annihilation of Israel.
I ask you to be involved. How? Follow the events closely. Be informed. Subscribe online to news services: if you Tweet follow the IDF postings. Subscribe online to the Jerusalem Post. Follow the statements of our President and elected officials. Just today the US House voted unanimously in favor of Israel’s defensive position and its right to rid Gaza of terrorism. Get in touch with Representative Welch and thank him for his vote today. If you see a letter in the Free Press or other publication that takes Israel to task for defending herself-write a response. Don’t be afraid to speak up. And let’s pray for the peace of Israel. Bless our brothers and sisters. Keep them from harm. And may those who defend her be of courage. And may they know they have our support and love. And may it be soon that they too shall once again know the blessing of Shabbat Shalom-a Sabbath of Peace.