We're getting clobbered here. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and whoever else in Gaza who loves violence over peace are hammering Israel. Not just the border communities that have been terrorized by these barrages for years. People in cities and towns across Israel's south are running for cover.
Not one of the over 400 missiles heading toward Israel are targeting military installations. Every single one of the rockets fired at Israel are intended to kill and maim civilians. The fact that only three civilians have been killed is due to Israeli defense actions, civilians taking cover, and luck.
I receive e-mail headline alerts from the NY Times. The alert I woke up to this morning from the august paper of record that publishes "All the News That's Fit to Print," the paper that publishes op-ed after op-ed bashing Israel, the paper that prints a myriad of articles and essays examining every wart Israel has from every angle, the paper that publishes cartoons that would have made Joseph Goebbels proud? Here it is:
"BREAKING NEWS: Maximum Security, the only undefeated horse in the field, won the Kentucky Derby to keep his streak intact at a fraught time for horse racing."
"BREAKING NEWS: In a stunning reversal, Maximum Security was disqualified from the Kentucky Derby. Country House a 65-1 long shot, was named the winner."
The Times is particularly irritating, and given its years of biased, inordinate focus on every blemish that Israel has, it's satisfying to point out its failure to prioritize the events here in Israel over Country House's dumb luck.
One also feels compelled to note the irony, in this particular circumstance, of the name of the horse who got knocked out for, apparently, sliding into another horse after jumping over a puddle: Maximum Security.
But the Times is not alone. There was nothing on CNN International or other international news outlets until Israel started firing back. Then the leads were pulled out of the drawer: "___ Palestinians were killed as Israel retaliates for missiles that did not hurt anyone." Or something like that.
It's all very predictable.
It is certain that we will hear from Senators Sanders and Feinstein and Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib, et. al. condemning Israel once Israel takes actions and Gazans are killed and hurt because Hamas and other terrorist groups put their installations in civilian areas.
Some will initially defend our "right to exist" and our "right to defend" ourselves. The European Union already has. But, if their history is an accurate predictor of future conduct, and I have great confidence that it is in this case, they will soon be condemning Israel, not those that started the rampage, for the Palestinian deaths and injuries that will inevitably occur and that Hamas and its cohorts cynically expect, welcome, and use to stir up its people's hatred and the world's sympathy.
Why not? It works.
"Disproportionate" will be thrown around like confetti at a wedding. Use of the word with such abandon demonstrates a complete misunderstanding and/or disregard for the doctrine of disproportionality in war. The doctrine means having a legitimate objective and using means tailored to that objective that will result in the least amount of damage and death. It has nothing to do with comparing body counts.
But that is how it will be misused. If Israel takes necessary actions to deter future missile attacks and to cripple Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's capabilities, we will soon be getting condemnations comparing the "disproportionate" number of deaths. The translation of these headlines: "Not enough Jews have died to make us feel comfortable."
It all reminds one of Menachem Begin's famous line: "The world likes its Jews as victims."
One need not gaze into a crystal ball to divine why Hamas and their fellow terrorists started this attack that will inevitably result in more suffering for their people. They've been right up front in stating the reasons. 1) The desire to disrupt the upcoming Eurovision contest about to take place in Israel, or to extract concessions from Israel so that it can take place without incident. 2) They are angry and upset over the failure of funds to arrive from Qatar on schedule. No matter that the reason for the delay is reported to be that the Qatar official responsible for the matter was visiting a sick relative in the U.S. 3) Israel's alleged tardiness in agreeing to or implementing terms of a long-term truce facilitated by Egypt.
It says a lot that leaders of and spokespersons for Hamas and Islamic Jihad state these reasons, and that a good part of the world reads them, without blinking an eye. In most parts of the world, these are reasons for intensifying negotiations, for banging the cup on the table, for exhortations in the press.
But with the Gazan leadership, and with those that hate Israel and hold it to a different standard than other nations, and with those who sympathetically condescend to and treat Palestinians as if they are children, it makes perfect sense to target Jews, to traumatize children, to blow up schools, and to cause pain and misery to your own people for these reasons.
We just marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, the day here in Israel when we poignantly note the destruction of a huge part of the Jewish people, its culture, one of its languages, its art, its music, its flavor, its life. With gut-wrenching regret, we mourned six million deaths that resulted from the fact that Jews could not defend themselves, that we did not have a state.
This week we will mark Yom HaZikaron, Israel Remembrance Day, when we mourn and honor the thousands of young people, kids, whose parents never saw and will never see grow up so that we are a free people, not kicked in the dirt, not subject to humiliation and intimidation, not victim to the will of a dictator or masses of people stirred up like animals with hatred. We will mourn the cost of having a nation that ensures we live freely, safely and with dignity.
The day after Yom HaZikaron, we will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. With gusto, with joy, and with barbecues, we will relish in the "miracle" of the re-creation of our free and independent Jewish nation, a country where the Jewish people control their own destiny, a country where we know there is a first-rate military dedicated to our defense, to our living lives in freedom and dignity, not afraid, not at the will or whim of others, and certainly not quietly.
The NY Times and others may not pay attention to our being attacked until we fight back. A horse race with a surprise ending might take priority over 400 missiles meant to kill innocent Jews.
But I'd give odds that at this time, with a third of the country listening for Tzeva Adoms (Red Alerts) and running for cover, with the country mourning the deaths of six million souls, with mothers and fathers crying beside graves of kids who gave everything, and with millions celebrating freedom and dignity and security after two thousand years, that for a brief few days, what the NY Times and the world thinks won't matter much to most Israelis.
In fact, I'd give 65-1 odds.
(Originally published in The Times of Israel)