Monday, July 15, 2024

My day in the South

(Originally published in The Times of Israel)

I had been reticent to go down south to the sites of the October 7th massacre.  Firstly, we live in Israel.  We are surrounded by reminders of the deadly day, the pain of the hostages and their families, the daily deaths of our soldiers, the hate that is directed at us.

We know people whose family members and close friends were killed and kidnapped.  We have close friends whose sons and daughters and their spouses have been called up for milluim (reserve duty) for months, some in Gaza, some in support roles.  The thought of the pain of seeing the sites of the actual massacre seemed over-the-top, unnecessary, just too much to take.

The second reason for my reticence was a feeling that perhaps going to see the killing and torture fields, the kibbutzim and moshavim, the Nova festival site, was an invasion of privacy, a desecration of holy sites.  I was afraid of feeling and looking like a gawker, like somebody who stares at a car pile-up.

I saw nothing wrong when others took a different view and chose different behavior.  Thousands of volunteers have poured into Israel to help during the difficult months since October 7th.

They have selflessly given their time, their labor, their emotional support, and their money.  They have made a difference both materially and emotionally.  They and many others, visitors and Israelis alike, have made the trip to the south.

They have paid their respects, lent shoulders for those who needed them, and borne witness.  Many of those from abroad are going to go home and report to their families, friends, and communities on what happened there in a way only someone who has been there can.

We were prompted to finally go to the south to donate to and see the “Shuva Junction.”  Shuva is a moshav (cooperative community) a few kilometers east of the Gaza border. Immediately after October 7th, three brothers set up a little coffee stand for soldiers going in and out of Gaza at the intersection that leads from the main road into Shuva.

The coffee stand grew into a way station where soldiers can take some R&R, eat, clean up a bit, and collect some snacks and other “extras” that the army does not provide.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Memo from a disgruntled Israeli

(Originally published in The Times of Israel)

MEMO TO: U.N, EU, U.S., and all of the self-righteous intersectionalists at elite U.S. universities who don't understand anything about the Middle East and don't say a word about the famine in Sudan but love to dump on Israel and demonstrate their Jew-hatred when we have a war here.

FROM:  A disgruntled Israeli.

We're very likely to  have a really, really big war.  You will get very upset at us.  CNN, BBC, the NY Times, and the Washington Post will have the media equivalent of orgasms over all of the alleged starvation, water shortages, housing destruction, and all-around worst-ever-heard-of-in-the-history-of-the-world damage caused by Israel.

And, listening to the Ben Wiedemans of the world, and reading the Tom Friedmans of the world, it will all have been done for no reason except for the fact that we woke up one morning and  just felt like doing it.

One hundred missiles--yes, 100--were shot from Lebanon at Israeli civilians in the north Thursday.  Yes, in one day.  It continues today.  Everyday. 100,000 people cannot live in their homes.  Whole cities and towns are empty.

The world doesn't care.

Hezbollah, which is part of the Lebanese government, has at least 150,000 missiles buried amongst civilian areas all over southern Lebanon, along with every kind of sophisticated military equipment imaginable.  Most of it has been supplied by and continues to be supported by Iran.

UN Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the 2006 Lebanese War, called for the disarmament of Hezbollah and the demilitarization of southern Lebanon except for the Lebanese Army.  Hezbollah's solution:  With Iran's support, it became part of the Lebanese government.

The world didnt care, and it still doesn't.

What is now Israel's uninhabitable north keeps creeping south.  Each day the bombardment from Lebanon gets more aggressive and makes more of Israel a target.  As Secretary of State Blinken has said, Israel has lost its sovereignty in the north.

This has been going on for months.  We are effectively ceding more and more territory.  No country can tolerate this.  No country would.

The world doesn't care.

The world will undoubtedly and predictably care when Israel, finally, attacks Lebanon to stop the effective taking of its territory.  Then the world will come crashing down on us.

Secretary Blinken, French President Macron when he isn't oppressing occupied New Caledonian or any of the other 12 French colonial possessions, and other world leaders are trying to prevent "an escalation," aka Israel defending its sovereignty by eliminating Lebanon's ability to continue to attack Israel.

Neither Blinken or any other leader seems to care that Israel has been and continues to be under attack.  Their oft-expressed fear is that Israeli actions to defend itself will "escalate" and cause a wider war, i.e. a war that impacts people other than Israelis.

Their repeatedly-stated objective of avoiding an escalation that would involve Iran and possibly Russia in war, whether it be in relation to Lebanon, Gaza, the Houthis--just about every tinderbox in the Middle East--has guaranteed one thing: escalation by those terrorists and rogue nations.

When you let them know that their actions will not result in direct and severe consequences for them you have pretty much guaranteed an escalation by them.

Thus, a fourth-rate terrorist group like the Houthis has the nerve to continually cripple world shipping.  And a third-rate power like Iran has the nerve to support terror and use proxies to destabalize nations around the world.

If you are the most powerful country in the world--the supposed leader of the free world--aren't others supposed to be deterred by fear of your power, not you by their's?

Israel will have to act to protect its sovereignty and to defend its people.  It will not be pretty.  Then the world, undoubtedly including those "self-righteous intersectionalists at elite U.S. universities who don't understand anything about the Middle East and don't say a word about the famine in Sudan but love to dump on Israel and demonstrate their Jew-hatred when we have a war here," will care.

Too late.