Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Between a Rock and a Rocket

Look at the picture below...

A siren sounded in Beersheva and a driver got out of his car. He saw another car stop and a father with an infant in his arms got out and quickly bent over near a wall on the side.

A few seconds later, a stranger came, the man you see here in the black shirt. One doesn't know the other. The man in the black shirt placed himself in front of the father, shielding the baby with his body...there is none like the people of Israel...

Touched by this beautiful site, the driver took the picture and wrote that he was so proud of Israel to have such people in it. 

I Need To Work

There. I wrote it. My mind is so preoccupied. It does a few things...and then I come back and check the news. Which is so stupid because I have a site opened which will automatically beep if there is an incoming missile attack. Already there have been several today.

My hands close the page and my brain begins to focus on this long document that needs to be combined with another, fused and edited and then finished and delivered. I still have a proposal for a new client; I have to check on that new writer. I need to outline the new project that we closed last week and decide whether I'll do the work or bring in a writer.

The document stares back at me from one monitor, while my eyes move to the second monitor and without thinking, I check the news...which is stupid because I would hear beeping and there is none. The heading would change from Color Red to ALERT - ALERT - ALERT...but it's quiet for these last few minutes.

And so I go back to work...and then after a few minutes, I go back again to check.

I can only be glad that I am my own boss, that I bill per hour and so will likely bill only a few minutes per hour because...I check the news...which is stupid because...

"I need to work", says my head.

"But my country is at war; we have over 120 soldiers that have been wounded. There's a funeral I wanted to go to happening right now; families sitting in mourning," answers my heart.

The human brain can only take so much, my heart acknowledges wisely to itself. There are so many things the brain simply can't understand. "Give yourself a break."

"I'm not a soldier; nothing I can do will help," answers the brain, "I might as well work."

"How can you work at a time like this?" Asks the heart with all the understanding only a heart can have. It understands the brain's distress, it feels it too. "Give yourself a break. You don't have to post every missile attack, every siren, every death. You think you are the only one who knows how to use Facebook?"

"No, of course not. Look at the Muqata! He's posting everything and where DOES he get all that information so fast," my brain responds.

"Well, you can't be the Muqata," says my heart, "duh. NO one can be the Muquata. That Jameel is...well, anyway, you're only human."

"What, and Jameel is not? And what about the Brian from London guy, and the Israellycool? You think they're sitting around not posting stuff?"

"Didn't you say you need to work?" asks my heart.

"Yeah, I need to work....did you hear about the soldier who proposed to his girlfriend right there in the field?"

"Yes, it was a beautiful story. And you posted it. Now close Facebook."

"But what if something happens?" my heart asks. "I'm just going to check one more time..."

Tweeting with Twits

I've been tweeting with twits for days now, and I'm so an active Twitter participant, I've been watching and responding for days. Three common things are coming my way: 

A wave of anti-Semitic comments 

I've received several anti-Semitic comments (a huge number coming from Ireland) in which they say that Hitler didn't kill enough Jews, etc.

Historically inaccurate comments

So many of the comments are made by people who hear reports on the news but know nothing of the actual history of Israel. One person wrote that the Palestinians are the true Jews, and that we Jews today are actually not the true Jews. Another claims that Israel is built on stolen land - one even said "Tel Aviv" to explain why Hamas is firing at Tel Aviv. This is further proof that we are indeed fighting for our existence; that it really has nothing to do with 1967 and everything to do with 1948.

One uninformed gentleman from Ireland even informed me that the cause of this was the settlements dating all the way back to the creation of Israel...that would indeed be Tel Aviv. I informed him that the wars of 1948 and 1956, and the establishment of the PLO in 1964 had little to do with settlements, which only began, according to some, after 1967. 

Intentional mistruths

And the final group of comments comes from those that intentionally blur the truth. Various tweets have suggested that Hamas had bombed Ben Gurion airport (they didn't); that Israel was using chemical weapons (we're not); that the rockets are harmless (they aren't); that the Palestinians want peace (I've seen no evidence of this); and that we are targeting Gazan schools (only the ones with rockets in them and only after we do our best to confirm that they are empty). 

Worst of all has been the crude language used by so many, particularly young Arab men who think it is their right to write abusive and obscene comments to women.

Another one I found incredibly offensive was a tweet made by a British MP who suggests that if he lived in Gaza, he'd be firing rockets. In other words, a normal citizen of Gaza has the right to fire rockets at Israeli citizens. 

Isn't that amazing. He has the nerve to suggest that Gaza missile attacks are justified. This from a lawmaker? Does he understand that according to international law, the firing of rockets into cities is illegal? No, apparently the idiot doesn't understand this basic concept. 

And to make sure you understand, he uses the German "I am a Palestinian" when what he actually should be writing is that he's an idiot. And then he says the West must decide which side it is on. Canada has firmly condemned Gaza. The United States, though urging Israel to show restraint, has firmly come out against the rocket fire against Israeli citizens, as has Germany. 

The fact that David Ward is free to justify Palestinian violence bothers me less than the fact that he was elected to the position he holds. 

And for the record, Mr. Ward, if you shoot a rocket at Israeli civilians, that makes you a criminal and/or a terrorist. It also makes you a very justified target. Go for it. I encourage you sincerely. Words are so cheap and easy. Go on, put your body where your mouth is.

As for the British Parliament - do you truly allow people to promote mass murder to serve in your halls?

Wait, what am I talking about, we have this same thing here in Israel, don't we. Here's Haneen Zoabi, an Arab member of the Israel parliament as she blasts the very institution that gives her a microphone...from which she says we have no right to exist and, like the idiot from Britain, justifies the violence and hatred that started this war.

This is War...

Israelis seem to love to declare operations. I can't count how many operations I've lived through in the 21 years since I moved here. Some of the names, especially when translated

Sirens being heard in Israeli communities surrounding Gaza now.

when translated into

More sirens indicating incoming rockets for Israeli communities surrounding Gaza now.

into English. Some are poignant. Like Operation Shuvu Achim, Operation Return Brothers, which was conducted to search for three kidnapped and murdered Israeli teens - Elad, Gilad, and Naftali.

Some lend themselves to jokes. I won't even begin to list what some of my friends wrote on Facebook when it was announced that the working name of this current conflict was Tsuk Eitan - Protective Edge.

But Israel is making a mistake by continuing to call this an Operation and not a War. I don't now the legal ramifications (national and international) that relate to what a conflict is called. I know some of the detrimental effects that resulted during the Second Lebanon War because recognition of this status was only conferred after the "operation" ended.

But from a psychological point of view, and certainly from an international perspective, we are involved in a war...and not JUST a war, a war they began by shooting rockets at us (or more specifically, drastically increasing the number of rockets).

A war is something that takes place between two entities. Each side is fighting - either by the rules or not, but still, two sides are fighting. An Operation is one conducted by a country - with no inferred or action required by the other side.

More sirens - Israeli communities surrounding Gaza now.

This is most definitely not a one-sided operation by Israel. Perhaps, we started Operation Protective Edge - but Hamas and the Gazans started this war. Call it what it is...

Israel is once again fighting a war. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

God Bless This Man

This man is our answer to all those who say Israel is an apartheid land. His name, may God bless him, is Rasan Alian. He is a member of the Druze community in Israel.

He is also a Colonel in the army of Israel, Commander of the Golani Brigade. A few days ago, he was moderately wounded, mostly in the face, including his eyes. He was evacuated, fully conscious, to the hospital, knowing that his men were still fighting, probably knowing that several had already been killed in action.

As the doctors were taking care of him, he was demanding that they release him so that he could get back to his men. They wanted him to stay in the hospital; he demanded that he be released. He was ordered to stay in the hospital and still he argued.

Today, he was released from the army and went straight back to his men. He is dedicated to the land of Israel and the State of Israel. He is not Jewish but he understands that only in this land, of all the nations in the Middle East, only in Israel is there such incredible respect for individuals as human beings. There is no apartheid in Israel - if there were, an intelligent and dedicated man such as Colonel Rasan Alian would not dedicate his life to serving it.

May God bless Rasan Alian with a full and speedy recovery. May God and Rasan continue to watch over the blessed soldiers of Golani as they continue defending our country.

Thank you, Colonel - from every Israeli. You have our thanks, our respect, and our love.

Terrorists Again Using Ambulances

As in previous wars, Hamas is again dressing their armed forces in civilian clothes, Israeli army uniforms...and even using ambulances as transportation. How do you fight an enemy that hides among civilians, dresses as civilians, and abuses ambulances this way.

What is the Proportional Response to This?

This is a house of a family in Yehud. This morning there was a siren in central areas of Israel, including where my parents live. A short while later, we heard there'd been a direct hit on a house. Yes, Iron Dome can miss...

The family had taken shelter in the bomb shelter, and emerged, safe but in shock, to find this. What is the proportional response that Israel is expected to deliver to Gaza? Should we find some innocent family and blow up their home while they are inside? That would be proportional.

Of course, if we did that, the Gaza family would die because they don't build bomb shelters. In fact, the whole neighborhood could blow because inside many Palestinian homes in Gaza, and certainly under them in an intricate maze of tunnels, are thousands of explosives and missiles.

Or, should we do what we are doing? Target the source of this horrible act. Shouldn't we try to find where the missiles are launched from? Shouldn't we try to find the rocket launchers?

Civilized people would agree - and that's what we are doing. The problem is - what happens when the rocket is launched from  a school, a mosque, a home, or even a hospital. Hamas has done all of this.

It isn't all about the's about the morality of what we are doing. In this, I agree with what Bibi Netanyahu told some ambassadors today.

For These, We Cry

I promised myself I wouldn't do this. I did it when Elie was in the Cast Lead War and it nearly broke me...I haven't done it so far...but I saw this picture and needed to share it.

These are our soldiers, our sons...may their memory be blessed...

Sergeant Max Steinberg, from the Golani Brigade, (24) from Be'er Sheva. He was promoted from the rank of Corporal to the rank of Sergeant after his death. He was an American citizen who came to Israel reluctantly, and fell in love with the country.

Staff Sergeant Shachar Tase, from the Golani Brigade, (20) from Pardesiya. He was promoted from the rank of Sergeant to the rank of Staff Sergeant after his death.

Staff Sergeant Daniel Pomerantz, from the Golani Brigade, (20) from Kfar Azar. He was promoted from the rank of Sergeant to the rank of Staff Sergeant after his death.

Sergeant Shon Mondschein, from the Golani Brigade, (19) from Tel - Aviv. He was promoted from the rank of Corporal to the rank of Sergeant after his death.

Sergeant Ben Itzhak Oanounou, from the Golani Brigade, (19) from Ashdod. he was promoted from the rank of Corporal to the rank of Sergeant after his death.

Staff Sergeant Oren Simcha Noach, from the Golani Brigade, (22) from Hoshaya. The IDF spokesperson conveys the family's request to avoid media coverage

Why Schools Are Targeted in the Middle East

Both Hamas and Israel are apparently targeting civilian buildings...or buildings that should, by all that is decent, be considered safe. A few days ago, UNRWA announced it had found 20 rockets stored in its basement in Gaza. Apparently, they have learned a lesson from the last war. If you store rockets, your site will be considered an arsenal, not a safe haven.

We know why Israel is targeting Gaza schools. Here is the reason why...
Now ask yourself why Hamas is targeting Israeli schools...the answer appears right below this video:

So, why does Hamas target Israeli schools....not because they contain rockets, not because we are launching missiles from within school yards. They target our schools...because that is where children learn and play.

Talking to the Media...

Apparently, the media has somehow found me, or at least some have. Recently I spoke with BBC Radio for a few minutes. They told me the interview would be non-political and would focus on how it felt to be in Israel at this time, and what it was like when the sirens sound.

The aired interview was 5 minutes long. The recorded interview was approximately 14 minutes long. The first few questions were about the siren...and then came the politics.

The aired recording was about 1 minutes on the siren situation and 4 minutes on the politics.

A reporter from Brazil contacted me; a reporter from Sweden. Each asked me to answer some questions. I've decided to post the answers the next few posts...

A Response to Brazil

Talking to the Swedes

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