Faster Please

There will be a new air defense system to compliment the Iron Dome that Israel has deployed against the kassam and Grad rockets fired from Gaza. This system, sometimes called Magic Wand, is supposed to be ready for deployment within two years, and was unveiled at the Paris Air Show rcently.

This system will be very much needed if Hizballah decides to start firing rockets at us from Lebanon. The craziness in Syria has its affect in the other countries surrounding Israel – as this interesting analysis of last night’s rocket fire from Gaza points out.

I’m Not Holding My Breath

The news that “moderate” (who decides who is a moderate, anyway?) cleric Rouhani has won the presidential election in Iran is a good sign, but I am not holding my breath waiting for him to shut down Iran’s nuclear plants. Call me a pessimist, but I think that the real power in that country is held by the Ayatollah, and whatever he decides goes. If he had wanted to stop Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb it would have been stopped already.

I am sure the IDF isn’t putting away their plans just yet either. There have been newspaper reports that Netanyahu is spending the major part of his time dealing with the security threat from Iran and from Syria, and letting others squabble over economic issues in the Knesset (which is as it should be, in my opinion).

Third Iron Dome System Operational in Northern Israel

The IDF has set up the third Iron Dome battery in the northern part of Israel.  The other two were set up within the past few weeks. This is a sign that Israel expects rocket fire coming from the north – either from Hizbollah in Lebanon or from either Assad or the rebels in Syria – or perhaps even both.

This comes in a addition to the anouncement that President Obama will (finally) come to visit Israel next month. He is coming supposedly to further peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians (good luck with that….) but I think he will be speaking more about the problems in Iran and Syria.

The fact that Ahmadinejad is visiting Egypt now – the first time an Iranian leader has done this in three decades – is a warning sign too. For those of you not familiar with history, the sliver of land called Israel has been in the middle of wars between the ruling powers around Egypt in the southwest and Syria in the northeast for centuries. The players change frequently but the fight for supremacy is the same. The fact tha Iran has backed Assad in Syria has made it in conflict with Egypt – but perhaps now that there is a new ruler in Egypt Iran wants to warm up relations.

In any case the IDF is making preparations for the next round.

Hamas Calls for Terror Attacks Against Israelis

A senior Hamas leader, Ahmed Halabiyeh has called for terror attacks against Israelis, including suicide bombers in the “heart of Israel”.

This means of course that he wants other people to go out and throw stones and Molotov cocktails at innocent civilians on the roads where I live, and other people to strap on bombs and try to blow themselves up on buses and in cafes in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He wants other people to die in order to murder innocent Jews.

Very brave of him.

Not to worry though. It also means that he has put himself on a list. This list is one that the IDF keeps of what I call “VIT’s” Very Important Targets. The IDF will track him down, and if he is truly responsible for terorrist attacks, he will be taken care of.

In the meantime the IDF will also be doing what they do all of the time – far from the limelight – patrolling, gathering information, arresting suspected terorrists, and keeping an eye on us here in Israel.

Waiting to See if the Ceasefire Holds

There was an announcement last night about a ceasefire between Israel and the terrorists in Gaza. The reality on the ground is that we in Israel are waiting to see if it holds. Schools in the south within 40 kilometers of Gaza are still closed. Most of the reserve soldiers are still on duty – a few have been sent home with the proviso that they can be called up any second again.

The analyists, both military and political, are of course expressing their opinion in the media. I have my own take on what happened this past week and what it means, but I am not going to write about it yet. We need to see how the next few days play out. I can say that in general there are a lot of frustrated men in Israel (who wanted to go in and fight the Hamas terrorists) and there are a lot of relieved women in Israel (who, although they agree that you need to fight Hamas, are happy to think that their husbands and sons are not needed to fight a war now).

 

Hamas Lies

Don’t believe everything you read in the papers – especially from Hamas. Here are a series of videos with a list of their lies:

Terrorist Attack on Bus in Tel Aviv – and Rockets Continue to Be Fired

1:50 pm: Sirens sounding in Beersheba. Rockets fell in open areas – no injuries.

1:25 pm: Sirens sounding in communities around the Gaza border. The people in Gaza are celebrating in the streets in reaction to the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv. The mosques are announcing the attack to everyone using their pr system.

1:06 pm: Sirens sounding again in the communities around the Gaza border.

There was a terrorist attack on a bus in Tel Aviv at 12:05 pm. There are at least 10 casualties, at least three in critical condition. The bus was on Shaul HaMelech street, which is a major thoroughfare.

It seems that a person went onto the bus, left a bomb, and left the bus. The police are looking for this person in the city.

Hamas is happy with the news of this attack, and calls it a “natural reaction” to what is happening in Gaza.

Why Are The Number of Israeli Casualties So Low?

The IDF spokesman’s blog asks the question, whey are the number of Israeli casualties so low – and answers here. The short version, we have the Iron Dome System that destroys some of the rockets before they fall, and the people have access to bomb shelters – either in their homes (the safe room, or mamad in Israeli slang) or in public shelters in their apartment buildings.

The long version of this answer is our society and its values. We Jews value life above (practically) all else. We use our human and physical resources in order to do whatever we can to save lives. We use our superior technologies to help us survive. Unfortunately we have had a lot of experience in warfare and defending the homefront, and we try to learn from every war. The fact that we have safe rooms in houses came about as a reaction to the Gulf War in 1991. After that war a law was passed that every new residence was required to have a safe room built into it. These safe rooms have literally saved thousands of lives, just in the past week.

The IDF youtube site has a short video showing the incredible damage to an apartment in Rishon LeZion hit yesterday, and at the end it shows how the safe room is completely intact.

Update Pillar of Defense, November 21

12:06 pm: Explosion in a bus in Tel Aviv – apparently a terrorist attack. The bus was on Shaul HaMelech street.

11:20 am: Sirens in Ashkelon and Gadera.

10:17 am: Sirens sounding in Kiryat Melachi, communities around Gaza. A rocket fell in Beer Tuvia directly on a house, thank G-d no casualties.

10:05 am: Rockets fell near Beersheba. No injuries reported.

9:59 am: Sirens in Ashkelon and communities around Gaza.

9:41 am: Sirens in Ashkelon and Beersheba and communities around the Gaza border.

Reporters – stay away from Hamas. They will use you as human shields. They already use your buildings as bases for their operations. The Israel Air Force will target Hamas and not you, if they can, but if I were you I wouldn’t take any chances….

9:07 am: Sirens sounding in communities around the Gaza border and Kiryat Melachi.

9:00 am: Rockets fired at Shaar HaNegev.

8:46 am: Rockets fired toward Ashkelon, three intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

No ceasefire has been reached. The rockets continue to be fired from Gaza towards Israel, and the Israel Airforce is hitting targets in Gaza. Schools in the areas 40 kilometers from Gaza are still closed. In Rishon LeZion, a suburb of Tel Aviv, some schools are closed today and some open. Yesterday Rishon LeZion had their first rocket attack – an aparment on the top floor was almost completely destroyed. Thank G-d the people living there went into their safe room when the siren sounded and they were saved.

Update Pillar of Defense – November 20, Afternoon

10:00 pm: As of now there is no ceasefire agreement. The IAF is hitting targets in Gaza and the IDF is using artillery to supplement the air force.

8:52 pm: The IDF spokesman blog is reporting that Hamas is urging the citizens in the northern part of Gaza to ignore the IDF warnings to evacuate the area before an IDF ground operation. I guess they will miss their human shields….http://www.idfblog.com/2012/11/20/hamas-spokesman-urges-palestinian-civilians-to-ignore-idf-warnings/

8:37 pm: Barzilai Hospital has moved many of their patients to underground facilities, specially built for this type of situation.

8:34 pm: Sirens sounding in Ashkelon.

8:29 pm: Terrorist attack near Beitar Ilit – an elderly woman is found seriously wounded in her car. It seems that she was attacked by stone throwers.

8:19 pm: Sirens sounding in Ashkelon and communities around the Gaza border.

8:16 pm: Released for publication – a soldier was killed by a rocket in the Eshkol region.

7:17 pm: Sirens in Beersheba, and communities around the Gaza border.

Just to give some perspective, today alone over 300 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. In addition to the rockets, Arabs rioted in various places in Judea and Samaria, especially in Hebron.

7:12 pm: Sirens sounding in Ashdod, Beersheba and communities near the Gaza border.

6:55 pm: The head of the Homefront command has stated that the Israeli public should continue to follow the rules of conduct during an air raid siren and go to the safe rooms, and he specifically said that talk of a ceasefire does not change this.

6:25 pm: There is a lot of confusion here in Israel. There is talk about a ceasefire, but the IAF has dropped leaflets in the northern part of Gaza warning the citizens to leave as the IDF will be invading soon. They are listening to the warnings and leaving en masse toward the south. Meanwhile the rockets are still being fired from Gaza and people are being hurt.

6:08 pm: Rocket hits in Ashkelon, at least one injured seriously. Rocket falls on a building Rishon LeZion (suburb of Tel Aviv). Rockets were taken out near Ashdod.

6:00 pm: The rockets keep being fired from Gaza, but there is talk about a ceasefire that will be in effect starting tonight. The only problem is that Israel has not confirmed this.

3:27 pm: The IDF is reporting that the Hamas terrorists who fired the rocket toward Jerusalem earlier were now killed by an attack by the IAF.

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