We Need to Be Vigilant on All Fronts

Ron Ben Yishai writes an excellent anyalysis of the war in Gaza. He makes a lot of good points, and says that we need patience and endurance and that we will eventually beat the terrorists in Gaza.

Another point that I think is important when judging our success or failure in Gaza is the very concrete reality that we in Israel have to be vigilant on many fronts. We are literally surrounded by enemies and need to be able to “pivot” to face more than one enemy at a time. It is dangerous for us to committ too many troops in one place for too long.

The defense ministry is now concerned about the threat to Israel by Islamic fanatics in Syria. We need to be able to fight up north if need be, and it is a good thing that we don’t have troops fighting a ground war in Gaza.


In War, Less is More

The news analysts are having a field day trying to decide if we won, lost, or tied with Hamas after the latest operation/war. Some are very clear in their opinion and some hedge their bets by claiming that we won’t be able to tell if the operation was successful until we see how much time it takes Hamas to start up again – pointing out, correctly, that after the Second Lebanon War everyone was sure that Hizbollah was not crushed and would start firing rockets at Israel soon after. The fact that it has been quiet in the north for more than eight years seems to point out that the war in Lebanon was a success after all.

I have my own opinion (I think that this war was conducted perfectly) but instead of a long post detailing everything I want to make a few points.

The wars that Israel fights usually don’t end like they do in the movies, where the bad guys get smacked down dramatically and everyone feels great at the end. Especially when dealing with terrorist groups, these things last a long time. The fighting goes in stages and can last for decades. Those claiming that this war was a failure because there was no “victory image” have an unrealistic view of what life is like here.

This time around the IDF fought differently, and these differences will add to Israel’s overally security.

1. The Israel Air Force did not hesitate to bomb places where rockets were being launched, even in civilian areas. When Hamas launched rockets from mosques and schools the IAF bombed them – and guess what? The sky did not fall down. Even after the UN and the President of the United States got angry about it – the IAF continued.

2. The Israel Air Force bombed houses where the terrorist leaders were hiding – even if it meant that innocent civilians got killed, and again, there were no dire consequences to Israel. Hamas will need to take these two points into consideration and know that their human shields were not very protective after all.

3. The IDF only sent in their ground forces to do what could only be done on the ground – namely destroying tunnels. Then these forces were taken out. Despite the public pressure to go in and “finish Hamas off”, our leaders fought with their heads and not their hearts – and they saved a lot of soldiers’ lives, and they avoided what Hamas wanted more than anything – Israeli soldiers in captivity.

When the dust clears, and people calm down, our “victory” will become much more apparent. Hamas brought on destruction and death to their people, and it will take years to rebuild. Those who are funding the rockets will need to ask themselves if it is worth it to spend millions of dollars on rockets that don’t hit their targets. Those building the tunnels will know that Israel knows about them and is working on technology to detect them earlier. (Not to mention an interesting fact about tunnels – that they literally go both ways. I am sure there are tunnels that the IDS knows about that they can use for Special Forces to go into Gaza. Look for more “Gaza work accidents in tunnels” in the future.)

A last point: The disengagement happened nine years ago. Except for the seriously right wing, everyone else in the country agreed to rip 10,000 Jews from their homes. Most said that they wanted to “give peace a chance”, but the real underlying reason was that they did not want their husbands and sons to have to serve in Gaza and risk being killed by the terrorists there. Most of the people in the country still feel the same way.

Those who live in the south under rocket fire are complaining about the fact that their security is being sacrificed every few years, and it is intolerable. I agree with them – but I also understand the politicians who are reluctant to use the IDF to take over the Gaza strip again. Most Israelis do not want the IDF to take over Gaza. Until they change their minds – the people in the south will suffer. On the other hand, you can’t blame the government for this. They are only doing what the people expect.

Time for a Breather

It is erev Shabbat and the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel has been broken. The IAF is hitting some targets in Gaza but it seems minor. I think that we are taking a bit of a breather and perhaps there are those behind the scenes trying to get Hamas to lower their expectations.

By motzei Shabbat we should have a clearer picture of where the war is going.

Personally, the soldiers I know of are now home for a much needed break, letting their mothers and wives spoil them and getting some sleep.

Closer to home, in the midst of this war, the military court finally decided to put my Chabad son in prison for a month. He will get out around Rosh Chodesh Elul and then start his regular army service (and hopefully a more normal married life with his new bride). We consider this to be a good verdict as the prosecution wanted him in prison for six months.

I may have some interesting things to write about as a mother of a Charedi soldier in the IDF (and a mother of two Dati Leumi sons in yeshiva and preparing their own army service in the IDF.)

For now the Gaza war is in the forefront. I hope the soldiers do not have to go in again to fight, but I am continuing my tehillim in any case.

Shabbat Shalom and we should only hear good news.

An Ounce of Prevention

I was happy to read this article in the Times of Israel site, which states that the IDF and Shin Bet have conducted a wave of arrests of Arabs suspected of violence in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria).

The arrests have helped decrease the incidents of stone throwing and are also a preventative measure before Ramadan, which starts soon. The Israeli army always gives thousands of extra permits to Arabs living in Judea and Samaria to travel to Jerusalem during Ramadan, and the fast and extra “religious fervor” of the month always gives rise to violence against Jews.

Hopefully these measures will keep the quiet, while permitting those Arabs that just want to celebrate their holiday and visit family the chance to do so.

Personally I am very glad we have a car now. Traveling by tremping (hitchiking in Israeli slang) is always a bit nerve-wracking when the bus stops are full of Arab men going home early from work – especially near our yishuvim in Yehuda and Shomron. During Ramadan it is that much worse.

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).

Tzipi Hotobeli Tells It Like It Is

Tzipi Hotobeli tells it like it is here when she stated that the latest terrorist attacks prove that the Arabs don’t want peace. Last night a terrorist shot at two people near Wadi Kelt – thank G-d they weren’t hurt. This is in addition to the murder earlier this week of Evyatar Borovsky as he was standing at a bus stop.

The other Tzipi in the Knesset, Tzipi Livni, of course takes another tack and completely ignores reality, when she says she is optimistic after talking with Senator John Kerry about negotiations with the Palestinians.

The blah blah blah doesn’t mean anything, but the bigwigs need to have their photo ops. The reality on the ground is what is important.

Got Him!

The Israeli Air Force is on its toes as usual. Earlier this afternoon it downed a drone sent from the north of the coast of Haifa. The navy is now looking for the wreckage.

It is interesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu was in a helicopter on his way up north at the time of the sighting of the drone, and they landed until the drone was destroyed.

It seems that the IDF is very alert, given the craziness going on in Syria.

This Could Have Been My Family

Arabs threw rocks at cars and trucks last evening, and caused a serious accident, where a mother and her daughters were hurt seriously – the two year old baby is fighting for her life. This happened about a five minute drive from my house (and I had been in the area just a few hours before it happened).

Terror takes many forms. When the IDF and the Shabak (Israeli security services) have good information they can prevent the terrrorist attacks, especially suicide bombers and attempted kidnapping. When the terrorists see that they are not being successful, they send out their lesser troops – the stone throwers. The media doesn’t even report incidents of stone throwing (unless of course the IDF, while protecting its citizens, reacts “disproportionately” and then they report it far and wide) but make no mistake – rocks can kill.

The situation always gets worse when a big-wig comes to visit Israel from America. The terrorists need to make sure “they are on the map” in order to impress the VIP. A visit from the president of the United States is a ripe time for them to get active.

This is Getting Really Old

Yair Lapid has been playing games again, and now insists that if his party does not get the Education ministry they will either sit in the opposition or go to new elections. He has also retracted and now insists on a smaller number of ministers.

Danny Danon has pointed out that it will be dangerous for Netanyahu to give in to Lapid now – which will set a precedent for the rest of his government. I tend to agree with Danon. Lapid needs to be cut down to size a bit, or he will continually threaten the coalition. The man I am really angry with of course is Bennett. I really don’t understand what he thinks he is gaining by giving Lapid his loyalty – the only issue that Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi agree on is drafting the charedim. Bennett is making a mistake in the long term.

In any case, Netanyahu only has a few more days to pull together a government, or Peres will have to offer it to someone else. I really hope he calls Lapid’s bluff.

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