Appropriate Reading for Tisha B’Av

Today is Tisha B’Av – the ninth of Av, which is a fast day (24 hours versus those fasts which are only during daylight hours) and commemorates the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem. Many tragic things happened to the Jewish people on this day. I thought that the following links would serve as “appropriate” reading for this day.

The first is a link to lists of all of the terrorist attacks and fatalities in Israel from 1948 until May of 2013. Starting in 2000 and going for the next three years the numbers are hideous. After the Oslo Accords (bringing “peace at last” to Israel) the Israeli government gave a lot of autonomy to the Arabs in Yehuda and Shomron, and kept the IDF out of mostly Arab cities. This loosening of restrictions led directly to Arab terror – here is list of the attacks and victims from 1993 until 2000.  After 2000 when Arafat decided it was to his benefit “go all out” – what was called the second intifada broke out, and the terrorists used the advantage they had to launch even more attacks on Israelis. This included rock throwing, hurling Molotov cocktails, and rioting in the streets. When this did not enlist a reaction from the Israeli government and the IDF, it progressed to suicide bombers. 2002 was a particularly bad year – especially March. I personally remember one week where there were three separate suicide bombers on Israeli busses. I remember feeling as if I couldn’t breathe – just from the feeling of sorrow. After the suicide bomber blew himself up in the Park hotel in Netanya on the first night of Passover, and another terrorist broke into a home in Elon Moreh and killed three members of the Gavish family, Arik Sharon finally called the IDF to launch an attack and go into the Arab cities again to root out the terrorists. After that the number of terrrorist attacks went down to “normal” levels (which would be shocking in any other country). Here is a list of the attacks since 2000, with the names and ages of the victims themselves. The list is heartbreakingly long, and it puts a m0re personal face to the tragedies.

To give you a “taste” here is the listing for July 16, 2001:

July 16, 2001 – Cpl. Hanit Arami, 19, and St.Sgt. Avi Ben Harush, 20, both of Zichron Yaakov, were killed and 11 wounded – 3 seriously – when a bomb exploded in a suicide terrorist attack at a bus stop near the train station in Binyamina, halfway between Netanya and Haifa, at about 19:30 Monday evening. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

This is the listing for a week in March, 2002: (39 killed, 168 injured in one week) Look at the ages here – it boggles the mind.

Mar 27, 2002 – 30 people were killed and 140 injured – 20 seriously – in a suicide bombing in the Park Hotel in the coastal city of Netanya, in the midst of the Passover holiday seder with 250 guests. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The victims: Shula Abramovitch, 63, of Holon; David Anichovitch, 70, of Netanya; Sgt.-Maj. Avraham Beckerman, 25, of Ashdod; Shimon Ben-Aroya, 42, of Netanya; Andre Fried, 47, of Netanya; Idit Fried, 47, of Netanya; Miriam Gutenzgan, 82, Ramat Gan; Ami Hamami, 44, of Netanya; Perla Hermele, 79, of Sweden; Dvora Karim, 73, of Netanya; Michael Karim, 78, of Netanya; Yehudit Korman, 70, of Ramat Hasharon; Marianne Myriam Lehmann Zaoui, 77, of Netanya; Lola Levkovitch, 85, of Jerusalem; Furuk Na’imi, 62, of Netanya; Eliahu Nakash, 85, of Tel-Aviv; Irit Rashel, 45, of Moshav Herev La’et; Yulia Talmi, 87, of Tel-Aviv; St.-Sgt. Sivan Vider, 20, of Bekaot; Ernest Weiss, 79, of Petah Tikva; Eva Weiss, 75, of Petah Tikva; Meir (George) Yakobovitch, 76, of Holon. Chanah Rogan, 92, of Netanya; Zee’v Vider, 50, of Moshav Bekaot; Alter Britvich, 88, and his wife Frieda, 86, of Netanya died of their injuries on April 2-3, 2002. Sarah Levy-Hoffman, 89, of Tel-Aviv died of her injuries on April 7, 2002. Anna Yakobovitch, 78, of Holon died of her injuries on April 11, 2002. Eliezer Korman, 74, of Ramat Hasharon died of his wounds on May 5, 2002. Clara Rosenberger, 77, of Jerusalem died of her wounds on June 25, 2003.

Mar 28, 2002 – Rachel and David Gavish, 50, their son Avraham Gavish, 20, and Rachel’s father Yitzhak Kanner, 83, were killed when a terrorist infiltrated the community of Elon Moreh in Samaria, entered their home and opened fire on its inhabitants. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Mar 29, 2002 – Tuvia Wisner, 79, of Petah Tikva and Michael Orlansky, 70, of Tel-Aviv were killed Friday morning, when a Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the Neztarim settlement in the Gaza Strip. Mar 29, 2002 – Lt. Boaz Pomerantz, 22, of Kiryat Shmona and St.-Sgt. Roman Shliapstein, 22, of Ma’ale Efraim were killed in the course of the IDF anti-terrorist action in Ramallah (Operation Defensive Shield).

Mar 29, 2002 – Rachel Levy, 17, and Haim Smadar, 55, the security guard, both of Jerusalem, were killed and 28 people were injured, two seriously, when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Kiryat Yovel supermarket in Jerusalem. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

Of course, we cannot forget the rocket attacks from Gaza. Here are statistics for the decade between 2000-2010. This link summarizes the terror policies of Hamas in the Gaza strip.

If anyone should think everything is fine now, the road terror is on an upswing. (And we all know what happens when you don’t nip this in the bud – it leads to worse things). Earlier this month one of the stars of the Latma network (Israeli satire group) was traveling in her car with her small child when they were attacked by rock throwers. Thank G-d noone was killed.

Tzom kal to my readers who are fasting, and may we see better things very soon.


The Power of a Song

The following music video “We are the Children of Oslo – 1993” is amazing. For those of you who are familiar with Israeli culture I don’t need to explain – go watch and enjoy. For those not familiar you can go here to see the words and English translation of the original song. The original song tries to squeeze the hearts of Israelis who long for peace (as we all do), but it is used to push the “peace now” agenda by many. The “take-off” explains why this sentimentality can lead to tragedy, as we all saw since 1993.

Tragedy Again

Can you imagine being a volunteer emergency responder getting a call to go to the scene of a horrific terrorist attack and finding that your wife was one of the four killed? That is what happened last night near Beit Hagai.

There are no words. It keeps happening again and again, because the powers that be cannot just admit that there is no chance of making peace with the Arabs. Whenever there are concessions (recently opening roadblocks, and the building freeze from last November) we just get whacked again.

Ten Years Since the Start of the Oslo War

During a time when some Americans are actually debating the idea of allowing a mosque to be built near Ground Zero, it is important to see Islamic terror for what it really is. Unfortunately here in Israel we do not need to “imagine” it – many of our citizens have lost loved ones or have survived attacks themselves. One particularly intense period of Arab terror in Israel was during the years 2000 to 2005, during the Oslo War.

In September 2000, on Rosh Hashana, the Second Intifada (what we call the Oslo War) started. Arabs started riots all over Israel, supposedly in response to Arik Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, although evidence shows that this was planned months previously.  I remember that after the holiday was over the IDF recommended that those living in Judea and Samaria should refrain from leaving their homes for a day or two.  We missed our nephews’ bris in Jerusalem because of it.

This event ushered in a period of Arab terror in Israel that has left an indelible mark on many people’s personal lives, and a scar on the Israeli psyche.

Some “highlights” of the Oslo War:

The beginning – the war started on September 28, 2000. The destruction of Joseph’s Tomb in Shchem (Nablus) occurred on October 7, 2000.  The lynch in Ramallah, on October 12, 2000 – a mob of Arabs literally tore two IDF soldiers apart for the “crime” of driving into Ramallah. The following five years had so many terrorist attacks that the information needs to be organized in a graph. A major terrorist attack that traumatized all of Israel was the massive suicide bombing of the Park Hotel during the Passover seder. (Make sure to scroll down to see the pictures of the mostly elderly victims).

Israel’s response: Fighting back, and taking care of the wounded

Fighting back: After initially quelling the riots that September, the acting Prime Minister of the time, Ehud Barack,  did not formally use the IDF to protect the citizens of Israel, although the intelligence services were always working to give warning when they suspected an attack was coming, and some targeted killings of terrorist leaders were ordered. The country reacted to this relative passivity accordingly, and elected the most hawkish Prime Minister in decades, Arik Sharon. After the massacre of Jews at the Park Hotel in March 2002 Sharon finally used the IDF to go into the Arab cities in Judea and Samaria in what was called Operation Defensive Shield.  (They had so many reserve soldiers volunteer to fight that they had to turn some back). In the following months Sharon did not hesitate to order many targeted killings of terrorist leaders, the most famous being the bombing in July 2002 of the house of  Salah Shihada, the leader of Hamas at the time.

The IDF always continues to hunt the terrorists, even if it takes years to capture them . On September 26, 2007 they captured the last one responsible for the lynch in Ramallah.

Treating the wounded: Due to the unfortunate amount of experience in dealing with traumatic injuries, Israeli doctors and medical staff have become experts in treating mass casualties.  Israel is also very experienced in treating PTSD in both adults and children. Other practical responses to our experience with terror is the redesign of certain public spaces. Bus stops, for example, are now built with “preforated” metal sides and rooves. This design reduces the injuries caused by the shock wave caused by an explosion. (Near where I work they just constructed a school bus stop this way).

Our culture also reflected the mood of the time, and a very popular song of the period was a rendition of “Rachem”. May Hashem hear our prayers so that we never need to go through a time like this again.