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.

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.

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