For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Because of time restraints, this will be short. But I wanted to do at least a basic update on the situation here, with more hopefully to follow before long.
After a three day period of relative quite, matters have heated up again. In the past 48 hours, there have been salvos of mortars and rockets coming from Gaza and aimed at Israel's south. We're talking about dozens of rockets, including Kassams and Grad Katyushas -- with some 20 shot during the night last night.
Beersheva, Ashkelon, Sderot, Ofakim, Netivot and other towns in the region have been targeted. One baby was slightly injured and one house suffered serious damage.
The Iron Dome defense system has taken out some of the rockets, but the terrorists launching them have attempted to overwhelm the system by sending a large number at the same time. There are two batteries of the Iron Dome currently in place and a third is scheduled for installation.
Israel has resumed air strikes, but of a limited nature. It's important to ask why -- why the limited nature? Reports are that Hamas is trying to restrain the other militant groups that are doing the actual launching of rockets, and I suspect this would be the answer: To give things a chance to quiet down again.
Islamic Jihad, which had just declared intention of increasing attacks has now announced a new cease fire (new?) brokered by the UN and Egypt.
Israeli officials say the response will be stepped up if attack continues.
As to Hamas not being the most radical of the "militant" forces in Gaza, and perhaps (so it is claimed) not entirely in control, I offer these releases:
The Popular Resistance Committees, says the IDF, are "supported, subsidized and trained by the Hamas terrorist organization."
All of this raises very serious questions regarding the wisdom of a "ceasefire" and cutting Hamas any slack.
It ain't gonna get better and stands to get worse!
Right now, there is great vigilance by the IDF on the border with the Sinai, out of concern that there might be another attack involving infiltration into Israel.
With regard to this, Defense Secretary Barak is talking about allowing a real build-up of forces by the Egyptians in the Sinai -- helicopters, thousands of troops, armored vehicles but no tanks -- so that terrorist forces can be taken out. Barak himself admits that this reflects short-term vision -- dealing with the terrorists now without sufficient consideration for what it may mean down the road to have Egyptian forces, who may be ambivalent to Israel at best, at our border. Egypt has indicated it will not permit Israeli forces into the Sinai to pursue terrorists. All together, the situation between Israel and Egypt right now is shaky and amorphous.
See an article about this and commentary by Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA here:
Not for the first time, it occurs to me that Barak is an idiot. MK Speaker Ruby Rivlin is saying that Barak may require Knesset approval because he would be over-riding the terms of the treaty with Egypt, which calls for a demilitarized Sinai.
The doctor's strike is over. The deal, which is for eight years, with one year retroactive, is said to be good for doctors and for improvement of the national health system.
Observed Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"The results of the negotiations proved that it is possible to bring about real and responsible change without breaking the budget and shaking up the economy."
In my next posting I hope to look at additional potential ramifications of the PA bid at the UN.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"