There is something absurd in the comparison you draw about the number of those killed. When you ask how it can be that they killed three of our children and we cause the killing of a hundred and fifty, the inference one can draw is that if they were to kill a hundred of our children (for example, by the Qassam rockets that struck schools and kindergartens in Israel that happened to be empty), we would be justified in also killing a hundred of their children.
In other words, it is not the killing itself that troubles you but the number. On the face of it, one could answer you cynically by saying that when there will be two hundred million Jews in the Middle East it will be permissible to think in moral terms about comparing the number of victims on each side. But that is, of course, a debased argument. After all, you, Gideon, who live among the people, know very well that we are not bent on killing Palestinian children to avenge the killing of our children. All we are trying to do is get their leaders to stop this senseless and wicked aggression, and it is only because of the tragic and deliberate mingling between Hamas fighters and the civilian population that children, too, are unfortunately being killed. The fact is that since the disengagement, Hamas has fired only at civilians. Even in this war, to my astonishment, I see that they are not aiming at the army concentrations along the border but time and again at civilian communities.
Gideon Levy responded in today's Haaretz, a response which I stopped reading after this line:
a fundamentalist movement using improper means to fight for a just cause, namely the end of the occupation
You wonder how extreme you have to be to describe Hamas in such kind words. Whatever motivates Levy's ultra left wing sickness, perhaps he should take some time to read Hamas's charter before defining their cause as just:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it
... Unless of course that's what he wants too ... You have to wonder sometimes.
The Piha family spent the weekend in Kochav Yair with Elaad, a good friend of mine from the army. As we ate lunch on Saturday, the phone rang. For a religious family, this is a very rare occurrence. The mom got a fright that it was related to Elaad's youngest brother, who has spent the last two weeks with an elite unit in Gaza. She asked someone to run to the gate to see if three officers were there to notify her of his death. Elaad's sister got very angry, "They wouldn't have called first, they would have come to our house. It's just a wrong number, it happens." Realizing what scared her so much, I responded, "You shouldn't think like that. You're just tempting the evil eye." She looked at me after a glance at Nissim, and said, "You'll be the same way in 18 years."
In my heart, like most Israeli parents, I hope my son won't need to serve in the army; that when he's 18, he'll see a different world, a region at peace. Alas, when Elaad's mom said that sentence, I smiled uncomfortably realizing that my heart's hope had little chance of being more than just that, a hope.
Birthday wishes go out to one of Israel's greatest singers and actors, Yehoram Gaon, who turned 69 in late December. Here is one of my favorite Gaon songs (bar the ones he performed in Ladino, which he's fluent in):
I'm not sure how long this cease fire will last but I am disappointed that it will most likely not include Gilad Shalit, who as of today has spent the last 938 days in captivity.