I had some coffee, or to be precise, a hot choclate yesterday morning with a good mate. We discussed the matzav (situation in Hebrew) and a host of other topics on Emek Refaim, one of the main streets in Jerusalem. Cars, tourists, Israelis ... Unless you're in the South, life goes on as usual, as if nothing really is going on. What war exactly?
I was talking to one of the older folks at synagogue yesterday, and jokingly remarked, "Have they drafted you yet?" He smiled and replied, "I got drafted in 1958, fought with Golani in '67 and '73 so I'm done with wars." As we briefly discussed the different reality for a soldier back 'then', he remarked, "I fought, my kid has fought and now my grandchild too?"
It's difficult to respond to this, but most of us accept it is the reality we live in currently. Will it change? I hope so ...
As Tals & I watched the 8 o'clock news last night, a whole segment was dedicated to the thousands of reservists called up on Tzav 8 (emergency call up). It reassured me of how our boys once again answered the call of duty with few questions asked. From the first time father of a 2 month old ("It's worrying but I have to be here"), to a confident youngster ("Bring on Hamas") to the old timer ("My wife told me I can get out but this is my duty"), the stories of these regular citizens showed an incredible aspect of our society. I'm proud to be amongst the few who don't shirk their responibility to this country ... Those willing to take an extended (& often times dangerous) break from their family and professional life to defend their country.
For a similar story in Haaretz, click here.
A simple, yet 'to the point', article about the war courtesy of Jeffrey Goldberg:
If someone was sending rockets on my house where my daughters were sleeping at night, I would do everything to stop it, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.
These aren't my words -- they're Barack Obama's. But I attach myself to this sentiment. Obama said this in July, after visiting the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Visits to Sderot will do that for you -- make you see things clearly. For what it's worth, this is how I see what's happening in Gaza: In 2005, the Israeli government acceded to the longstanding Arab demand to withdraw its settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip. Almost as soon as the Israeli withdrawal was completed, Hamas and other Islamist factions in Gaza began firing rockets at Israeli civilians living in towns and kibbutzim inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel. Sometimes -- and I've seen this with my own eyes -- Hamas rocketeers fired on Israel from atop the ruins of the abandoned Jewish settlements.
No country in the world could afford to ignore such attacks. And no country would. An elected government, such as Israel's, has a basic, overriding responsibility -- to protect its citizens from the organized violence of their enemies. Of course, it can do this in part by negotiating with its enemies (assuming its enemies recognize Israel's right to life) but its immediate mission must be to stop the violence, which is what Israel is now trying to do. Whether it succeeds or not is an open question (It is Hamas' indifference to Palestinian life, not Jewish life, that makes it a formidable foe, in the manner of Hezbollah), but Israel must try to use all of the tools of national power to stop attacks on its citizens. Otherwise it is simply not a serious nation, one that does not deserve sovereignty.