Tag Archives: Southern Israel

A Terrifying Question

photo-8This is a post I was reluctant to write because it poses a question I am so hesitant to ask. Let me start by saying this. To my brothers and sisters in Israel, if your nerves are on edge and the suggestion of something terrifying will be unpleasant for you to read, please stop reading this now and move on to something else.

It’s the question people are afraid to ask, but needs to be addressed. Now that we know of the terror tunnels that exist from Gaza to Southern Israel, how do we know that similar tunnels are not being built to Israel’s north and to Israel’s east? The news out of Israel now is that recently captured Hamas terrorists revealed a plot to send terrorists trough these tunnels this coming Rosh Hashana, just under 2 months from now and murder and kidnap as many Israelis as possible. Israel is surrounded by people committed to her destruction and to think that it is not at least a reasonable possibility that there are tunnels on other borders would be irresponsibly naive. I posed the question to an Israeli family member of mine and his response was quick and succinct. He basically believes the Israeli government now assumes, as does he, that terror tunnels are being or have been built on other borders as well.

Let me be very clear. I am proposing a question, not providing verified information. But knowing the barbarism of the enemy, and understanding that the enemy is on more than just one front, to ignore the possibility could be devastating.

It must be emphasized and can’t be said enough, that despite the horrific tragedy of the kidnapping and murder of the 3 Yeshiva boys, their death has come to have incredible meaning. Their murders triggered this campaign that discovered this evil plot to kill thousands of Jewish residents of southern Israel. The lives saved by their deaths is something quite astounding and makes their memory even more special to everyone.

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Who am I to advocate Force?

idfI often feel guilty when I come out in favor of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) taking the harshest of approaches.  After all, who am I to say this?  I live in New York.  I do not live in Israel, I do not live in Judea, Samaria, or Southern Israel.  I do not have children being called up to fight and risking their life to do the things I comfortably encourage from a safe air-conditioned home in the United States.

Who am I?  I am a human being, I am a Jew, and I am the son of Holocaust survivors.  I have made every attempt in my life, both in practicality and in theory to learn lessons from the past.  Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  If there is one lesson I have learned, and I truly believe it may be the most important lesson of our time, one that could mean the difference between the death or survival of modern civilization, it’s that we can not apply rational standards to irrationally thinking people.  Do I believe the answer is to wipe out anyone who lives by those irrational standards?  Of course not.  Do I believe re-education of the greatest kind is needed. I do.  I also believe that sometimes the only way to begin that re-education is by a show of force of the most enormous proportions.

Two of the most civilized nations today, and strong American allies, are Germany and Japan.  Go back 70 years ago to the year 1944 and no one would have thought that to be realistic.  Yet the world was saved, at least temporarily by the drastic change in direction initiated by the allied forces basically pounding the two nations into submission.   Many people who wanted nothing more but to live a decent life died in the process, on both sides, but the fact remains that with the strong force brought on to both of these nations, history was changed for the better.

We face a similar threat today, at least as far as its potential danger, even if the landscape is very different.  Many people such as myself, who believe a powerful approach is needed against our enemies, are getting criticized for our viewpoints.  “Jews don’t act like that, the enemies do”, is one of the things I have heard.  To that I reply, yes, in the past we did not.  But we also say Never Again.

I find the murder of any innocent person to be tragic.  But I also believe in the phrase coined by our ancient Rabbis in Ethics of our Fathers, “im ain ani li mi li”, which translated into English means, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me.”   As a Jew, my sad assumption is that as a collective, there will be no one. There are many righteous people who have and would sacrifice their lives to protect innocent people, Jew and non-Jew alike, but there are no nations or groups who will look after the Jewish people any better than their fellow Jews will.

So although I feel somewhat guilty for sitting in comfort and speaking in favor of force by the IDF, as a Jew who has learned from history I would feel more guilty if I did not.