Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Parents around the world are familiar with the child’s fear of the dark, the fear of monsters under the bed or in the closet.

In most cases this fear is irrational and can be banished by simply turning on the lights.

In Israel it’s the parents that are afraid for their children. The monsters are all too real. They burst out of nowhere, fully equipped with weapons and intent to kill. To them, the death of children would be a great accomplishment, a reason to celebrate.

You can’t see them until they suddenly break out of the ground and begin moving to their target. Your children. They could appear anywhere, even your own backyard.

Turning on the light doesn’t make them go away…

Hamas terrorists have already used their attack tunnels to kill Israelis. The IDF has uncovered numerous tunnel openings inside Israel and they are currently on a mission to uncover and destroy the tunnels in Gaza. The tunnels are well hidden and they are booby trapped with explosives making this search and destroy mission life threatening for IDF soldiers.

Each tunnel has numerous openings and the entire length of each one must be destroyed completely otherwise they can simply be repaired and made ready for the next attack.

Israelis livingmonsters under the bed near the border with Gaza have been reporting for many months that they heard digging under their homes. They were told that they were paranoid, that nothing was wrong, what could be digging under their homes?

Now we know.

We’ve seen the tunnels being used. Our soldiers are dying trying to destroy all the tunnels from Gaza to Israel. We’ve turned on the light and can see the monsters very clearly.

Horrible? There’s more. Israelis who live on the northern border are also reporting digging sounds under their homes. Hezbollah has always been the role model for Hamas – they do everything bigger, stronger and with more precision than Hamas. If Hamas has terror attack tunnels, it is only logical to think that Hezbollah does as well. Theirs will probably be bigger, wider and harder to find. We already know that they have many more missiles than Hamas does. The only question is when will they decide to use them? Will the terrorists burst out of the ground? Attack us from the sky? Maybe it will all come at once…

What would you do if this was happening in your country? To your family?

Thank you Naftali Bennett for this clear and straightforward explanation of the situation.

If only the world would wake up and demand and end to the terrorism that is endangering the lives of Israelis and Gazans alike.

At the demonstration people told me, “Don’t call me an Arab Christian; I’m an Arabic speaking Israeli Christian. We’re not Arabs.”

Words matter, semantics matter. This self-definition is both radical and revolutionary.

Most Christians in Israel are Arabs and traditionally they side with Arab Moslems. Some of the most infamous terrorists are Arab Christians… When Lenny and I saw the ad for the rally of Arab Christians protesting ethnic cleansing in Arab countries and in support of Israel we decided to attend.  These, we thought, are people we want to stand with.

What we found at the rally was much more moving and inspiring than anything we imagined.

It took place at the UNESCO Square for Peace & Tolerance in Haifa.

A week before there had been a very different demonstration in the same place, with hundreds of screaming, rabidly anti-Israel Arabs. It was necessary for riot police to contain the violence of the attendees, deal with threats and curses, keep them from blocking traffic – a number of arrests were made to the music of cheers from the crowd who saw those battling the policemen as “heroic”. The crowd clapped and sang, in Arabic, the song of Israel’s enemies: “With courage and blood we will free Palestine.”

The demonstration in support of Christians was very different. Approximately 130 people attended.

Christian rally in Haifa - LenCam

Photo by LenCam ©

They were quiet, holding signs and waving flags. Israeli flags, alongside their church flags. Some of the signs questioned the world’s silence on the torture and mass murders of Christians in the Arab-Moslem world. Other signs thanked Israel for providing Christians a safe haven, freedom of religion and equal rights. Some of the attendees had their faces painted with a cross and a Star of David.

Christian rally in Haifa2 - LenCam

Photo by LenCam ©

Arab residents of that neighborhood watched the demonstrators from the opposite side of the street. Both Christian and Moslem Arabs glowered at the Christians openly showing their support of Israel. Dozens of riot police watched from the side, ready to put a stop to any violence that might occur (unlike the previous week, this time the riot police did not have much to do and they spent their time talking to their friends and playing with their phones).

The demonstration officially began with a prayer led by Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest. He and everyone in the crowd prayed for the persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq and for the IDF soldiers currently fighting Hamas terrorism, risking their lives to protect all Israeli citizens. They prayed for the fallen soldiers calling them, “Our soldiers, our heroes.”

Father Gabriel Nadaf - Christian rally in Haifa - LenCam

Photo by LenCam ©

Father Nadaf and the other speakers spoke about their solidarity with Israel, how thankful they are that Israel provides them with freedom and protection. They denounced the rabidly anti-Israel Arab MK’s, saying that those hateful people do not represent them.  They explained that in the Middle East “goodwill gestures,” like agreeing to ceasefires while still under attack and offering land for peace is interpreted as weakness; Israel’s hyper-decency actually ends up encouraging the terrorists and endangering the people of Israel. They spoke of the need to fight Islamic Jihad in all its forms and how Israel must defeat Hamas before the threat increases. They reiterated their support for the IDF and prayers for the safety of the soldiers while they get the job done.

It takes great courage to stand up and say these things in public. Father Nadaf, as a prominent religious figure and head of a community put himself in danger by being the spokesman for these ideas. It is very telling that although the police were there to protect the demonstrators, Father Nadaf had his own private bodyguard, literally watching his back.

Father Nadaf told me that the problem of the Christians is fear and that they had been silent. That they didn’t stand up and speak out for what is right, allowing terrorism to encroach further and further. Now, he said, it is dangerous to speak out, “But if we do not, we will be swallowed whole.”

At one point a Christian Arab young woman who had enlisted in the IDF showed up in her uniform. The Arabs watching the demonstration started shouting at her, calling her a traitor, saying that she should remember that she is a Palestinian, not an Israeli. At this point the police intervened to protect the young woman from the angry crowd.

Semantics matter. The people who define themselves as Arabic speaking Israeli Christians do so to differentiate themselves, to show that for them, the Christian values are more important than Arab culture. They call themselves Israeli, not Palestinian and they are thankful for the freedoms this country has granted them. Those who call themselves “Palestinian” are not pointing out a cultural-historical fact – they are making a political statement.

This rally was small but it gave me hope. This was the first time Lenny and I had heard Christians in Israel stand in public and loudly announce their solidarity with Israel. Father Nadaf is a courageous man who has suffered a lot for advocating support of Israel and full integration in to Israeli society (enlisting in to the IDF is a major first step in this direction). The people he leads are a voice of sanity, of true moderation and plain common decency that is all too rare in the Middle East and for that matter, in other places around the world as well.

People that want to live in a modern western culture, that uphold values of morality, protecting the weak, denounce terrorism and murder and appreciate the people and country that provide them with protection and freedom are people we can stand with.

(Is that too much to ask?)

God bless Father Nadaf and all those who believe as he does. I wish the safety and freedom of Israel could be extended to all the abused Christians throughout the Middle East. The atrocities occurring seem to interest very few (maybe because Jews cannot be blamed?). The world must not remain silent.

As the terrorists sometimes say: “First the Saturday people (i.e. Jews) and then the Sunday people (Christians)”. Just because you are not Jewish or you live far away doesn’t mean you will be immune from these problems.

I hope that people everywhere will hear Father Nadaf’s words and not allow fear to prevent them from standing up for what is right. It is the silence of good people that allows terrible things to happen to us all.

I hope to hear of more and more “Arabic speaking Israeli Christians”. Their voice could be the game changer for the entire region.

Erez Sagi

I just came back from Erez’s funeral. He is one of 10 soldiers killed yesterday. Each one was a son, brother, father, friend.

We did not choose this war. We do not want it. The only thing we want is to live free in our own country.

 

While Hamas terrorists are strapping on suicide vests to confront IDF soldiers in Gaza, the soldiers of Israel are wrapping themselves in the love and gratitude of their people.

All over Israel businesses are collecting gift packages for soldiers. There are signs in the streets promising, “We will be strong at home so that you can win on the battleground.” Israeli singers, celebrities (including some left-wing ideologues) are visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals – sitting with them, singing to them, hugging them. Thousands of Israelis are visiting the wounded, just to say thank you. More are attending funerals of soldiers they never knew for the same reason – to say thank you.

Children are sending their drawings and blessings to soldiers. One group of soldiers plastered their tank with the drawings they received saying that this will be the source of their strength.

Tank plastered in blessings from children

A different soldier reported that on a drawing he received, there was a phone number so he called, to say thank you. He spoke to the family who was very moved to hear from this unknown soldier. Then he spoke to the little girl who drew the picture. She told him: “You are there protecting me right?” He answered: “Yes, I am here to keep you safe”.  She replied: “Please do something for me? Please keep yourself safe.” These are the children of Israel…

Israelis do not love the battle. No one wants to fight but when left with no choice, we fight.

The price is heartbreakingly high.

The international media doesn’t talk about the families of the soldiers who died protecting this nation. They don’t talk about the mother that knowing in her heart that her son would be killed, taped their last phone conversation so that she could continue to hear his voice after he was gone. The media doesn’t show you the brother who, certain his brother was killed, sat in the window waiting for the army representatives to knock on their door. You don’t see how this brother, seeing the army representatives coming up the road, flew out of the front door, racing towards them screaming: “Go away, I don’t want to hear what you have to say! I don’t want it to be true!”

No one reports on our love or our heartache.

I have never seen any compassion in the media for our wounded. No one considers the injuries that will affect many for the rest of their lives. No one thinks of the horrors they have witnessed – friends dying in their arms, people blowing up in front of them… No one marvels that those who have had these experiences remain humane, moral and decent. It is however, something to marvel at.

I wish the world would see.

I wish people would see the wounded soldier, with both eyes bandaged, playing piano in the middle of the hospital. I wish people around the world could see the faces of the people watching him from a distance, to not disturb. (Since when do Israelis keep their distance or give anyone space?). What happened to him? Will his eyes be ok? Will he be able to see again? I don’t know. I know the music he was playing was very beautiful, full of regret and pain (he was playing Passenger’s song: “Let Her Go”). I know that seeing this, I felt exactly like the female soldier watching him. Her face twisted in anguish and tears streaming from her eyes, she turned away from the wounded soldier-musician so that he wouldn’t hear her crying.

Why doesn’t anyone want to see??

No matter what is said about us, the people of Israel are extraordinarily loving and kind. We support and sooth each other with love. We even have compassion for our would-be murderers.  

In contrast, Hamas has hatred for the people of Israel, just because we exist. Worse, they have no love for their own people. They raise their children to hate and teach them that martyrdom is the greatest thing they can achieve. All children should be wrapped in love. Those who are not should be helped, protected.

I wish the world would see that too.

Israelis argue, complain and criticize. A lot. Israelis are loud, nosey, opinionated and brutally honest. Being polite or diplomatic is not our strong suite.

Living in Israel is not easy. Our “neighborhood” is not nice – this current war with Hamas is just one example… In addition, Israelis themselves can be very difficult.

So what’s the point? Why bother?

It’s very simple (and yet very complicated). The answer is LOVE.

Love your neighbor as yourself, as if he or she was you.  I’m sure this sounds like a nice theory to many but just that – a theory. In Israel it’s not theory, it is reality. It’s not something conscious and it’s not taught in school. It’s just considered “doing the right thing”, “being a good person”.

Israel is like a family. Brothers may beat each other up, may not even speak to each other but when one is bullied by an outsider… watch out! Our society is comprised of a wide variety of people, many who normally don’t mix together but when there is a need, a crisis, there is always someone there to help. No one in Israel makes a big deal out of it; they simple call it “the beautiful Israeli.”

During this war we are seeing an enormous outpouring of love. We are accused by the world of hatefulness and aggression. Ironically the truth is very different. Many Israelis are speaking out against those amongst us who have been intolerant and used hateful speech in demonstrations or social media. The only thing not tolerated is – intolerance.

Over and over thousands of strangers are showing up at the funerals of soldiers who died protecting our nation. The wounded in the hospitals are flooded with visitors, strangers who come by, just to say thank you. The soldiers in the field are receiving so many gift packages that some have taken the sweets they received to children in the Oncology Ward in the near-by hospital. There are many stories of kindness going around Israeli social media – unfortunately these are not seen by the rest of the world.

This image is one among many. “Just” a little scenario that happened between strangers.

Stranger shields father and newborn with his own body

Stranger shields father and newborn with his own body

It happened when an air-raid siren went off, warning of incoming missiles. When this happens while you are driving you are supposed to stop your car, get out and see if there is a building close enough to hide in. If not, the instructions are to move away from the car and wherever possible lie down on the ground (preferably next to a wall), covering your head with your hands. Yes, the Iron Dome provides fairly good protection from incoming missiles however it is not fail proof, some missiles do get through. Also, stopping missiles mid-air means blowing them up – the pieces still have to come down somewhere.  Boiling hot chunks of metal falling from the sky can cause a lot of damage, even if they don’t explode.

In the scene here a few people got out of their cars. A woman (who took the photo) and, from another car, a man with a newborn baby.  A few seconds later another man joined them. He saw that the first man was holding a tiny baby so he covered them with his body, shielding them from shrapnel that might fly on them. They didn’t know each other. They weren’t friends or relatives and they probably won’t have any contact with each other in the future. The man who tried to protect the father and his baby wasn’t doing a job and wasn’t looking to be rewarded. He just did what he thought was right, what he would want someone to do for him, for his family.

That is love.

If someone made such a selfless gesture elsewhere they would be lauded as a national hero. Here it’s no big deal, just another nice story. In Israel this is normal…

Israel doesn’t survive because we are good fighters. Israel survives because of LOVE.

That is our strength.

Wafa Sultan clearly explains the chaos in the world today.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 288 other followers