Darkness and Light

My heart is heavy tonight, with the news that seven more IDF soldiers were killed today, bringing the total count to 27 – including two civilians. On the TV and radio, there are interviews with friends and families of the fallen – some of them fathers already, who leave behind widows and orphans; others, young men who were just starting out on life’s adventure and who have now been cut down and will never have children of their own. And all this, because of a war that could have been avoided, had the international community put as much pressure on the terrorist Hamas government of Gaza to stop its rocket attacks on Israeli civilians as it does on Israel to make more and more concessions which never seem to bring peace any closer. Particularly moving was the funeral of lone soldier, Texas-born Nissim Sean Carmeli, whose parents live in the US. Sean was one of the 13 Golani fighters killed in Gaza on Sunday.  As a lone soldier, there were fears that only a few mourners would attend his funeral. Accompanying the dead to their final resting place is considered a mitzva (a meritorious deed) in Judaism. Members of the Maccabi Haifa football team, of which Sean was an ardent supporter, urged their fans to attend the funeral, a campaign was hastily organised on Facebook, and – according to the report I just heard on TV – 40,000* mourners from all over the country are, at this very moment, accompanying Sean to his final rest.

If I had any lingering doubts as to the necessity of the ground offensive, they are receding with each discovery of a terror tunnel under the houses in the Saja’iyya district of Gaza. Even as I write these words,  the kibbutzim in the Gaza Envelope are on high alert, as there is fear that, once again, terrorists have infiltrated Israel through this vast network of tunnels, many of which have exits no more than 200 metres or so from one or other of the kibbutzim. Only this morning, two teams of terrorists (fifteen  in all)  managed to sneak in near one of the kibbutzim and were confronted by our soldiers, who undoubtedly prevented a major terrorist atrocity.

So much for the darkness. But I don’t want to go to bed in tears. I want to end on an optimistic note. Earlier this evening, I was watching the news. In the top corner of the screen was a Code Red Alert notice for Ashdod and Ashkelon, and at the same time, the newscaster was broadcasting an item about a large group of several hundred new olim who arrived from France yesterday and who, today, moved to their new homes – in Ashdod and Ashkelon. Questioned by journalists if they weren’t afraid, they replied that in France, they were afraid. In France, the rising tide of antisemitism makes them fearful of leaving the house. In France, there is no-one to protect them. Here in Israel, they feel safe. They are not afraid of the rockets. They are not afraid of the war. Here in Israel, we have an army to protect us. And they began to sing Hatikva (The Hope), the Israeli national anthem. This is my people. I am proud to be a part of them.


* UPDATE: I am hearing from other sources that there were “only” 20,000 participants, but even so, that is impressive and heartwarming.



About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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13 Responses to Darkness and Light

  1. Carolyn says:

    You know, it took an awful lot of planning, manpower and time to build those tunnels. Surely the international community must come to see that? It is planned terror on a vast scale! Your last paragraph actually brought tears to my eyes. Ps 122:6

    • Carolyn, I have long ago lost all faith in “the international community”. Where was “the international community” when rockets (far more visible than tunnels) were raining down on the men, women and children of Sderot?
      “The international community” paid for those tunnels with the billions of dollars and euros they poured into supposedly rebuilding the Gazan economy over the last nine years.
      Do you remember all those accusations about Israel depriving Gaza of vital supplies. such as cement for rebuilding?
      “The people of Gaza don’t have cement and construction materials to build the homes Israel destroyed” – Remember?
      Well, here’s why! Because the cement was being used to construct this labyrinth of terror tunnels.

      • Carolyn says:

        I guess I will never ever understand how so many people can want to be taken in so easily!!

      • My late mother, of blessed memory, used to quote this saying: “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool ALL the people All the time.”

        I am beginning to wonder if the last part of that saying is, in fact, correct.

  2. I have lived in France for quite a long time and went to school there. I understand perfectly what motivates these French immigrants: at school during a history class Palestinians were described as victims and Israel as a criminal country and this was part of the official “school program”. Further, the muslim portion of the French population has risen up to, in my opinion, an alarming rate, building an even more hostile culture than originally toward specific groups of people: Jewish, of course, but also more aggressive and condescending toward women for example. I feel lucky that I do not have to live there anymore, even though my new place is far from being heaven.

    • The same thing has been happening in the UK. The hostility of these Muslim immigrant groups extends to the host country in general. I no longer recognise the England where I grew up. And they speak quite openly about how they will, one day soon, turn those countries into Islamic countries. In the UK, they say that the day is not far off when the green flag of Islam will fly over Buckingham Palace. But one isn’t allowed to point this out publicly because that would be considered “hate speech” and you risk being sent to prison for it.

  3. Mary says:

    To us it looks very one sided but I can umderstand the fear of other Muslim Terrorist groups joining Hamas.However killing lots of civilians may not be the right road…Images are very powerful and you seem to have no feelings for the terrified mothers,children,old folks etc with morgues full and hospitals running out of supplies.I wonder if you could pretend for a moment to be one of them and imagine how they feel.I believe this fighting will help Hamas to recruit more supporters amongst the young.Whatever the rights and wrongs we have to think what is best for both sides.It is almpst laughable the sorrow you feel for a few soldiers… in a war soldiers usually die… as I can testify from my own family….

    • Oh, you are so wrong, Mary. I am truly sorry for the terrified mothers, children, old folks etc. I don’t need to pretend for a moment to be one of them. All I need to do is take a 70 minute trip down south to Ashkelon, where my 85 year old aunt has been forced to run and take shelter from a hail of Hamas missiles several times a day (including today) for weeks now. Or to Sderot, slightly nearer the Gaza Strip, where they have 15 seconds (that’s right, 15 seconds) to make it to a bomb shelter or secure room before the rocket lands.
      But you are arguing from the mistaken premise that Israel is deliberately killing civilians. Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel takes every precaution to avoid civilian casualties – to the point of endangering the lives of our own soldiers. We warn them – by phone, by dropping leaflets, etc. to leave the houses where the missile launchers are stashed – but Hamas orders them to stay. So we are faced with killing civilians or leaving the rocket launchers in place, to wreak destruction on our own civilians.

      “It is almpst laughable the sorrow you feel for a few soldiers…” That you should find my grief laughable says a lot more about you than it does about me, Mary.

      “we have to think what is best for both sides”
      Well, tell me Mary – how would you have put a stop to the scores of rockets Hamas have been shooting at us? Asking them politely to stop obviously wasn’t enough.

      • Mary says:

        Well,I have to say I don’t know what you can do now having got into this since assuming Hamas killed the three young lads on the West Bank in early June.That was a crime of the worst sort but by using it to re-arrest many recently freed prisoners would of course create anger.What would Abraham say to his poor suffering children?I grieve deeply for all of you.Is there any solution?It’s all the fault of Britain who divided up the land

      • You are mistaken on at least four counts here, Mary. First of all, the ex-prisoners who were re-arrested, were re-arrested for violating the terms of their release. Secondly, if you are assuming that this was the reason for Hamas firing rockets from the Gaza Strip – wrong again! They never stopped firing rockets, since the last ceasefire! You just didn’t hear about them in the West, because the number of rockets fired was much smaller, and, of course, because Israel showed restraint and did not shoot back.
        And thirdly – even without Israel’s re-arresting those ex-prisoners (not all of them, by the way, or even all that many, just a handful of more than a thousand whom Israel was blackmailed into releasing in return for the kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit) Hamas would have found an excuse to escalate, because what they really want is to have the (perfectly legal) siege of Gaza lifted so as to be able to import even greater numbers of weapons. Why do you think they built all those tunnels, (with the cement that they claimed they didn’t have for re-building homes, schools and hospitals)? Why do you think they stockpiled thousands of rockets?
        Finally, Britain did not divide up the land. While Britain certainly was at fault – for violating the terms of the Mandate that was entrusted to her after WW1, by severely restrictng Jewish immigration – it was the General Assembly of the United Nations who divided up the land. Unless, of course, you refer to the arbitrary way in which Britain sliced off 77% of the original territory of Palestine and handed it over to the Hashemites, thereby creating Transjordan, later known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

  4. Chrissie says:

    I don’t know about that, Shimona. I think there’s a willful suspension of disbelief among those who ignorantly subscribe to the Palestinian narrative. It’s so “cool” to join the majority in vilifying all that Israel is and does, but no real knowledge attendant. We few who DO remain informed of the realities of the Palestinian/Arab agenda know that while the Gazans are no victims, Israel isn’t perfect either. I have no problem calling a wrong decision made by the Israeli leadership “wrong”…but those who subscribe to the Palestinian/Gazan story of woe and oppression see nothing but what they want to see, and little of that is truth.

    It IS frustrating to read the liberal news outlets’ trumpeting of Gazan losses while continuing to ignore how they are self-inflicted, largely. I noticed yesterday that the milquetoast UN had once again “called on” Israel to withdraw and cease” their offensive (not the UN’s word)…my kneejerk reaction was to shout, to the cats, “Where the Sam Hill is the denunciation of North Korea’s systematic starvation of it’s people? Or Russia’s aggressive push into the Ukraine? Or Syria’s mass murder of it’s own citizens? Or…or….?” It’s clear that the sole occupation of the UN is to periodically rain denunciation, pronouncement and adjuration down upon the heads of Israelis. What’s worse is that we, by our taxpayer’s dollars, actually FUND this hypocrisy.

    I grieve with you. I’ve been downcast since the murder of those three young men. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

    • I fear you may be right. The usual reaction of the anti-Israel crowd is simply to refuse to listen to anything that counters their false narrative. There is none so blind as he who will not see. Anyone who tries to propose an opposing view, however politely, is shouted down and contemptuously branded a “hasbarist”. This is the method of the Loony Left student groups in the UK and in the US, it is also the method of rabid anti-Israel bloggers such as the contemptible Richard Silverstein.

    • Carolyn says:

      Very well said, Chrissie!

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