Sunday, December 31, 2017

Gaza Statistics

A dear friend emailed this list to me..

Please feel free to share!

As the Operation Cast Lead reaches its 10th day, the international pressure on Israel is mounting.
All of the recipients of this mail in the 5 continents are probably approached to explain , to analyze and to comment on the situation . Attached statistical data that can help you understand the magnitude of the events evolving these days. I suggest you send these statistics to anyone who could make good use of them
Israel wishes for a speedy resolution of the War and a peaceful settlement

On Dec. 27, Israel began "Operation Cast Lead" to stop Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza from continuing its years-long campaign of attacking Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars. Following are facts and figures to help you relate to Israel's defensive efforts in Gaza:Iran-backed Hamas Rocket, Mortar Attacks and Nuclear Developments 9,400+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since 2003. [1] 3,200+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza in 2008 alone. [2] 6,500+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. [3]543+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israeli territory during the ceasefire from June 19 to Dec. 19, 2008. [4]28 deaths caused by rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel since 2001. The dead include Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers. Since the ceasefire ended, Iran-backed Palestinian groups in Gaza fired rockets and mortars that killed an Israeli-Arab construction worker and a mother of four who was seeking shelter in a bus station as a rocket warning siren sounded. [5]1,000+ people in Israel injured from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since 2001, including Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers. Since the ceasefire, 44 Israelis have been injured and 200 have been treated for shock. [6]20,000 Hamas troops Israel is targeting as part of "Operation Cast Lead." [7]750,000 number of Israeli civilians Hamas is tar geting and can reach. [8]15 seconds Israelis have to get to a bomb shelter once a warning siren has sounded. [9]8 years that Israel has been hit by rockets and mortars from Gaza [10]3mosques in Gaza used as weapons, ammunitions and explosives depots that were struck by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the operation in Gaza. [11]4UN Security Council resolutions passed since 2006 to try to stop Iran from enriching uranium. [12]5,000+number of centrifuges operating in Iran to enrich uranium, the material used to produce a nuclear weapon. [13]
Israel's Humanitarian Aid to Gaza 179truckloads of humanitarian aid that have been delivered through Israeli crossings into Gaza since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, including basic food commodities, medication, medical supplies, donations of governments and blood units.106additional truckloads of humanitarian expected to arrive in Gaza on Jan. 31 [14] 6,500tons of aid transported into Gaza at the request of international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead. The World Food Program informed Israel that it will cease shipment of food to Gaza because warehouses are at full capacity, with enough food to last two weeks. [15]
What Israel Gave Up in Hopes of Peace - Gaza Withdrawal Aug. 2005100%proportion of the Gaza Strip evacuated and handed over to thePalestinians. [16]300square miles of the West Bank evacuated. [17]21 Israeli settlements uprooted in the Gaza Strip. [18]4 Israeli settlements uprooted in the West Bank. [19]48graves uprooted in Gaza's former Gush Katif Cemetery, including six graves of area residents murdered by terrorists. [20]9,000 approximate number of Israelis, including 1,700 families, who lived in Gaza and the northern West Bank. All of them were moved out as part of the withdrawal. [21]38 synagogues dismantled in the Gaza Strip. [22]5,000school-age children who had to find new schools. [23]42 daycare centers that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [24]36 kindergartens that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [25]7 elementary schools that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [26]3high schools that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [27]320 mobile homes, ordered by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to serve as temporary housing for settlers. [28]45,000Israeli soldiers and policemen who participated in the Gaza withdrawal. [29]$1.7 billionthe approximate cost to the Israeli government for the withdrawal initiative. [30]166 Israeli farmers who were moved out of Gaza. [31]800 cows, which comprised the second largest dairy farm in Israel, moved out of Gaza's Gush Katif community. [32]$120 million value of flowers and produce exported annually from Gush Katif and lost following the evacuation. [33]1zoo, the "Katifari," that housed hundreds of animals and was moved. [34]10,000 people who were employed in agriculture and related industries in Gush Katif, including 5,000 Palestinians. [35]60% proportion of Israel's cherry tomato exports that came from the Gaza Strip. Israel's withdrawal from Gaza extinguished this economic resource. [36]3.5 million square meters (almost 1,000 acres) of greenhouses abandoned in Gaza. [37]70 percentage of Israel's organic produce grown in Gaza – another economic resource lost in the evacuation. [38]60 percentage of herbs exported from Israel that came from Gush Katif. [39]15 percentage of Israel agricultural exports that originated in Gaza – exports lost following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. [40]$360,000 expected average compensation amount Israel expected to pay to relocate each family. [41]$870 million approximate cost for Israel to facilitate the resettlement of former West Bank and Gaza residents elsewhere in the country. [42]$500 million amount of money Israel's security establishment spent to relocate Israel Defense Forces bases outside the Gaza Strip and build new border crossing facilities. [43]
After Israel's evacuation from Gaza…430,000 West Bank Palestinians able to move freely within and between Palestinian-controlled areas. [44]1 Israeli remaining in Gaza. Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit was abducted from Israel on June 25, 2006 by Hamas in a bloody cross-border raid in which the terrorists also killed two IDF soldiers and wounded four others. [45]1.2 million Arabs who remained full and legal citizens of Israel. All Israeli citizens – Christians, Muslims, and Jews – have freedom of speech, religion, press, and the right to vote. [46]1.3 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip many of them in Palestinian Authority-controlled refugee camps, who live under their own leaders. [47]820,000 Jewish refugees forced to flee without their belongings from Arab countries between 1947 and 1949, and who have never been compensated by Arab governments for their losses. [48]650,000 Arab refugees who left Israel from 1947-1949 and still need Palestinian leaders who will end terrorism and the culture of hate. [49]
Israel's withdrawal from four northern West Bank settlements created an area more than twice the size of Gaza's 140 square miles under Palestinian control and devoid of any Israeli presence. [50]

Monday, July 14, 2014

Protecting Our Edges

Protective Edge is the name of Israel’s newest attempt to limit the effect of militant Islamic terrorism on her citizens.  It begs the question, why are we so intent on taking the defensive?  Why are we hesitant to be the aggressor, when clearly we have the military strength to end the conflict?

Torah does give us many examples of standing against our enemies and defending ourselves.

Judges 7:9 “That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand.”

Psalm 110:1 A Psalm of David. The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!

Nehemiah 4:14 "And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’”

We don’t hesitate because we’re weak, or naive.  It’s not because we’re afraid of what the world might say.  The world, at large, doesn’t think highly of us no matter what choice we make.  So we must make our choices based on our culture and who we are.

Who then are we?  We are the ONLY Jewish state in the world.  We must act in accordance with the tenants of our culture, and yes of our faith.  G-d called us and we answered.  He gave us a choice and we accepted and pledged ourselves, in all our future generations, to adhere to His laws.  I use the present tense “we” to describe that incident at HarSinai because I do truly believe that somehow all of us were present in some manner to either accede or decline that invitation.   (Granted there are many Jews who don’t agree with me, perhaps think I am deluded or my views archaic.  Still, I’m entitled to my views.)  When we accepted those laws we took upon ourselves a burden to act appropriately before G-d.  It really doesn’t matter then, in the long run, what the rest of the world thinks.

A clear tenant we take from our culture is that life is sacred.  All life is sacred.  It is a gift from G-d to all His creation.  So when we are faced with this dreadful circumstance of living in a neighborhood where everyone else believes our life is forfeit simply because we are Jews, well in the way of Tevye the dairyman, ‘tis a troublement.

The Torah tells us not to rejoice in our enemy’s downfall.  Why is that?!  How can that even be reasonable when that enemy wants to take our very lives?!  Ah, it is because life is a GIFT, not an entitlement.  We must all stand humbly before the Creator and remember, whether our neighbors believe it or not, that G-d gave them the same gift of life that He gave us.  We must stop and consider carefully our actions in light of this understanding.
Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your G-d am holy.”

Our burden, as Jews, is to act appropriately before the world so that they might see G-d’s holiness.  It’s true that most of the world has a hard time recognizing G-d’s holiness.  Whether they recognize it has no bearing on our obligation.  Our people have survived for thousands of years, against all odds, in defiance of all logic, because G-d set us apart.  Isaiah 42:6 “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations.”  This is our purpose and why our nation has survived.  Who or what would we be if we abandoned this task?

So, the sad news I must share with you, my fellow Jews; my fellow Israelis, is that we must struggle every day.  When we face our enemies we must be filled with sorrow for their choices.  When we defend ourselves we must be cautious to avoid taking more lives than necessary to defend our own.  We must do everything in our power to protect the life of that 6 year old Arab boy sitting in his living room above the cache of weapons his father has stored in the basement.  We must be strong of heart, and fierce in our determination to do the most right thing, in the most right way, before G-d that we can do.

It will not make sense to the world.  Our Arab neighbors will wrongly interpret this as weakness.  But we know that it takes more strength and courage to make these choices.  We know that this path is much harder than bombing Gaza into dust.  We know that at the end of the day we can not only look at ourselves in the mirror, we can stand before G-d.

May we not give G-d any reason not to stand with us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Soldier Son

I wish you could meet our soldier son.  He is the most amazing person.  Of course all mothers know their children are amazing.  I have 5 other children and they are all amazing.  Each of them, at different times, have stepped out and made some jaw dropping statement, or accomplished some mind boggling deed that has left me, as their parent, in absolute awe.  So today it is his turn, my soldier son.

I feel the need to somehow share this with the rest of the world, not to say – be proud of me, or be proud of him.  I want the world to see the humility of this soldier and thereby come to understand our conflict in a better light.

While the world is focused on soccer and the World Cup it seems very few are aware of what’s going on in our small nation.  I live in Israel.  This summer has been very dramatic for us.  A few weeks ago three yeshiva students aged 16, 16 and 19 were kidnapped and brutally murdered by Arabs.  After their bodies were discovered a young Arab boy was also kidnapped and murdered, this time by Jews.  Horrible, it’s all wrong.  Children should never be targets like this.  Our entire nation mourns these deaths.  We as a nation condemn all the murderers, no matter their heritage or faith.
How do we mourn these deaths?  We go to hear speakers and biblical teachings, we visit the grieving families, we do works of charity – and give to charities in the children’s names, we pray – a lot.  How do the Arabs mourn death?  Well they rioted, threw Molotov cocktails at police, threw stones at passing cars, destroyed shops and the light rail system in their own neighborhoods while chanting “Death to Jews”.  They actually celebrated the murder of the three Yeshiva boys, passing out candy and teaching their children to hold up a three finger salute as some sort of victory sign.  Then they started shooting rockets at Israel.

I think the world at large is not clear what this rocket barrage is like.  The rockets are specifically aimed at civilian population centers, shopping areas, schools and hospitals.  We have an alert system that lets us know when a rocket is incoming to our area.  In the south there is barely 15 seconds warning to get to a bomb shelter.  Certainly not enough time to gather multiple children!  If some building or business is destroyed or, God Forbid, someone is injured or killed the Arabs rejoice.   In the past week over 300 rockets were fired on civilian targets in Israel.  They don’t stop overnight, but continue 24/7.  Who can sleep, who can work, how can our children just be children?

If we respond by shooting rockets back at the exact location of the original rocket fire we are vilified by the world.  Sometimes there are civilians injured when we return fire because the Arabs purposely use civilian centers from which to launch their rockets. They use civilian human shields, knowingly endangering their own wives and children.  We often target specific military installations, weapons storage facilities, tunnels used for sneaking into Israel or hiding weapons manufacturing.  Our military intelligence is excellent and we know who is responsible for ordering the rocket fire against us.  So we target those terrorists and their homes.  When we intend to fire on their home we call them and warn them!  We drop leaflets to let the civilian population know exactly when we will target a specific area.  We do everything in our power to avoid civilian casualties. 

Did you know that we send aid to Gaza weekly?  Did you know that we provide FREE electricity, water, gasoline and food to Gaza?  They claim to be oppressed, and they are.   But it is not Israel that is oppressing them.  It is their own Islamic leadership that oppresses them.  The billions of dollars in aid that is sent to the PA is not given to the average Arab.  But it is paid as salaries to terrorists after they kill a Jew and are arrested and jailed.  The aid is used to support the terrorist infrastructure, even to buy weapons.

Do a little research and you will see that the supposed oppression by Israel is a sham.  Most of the pictures presented on the internet as Israel’s influence in Gaza are actually pictures of the wounded and casualties in Syria and Iraq.  The BBC recently did an expose on this; you can find it easily by searching on the internet.  Israel is an open, free and democratic society.  People are not discriminated against because of their race, color, creed or sex.  There are hundreds of thousands of Arabs living peacefully in Israel, enjoying a higher standing of living than myself!  But Hamas, the PA, Islamic Jihad, and the many other terror organizations here lie because it suits their needs.  Their only defined goal is to free the world of Jews and destroy the only Jewish state in the world.  They say this boldly in their charters and the world chooses not to see.

I tell you all this so that you can understand the world we live in, that my soldier son lives in.  Did I mention he is only 20 years old, and has been in the army for only a year?  We hadn’t been able to speak with him recently because of the security necessary to protect his Army unit.  But last night he received permission to call home.  We talked for almost two hours.  He has become a philosopher in the last year.  He loves his family and friends fiercely; loves his army unit fiercely; he loves Israel fiercely.  He trusts G-d to lead him, teach him, and safeguard him.  He carries a gun and knows how to use it, he is a good shot.  He told me he knows he will do everything in his power to keep the members of his unit safe.  But he asks us all to pray for him, because he doesn’t want to have to use his gun.  He fears what taking another life will do to him.  It doesn’t matter to whom that other life belongs; he knows that is crossing a line.  He says that life is sacred, created by G-d, given as a gift to all humanity.  He wants G-d’s wisdom as he faces those who have pledged their lives to take his.  He does not pray for victory, he prays for wisdom.

My soldier son was friends with one of the murdered yeshiva boys, the 19 year old.  He saw the boy after their bodies were found.  He asked me, why is it so many hate us just because we are Jews?  Who can answer that question?  There is no answer.  Seeing his friend’s body did not fill him with hate for the murderers.  It filled him with sorrow for the future his friend would not have, and the joy and goodness the world lost when these boys were murdered.

So I ask you all to pray for my amazing soldier son.  Pray for all the Israeli soldiers.  When you pray keep in mind please that my son is really not unusual at all.  His philosophy embodies Judaism.  We as a nation struggle with these issues.  We believe all life is sacred.  That is why “Shock and Awe” is not the name of our offensive in Gaza.  The name is Defensive Edge, because we only aim to defend our own lives.  I will leave you with Bibi’s famous quote;

If the Arabs were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war.  If Israel were to lay down theirs, there would be no Israel