WHAT HAPPENED TO NETZARIM CAN HAPPEN TO TEL AVIV
July 23, 2014
Sholom Ber Crombie in #935, Crossroads, shleimus ha'Aretz

A small terrorist organization sitting in Gaza has managed to paralyze an entire country, something that all the Arab armies haven’t been able to do for over sixty years. When these armies attacked us, we exercised our right of self-defense with uncompromising determination. However, when confronted by the terrorist organizations, the government of Israel has been afraid to achieve victory. How many military operations have we conducted in Eretz Yisroel over the past several years? Israeli policymakers called each operation a “round” – until the next round… 

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

1.

It was Friday, Yud-Gimmel Tammuz, at ten o’clock in the morning. At the green and lush entrance to the city of Sderot, the noise from the sudden rain of missiles could be heard quite clearly in the air. It’s not so much due to the whistle of the approaching rockets, but the deafening quiet echoing throughout the city. Welcome to Ghost Town, Eretz Yisroel.

It’s really very nice there, and the green grass breathes new life into the desert landscape. However, the silence pounds away at us, a reminder of how bad things have become. While we were prepared to hear “Code Red” sirens, today you don’t hear anything in Sderot. The few residents seen roaming the empty streets look like lifeless shadows. 

We traveled there to strengthen the local citizens and bring a little joy into their lives as they deal with the constant wailing of the sirens and the reverberating explosions. When we arrived in Sderot, we discovered that people don’t go out into the streets. This wasn’t just because of the “Code Red” sirens; the city simply had no life to it. It turns out that the real sense of distress among Sderot residents was the terrible poverty plaguing the city. “There had been relative quiet here for several years and everyone forgot about us,” complained Rabbi Moshe Pizem, the Rebbe MH”M’s shliach in Sderot. “The municipality has a deficit of hundreds of millions of shekels. The welfare services have totally collapsed and no one is really interested in what’s happening in Sderot.”

We explained to Rabbi Pizem that we had come to cheer up the soldiers and the children in the bomb shelters. “There are no public shelters here, as everyone has a shelter in their home,” Rabbi Pizem pointed out, explaining that if we really want to help, he had a list of several families with no food for Shabbos. 

Shiri, one of the girls who came with us, helped to give out popsicles to all the children in Sderot. When we came into one of the local homes to bring a food package, she found that the children were living in a second apartment, as the needy family of nine did not have the money to connect the two small residential units. 

Suddenly, a “Code Red” siren pierced the air. One of the neighbors opened the door and called for us to enter the reinforced security room. Although missiles have been falling in Sderot for fourteen years, she was still shaking with fear, as if this was the first time she had ever heard such a danger signal. Fifteen minutes later, as we were in a local grocery store, another three explosions were heard – this time without any warning sirens. Here too, the big surprise was how Sderot residents were still alarmed. They really hadn’t become accustomed to this situation, and they jumped with every “boom.”

After two hours in the city it was clear that the combination of high unemployment in the outlying areas with fourteen years under rocket attack have caused local residents to lose the ability to stand on their own feet. Even those working have a hard time functioning, and most residents aren’t able to manage. The constant fears with the long periods in bomb shelters and other protected areas have led to serious emotional collapse. As a result, they are also unable to deal with prevailing economic issues.

The despairing residents are concerned about only one thing: When the current barrage of missile attacks finally passes, people will again forget about Sderot and the children growing up there without bread to eat. 

2.

On our way back, someone asked if we could go through Gush Etzion and stop at his parents’ home in Efrat. As we passed the entrance barricade to the Mt. Chevron regional council, we started breathing a little easier. We finally felt more secure that here was a place where there was no threat of missile attack.

Suddenly, you’re hit with the realization that it’s not just Sderot. According to the current situation, all of Eretz Yisroel is under the threat of missile attack. A small terrorist organization sitting in Gaza has managed to paralyze an entire country, something that all the Arab armies haven’t been able to do for over sixty years. This is because we fought against these enemy forces with all our strength, without mercy or media self-righteousness. When these armies attacked us, we exercised our right of self-defense with uncompromising determination. However, when confronted by the terrorist organizations, the government of Israel has been far too lenient. It is afraid to achieve victory. How many military operations have we conducted in Eretz Yisroel over the past several years? Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, and now Protective Edge. Israeli policymakers called each operation a “round” – until the next round.

It’s hasn’t been just this government. During the tenure of Mr. Olmert, and over a period of six months after Operation Cast Lead, the terrorists fired eight hundred missiles on cities in southern Eretz Yisroel, and they called this a ceasefire. In the first days after the military operations concluded, Hamas consistently violated the agreement, shooting dozens of rockets while the Israel Defense Forces fulfilled its promise and didn’t return to the Gaza Strip.

Last week, IDF Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror sat down for a media interview. “We must tell the public the truth,” he explained. “There is no magic solution, there will be no ‘knockout’ in this round, and the rocket fire on southern cities will not cease. There are presently two options: Either we finish this operation and take into consideration the fact that we’ll need another military operation every year or two, or we conquer Gaza, re-establish the civil administration, and sit there for at least a year or two.”

In the final analysis, it turns out that there are no magic solutions. When Israeli policymakers sold the Gaza disengagement plan to the nation, they told us that there would be no problem with missile attacks on cities in Eretz Yisroel. Expulsion supporter Dov Weisglass mockingly called the Kassam rockets “flying objects,” while the outgoing (thank G-d) president of Israel was no less disdainful. “Kassamim, Shmassamim,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate once said. 

However, nine years after the Gush Katif expulsion, no one relates so derisively to the missile threat anymore. During the last three weeks, the people of Tel Aviv have begun to realize that those who run away from terrorism, the terrorism will soon follow him. As the old slogan goes: Yesha is here.

3.

The Rebbe spoke on numerous occasions against the capitulatory ceasefire agreements, noting the fact that the other side didn’t honor its obligations for one moment. The Rebbe often used the example of a surgical procedure: It can have painful aftereffects and brings out a lot of blood and pus. However, it also cleans out the infection and eventually restores complete health. Above all, you don’t stop surgery in the middle.

During a farbrengen on Yud-Gimmel Tammuz 5742, exactly thirty-two years ago this month, the Rebbe spoke about the cessation of IDF military action in Lebanon – “Operation Peace for the Galilee.” His words are just as relevant and applicable today as they were then:

“Even if we would say that there is room for a discussion over whether to do the operation, nevertheless, after they have already started the operation and placed the IDF in the situation where they are today, we must fully complete the action.

“To what is this comparable? To a fearful person who enters an operating room and sees the doctors starting to do surgery on someone who is ill. As soon as he sees the first drops of blood, he begins to plead with the doctors to stop the operation, wait until the wound heals, and then they can continue the surgery… How can you possibly operate when the sick person’s blood has been spilled?

“It should be obvious to anyone what the doctors say about such an idea!

“Similarly, we find regarding the security situation of millions of Jews living in Eretz HaKodesh.

“After they start one operation, a ‘frightened and softhearted person’ comes along and asks them to stop in the middle of the operation because they have to hold a meeting, determine everyone’s opinion, and request the advice of the nations of the world… And so it occurred during the second and the third operation. Now, we are already in the middle of the fourth operation, and there are still those who think that in order to achieve peace, it’s better to avoid lifesaving treatment and stop in the middle of the operation – after suffering hundreds of casualties!

“How is it possible to take such chances regarding millions of Jews? They’ve already seen three times that such conduct causes calamitous results!

“And as mentioned, this same situation keeps repeating itself! Of course, it isn’t exactly by a hundred percent, but the idea is close enough. These people persistently contend that we can’t ignore the international pressure, nor can we conduct ourselves as ‘a nation that will dwell alone,’ suggesting that this is the way to bring peace, justice, and integrity to the region!”

4.

In conclusion, we bring a quote from days long ago: “The law of Netzarim is as the law of Tel Aviv.” So spoke Ariel Sharon eleven and a-half years ago during his victorious election campaign. As is known, during the parliamentary term that followed, the government of Israel uprooted all the settlements of Gush Katif, and today we can say with absolute certainty that the law of Netzarim could well become the law of Tel Aviv.

 

 

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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