Today was a day of phone calls and meetings in Tel Aviv. Conversations with unofficial but reliable sources indicated that the fighting in Gaza is fierce, but, that the IDF is achieving its aims on the battlefield. At this point, much of the fighting is taking place street to street and house to house. A confirmed and then published report indicated that one Golani soldier was lured into a tunnel by Hamas gunmen and only avoided being kidnapped by virtue of his heroic self-defense in a dire situation. Still, Hamas reported that two Israeli soldiers were indeed kidnapped. Thank God, this announcement proved to be false. Unofficial sources speculated that Hamas was simply engaging further in psychological warfare, in typical fashion, aimed at demoralizing and striking fear in the hearts of the young men of the IDF. Other sources speculated that Israel’s successful thrusts into the IDF had sufficiently cut-off communications between Hamas terrorists and their command and control that some among the Hamas leadership in Gaza might actually have thought erroneously that Hamas had indeed kidnapped two soldiers. Either way, the important news for Israelis and for the families of all IDF soldiers defending Israel against Hamas attacks was that the reports of the kidnappings were incorrect. Meanwhile, reports do indicate that Israel has indeed captured several Hamas terrorists, another sign of the superb work being done by the IDF.
As for Israel’s southern cities, they continue to bear the brunt of Hamas’ deadly and treacherous missile-fire, as they have so endured such abuse for eight years running. Long-range fire appears to be decreasing but, just as Hamas has not yet fired the anti-tank weapons that they are believed to have, the IDF is said to believe that Hamas may be holding back some of their longer-range missile capabilities for a later point in the war.
Anti-Israel rallies and demonstrations throughout western-Europe and elsewhere are leaving Israelis rightfully shocked and stunned. Virtually every Israeli with whom I speak shares his or her disbelief that the world cannot understand that anyone killed in Gaza is being sacrificed needlesly by Hamas, and is truly being killed by their own leadrship and their misiles, given that the Israeli initiative would never have commenced, and would certainly stop, if Hamas would simply stop firing their missiles, mortars, and guns and agree not to commence again such clear violations of all human decency and illegality according to any proper reading of international Law.
Meetings with various providers related to this coming summer’s Ner Tamid sponsored trips to Israel are productive, as plans move forward for two exciting and meaningful trips.
News of additional wounded and the possibility of up to four soldiers killed trickles in at this late hour. I hope and pray that I’ll wake up to the news that these reports are incorrect, as well.
Rabbi Isaac Jeret
Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay