Living With Constant War in Israel

Excerpt from “When we get used to living with war: Israel in times of crisis is a mix of routine and solidarity,” by Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, 12 Aug 2022 pg 13.

12 Aug 2022, Samaria:  Whenever Israel is attacked by missiles, I switch on the notifications on the Red Alert app in my handheld.  I sometimes choose “all areas,” and sometimes just the areas close to me for alerts. This helps me pray for various locations, as well as make decisions about my own movements, where the nearest bomb shelters are located, and how much time I would have to make it into a shelter before the shrapnel and explosions land.

During Pillar of Defense in 2012, I didn’t have a smart phone, nor did I during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.  By 2014 I had acquired a 5-year-old iPhone 4, second-hand, from a Filipina caregiver from Jerusalem.  So, Protective Edge was my first experience with nationwide missile alerts.  That was also the season that I started taking my own personal fitness more seriously, doing jumping jacks and chin-ups at the local soccer field.

One year ago, we lived through Guardian of the Walls in 2021.  That one was extra odd, because while missiles rained down from Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, local Israeli Arabs (with Israeli citizenship) rose up and attacked their Jewish neighbors on the streets, marking Jews’ doors with symbols for home invasion attacks.  This was odd; normally, Arabs with Israeli citizenship did not express their solidarity with Palestinian Arabs in such a blatant way.

That brings us to August 2022, the three days of missiles during Breaking Dawn.

Back in Dec-Jan 2008-2009, I lived through Operation Cast Lead, which was when Israel unilaterally withdrew all its villages and military presence from Gaza, in a sign of peace.  Within two week, Gazans took that gifted land and used it to fire missiles at Jewish civilians, beginning with Operation First Rain (started when Gaza started heavy Qassam rocket fire on Sderot) and then Operation Cast Lead.

Then, in between all the other wars listed above, we endured “minor wars” such as Summer Rains, Autumn Clouds, Warm Winter, Closed Garden, and Black Belt.

Occasionally, as I check the alerts in the Red Alert app, I also check the comments.  Those fall into two categories:  Arabs who write “death to Jews” and such things, and prayer warriors who write things like “May Y’shua guard and protect the people from harm,” and then occasionally, things like “Israel’s army ought to turn Gaza in to a parking lot,” meaning, bomb it all to the ground in order to stop the missiles for good.

It’s that third category that I’ll address here.  First, Israel, along with the Judaistic perspective, cannot in any way justify the wholesale killing of all the people in any area.  There are many who accuse Israel of doing just that.  Well, that’s a false accusation and here’s why.  Year after year after year, the population of Gaza is still around 1.8 million people.  If Israel set out to wipe them all out, they’re doing quite a poor job of it.  There are those that argue that Palestinians are David and Israel is Goliath.  Well, if that were true, then certainly Israel has enough technology and firepower to do it.  So why don’t they?  Morals.  And in reality, Palestinians are part of a pan-Arabic solidarity that encompasses Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, etc.  So Arabs would be the Goliath, and Israel would be the David, in the big picture.  Evidence:  the wars in 1948, 1954, 1967, 1973, 1981 when groups of nations coordinated their armies together in wars against The Jews.  Currently, the strategy is different, with Iran not-so-secretly shipping munitions and money to Arab militias in such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.

Remember all that cash that President Obama sent to Iran in the now-defunct Iran Nuke Deal of 2015? None of that money practically made it to the Iranian civilians.  All of it went to “good causes” such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the nuclear reactor program that was supposed to be halted.

So, again, despite all this, modern Judaism does not permit, morally, any type of genocide.  “Every life is a world,” as Jews say.  Further, Jews quote the Bible as saying “the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:34 KJV).  I must add, that in Leviticus, those same strangers were required to live like the Jews and walk in obedience to the Torah, just like the Jews.  Modern Judaism and modern Israel makes no such requirements upon “strangers,” despite Exodus 12:49 which states, “There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Ex. 12:49 ESV).  Modern Judaism attempts to extend the gift of honor and respect to non-Jews, even to Arabs living with or without Israeli citizenship, but without any of the Biblical expectations that such foreigners must obey Biblical instruction.  That’s just the current situation.

Secondly, if Israel were to “wipe them all out,” logically and militarily, just how would that solve anything?  Isn’t there a never-ending stream of terrorists and Jew-haters?  Even for a secular Jew who may not even acknowledge YAH’s existence, or who may subscribe to a different religious belief, this idea is not reasonable.  We are left with managing the situation rather than solving it.  Therefore, Gaza’s Arab population remains growing from around 1.8 million.  Israel’s perspective is expressed in the phrase, “mowing the lawn,” which means, when the terrorists rise up again and start attacking Jewish civilians in their homes and businesses, try to take care of the situation quickly without destroying the whole yard.  Because, every human life is valuable, according to Judaism.

Excerpt from the Jpost article in the photo above (emphasis added):

“The downside, however, is that there is something deeply troubling about hundreds of rockets shot off toward Israel’s population centers becoming routine.

“Some argue that if we didn’t accept these rounds as routine, then we would take pains to end them once and for all. The counterargument is that this is something that you can’t end once and for all; that there are always going to be terrorists out there who want to destroy Israel; and that the healthy and positive response is to just try to minimize their ability to do so as much as possible – through, for instance, periodic military campaigns – and live under this shadow in the most constructive and productive way possible, something Israel has proven wonderfully adept at doing.”

full article at this link (copy paste):  https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-714541

 

So that’s how it is for us as civilians in Israel: Living under the shadow of constant war, but doing so in the most healthy and positive way possible.  Please join me in praying that Israel will continue to find healthy ways to survive with as little harm to Israel’s enemies as possible.

Comedy from Jackie Mason

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