There are the days and there are the nights:
During the days, rockets rain almost constantly and unpredictably over most of the country — on the homes, schools, shopping areas, roads. In and around Sderot and other southern Israel communities nearest to Gaza, they get the most strikes and have the least time (15 seconds) to find shelter. Once in a while, they may get the satisfaction of seeing a missile shot from the sky before it can strike. There is no pattern, no logic, in the flight of these missiles, just potential death sent by anonymous fanatics some distance away in a house, a school, or a hospital, or maybe even under the ground.
Then come the nights, when there are fewer missiles, but when each brings greater terror, waking people from sleep to rouse their children and get to a safe room in time. It’s either that or sleep in the bomb shelters. And each morning, along with us, those who were under attack all night listen to the news with trepidation, to hear what else has happened under the cover of darkness.
The latest focus of the missiles seems to be Ashdod and Ashkelon, and little further to the north, Tel Aviv. There innocent civilians have maybe 90 seconds to find shelter. And so it goes, toward Jerusalem in the east and Haifa the north and all places in between, day after day, night after night.
Jerusalem, with the Ancient Walled City and Jewish and Arab suburbs, is a special challenge for the terrorists due to its importance worldwide to all faiths. The terrorists want to prove the power of their weapons, even though Al Aksa is located on the Temple Mount and could easily be hit. However, since Mecca in Saudi Arabia is Islam’s true holy site for prayers and pilgrimage, perhaps hitting the mosque in Jerusalem would not be such a disaster for them.
And so now we too have seen rockets shot out of the sky, here over the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have seen their strategy work little by little: If they can kill enough Israeli civilians, perhaps Israel will send in ground troops. The Israeli troops are then more exposed to capture, torture and ransom demands which helps to divide the Israelis. And if Israel can be provoked to strike hard enough, caused to kill enough children being used as human shields in Gaza, the International Community will force a cease fire on Israel. Then that same ‘merciful’ community will pour the tax monies of their own citizens into Gazan coffers, money that will be used to build new armaments factories, train more terrorists and buy new arms in preparation for the next round.
We don’t know what this weekend will bring. The Israeli Army has stated that all options are open, that a ground offensive has been approved militarily. None of us clearly understands the pressure being placed on Israel behind the nice words and subtle warnings being broadcast by world leaders, but we do know the potential cost in blood to both sides. We all have grandchildren, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors on the front lines here, for indeed all of Israel is the front line.
We’ll keep you posted.