I have been asked to give my postings titles, so that they can be more easily relocated. And so, I will give it a constructive try — even though postings are almost never limited to one topic.
Tonight begins Yom HaZikaron, Memorial day, the day for honoring all those who have fallen in defense of Israel over the years. Israel is a small country, and, so proportionately within the population, there are many many families that have endured a loss. And because we are a small country, there is a sense of unity, of family, so that the mourning is shared by all.
At 8 PM the observance began with a one-minute siren, during which time the nation came to a halt and people almost everywhere stood in respectful silence. There was as well an opening ceremony at the Kotel, at which a bereaved young Sarah Klein kindled the memorial flame; she is the widow of Maj. Roi Klein, who threw himself on a grenade during the Lebanon war to save others. Said Acting President Dalia Itzik, "Tonight, Israel weeps…We have no words of comfort, but we embrace you, the families, with endless love."
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, speaking at the ceremony, said that "Only the army can advance peace." Only a strong Israel will convince our enemies that suing for peace is in their best interest.
"As someone who stood too many times on the threshold of families whose world collapsed in an instant, as a commander and a combatant, I wish to tell you: There is nothing more accursed, more difficult and more painful than war…We are not an army that seeks war, but a defensive army. But if a war is forced on us, we shall not back down."
Another, two-minute, siren will follow tomorrow morning at 11 AM. The main memorial service will take place at the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.
This day of remembering is particularly raw because we have soldiers dying now. There are those who died last summer during the Lebanon war, and those who died at the hands of terrorist forces, or in combat with these forces, in Gaza and Judea & Samaria. In all 233 soldiers have given their lives in the past year, 119 in the Lebanon war.
I will say something here that I have not given voice to before. My heart is with all parents who have endured the loss of a child in serving the nation. But I am struck with particular pain when contemplating the bumbling way the war in Lebanon was fought; for there is a distinct possibility that had it been fought properly, and had the political echelon given the word for our boys to use their strength in a proper invasion instead of remaining like sitting ducks, and had there been sufficient preparation, there might have been fewer dead. And I find myself unable to comprehend how parents who suffered losses in this war deal with this unbearable knowledge.
In the face of this, what we must celebrate is the sure knowledge that — while the political echelon leaves a great deal to be desired — the people in this country are the finest, and our soldiers immeasurably brave.
The nation is mindful tonight as well of the abducted Israeli soldiers who remain in the hands of enemies, if at all they are still alive. Uppermost in national consciousness, of course, are Gilad Shalit, taken into Gaza on June 25, and Eldad Regev and Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser, taken into Lebanon on July 12. But there are also five others taken in Lebanon in the 1980s and 90s.
A high ranking defense official has come out with a statement regarding the risks of trading prisoners for Shalit. They will pose an immediate threat to Israeli cities and communities, he said, and the IDF would have to modify the way it operates immediately.
I think Efraim Inbar, who is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, has it right when he says, "It is hard to believe that a country that was successful in saving Jewish hostages from Entebbe, thousands of kilometers away, is giving in to blackmail by bandits located just a few kilometers from Israel’s border. Most Israelis view this as humiliating…The solution is not a prisoner swap, but military action in Gaza."
On Friday it was revealed by a high-ranking IDF officer that Hamas — having failed to build strength in Judea and Samaria — is attempting to take over PA security forces. It has been infiltrating the police and National Security Force.
In recent weeks, the US gov’t has worked out a "plan" — named for Gen. Keith Dayton, who devised it — that includes allocation of $59 million for the revamping and strengthening of the PA Presidential Guard forces, forces presumed loyal to Abbas. It seemed to me from the beginning an exercise in foolishness to presume that forces loyal to Abbas could be separated out for support (never mind the foolishness of thinking that supporting Abbas forces would be a good thing). With this news comes exposure of the ultimate futility of what is being attempted — even if at this point that particular force is still nominally pro-Abbas.
Last week I attended a conference regarding Hamas, Iran, and Hezbollah. One point that was made — it stares us in the face! — was that Hamas has turned from a revolutionary group attempting to take down the PA to one that intends to co-op it, and in time the PLO as well, I will add. With this news we see the evidence.
If you remember, the other day US Sec. of Defense Gates, when here, assured us of the US desire to help us retain our military edge (even if the US will sell advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia).
Well, the Post now reports that Israel intends to seek acquisition of F22s, US cutting edge stealth jets — the most advanced fighter jets in the world, which have not yet been sold outside the US. No word yet on the US response, but a deal that includes smart bombs and other equipment is in the works.
Four Kassam rockets hit Sderot yesterday, with one hitting a house. The air force quickly located the cell inside of Gaza that was responsible for the attack and responded with a missile strike that killed one member of the cell.
Three terrorist groups — Al Aksa Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and Popular Resistance Committees — claimed responsibility for the attack in a joint statement. They were reportedly avenging the deaths of three known Al Aksa terrorists who had been taken out in Jenin by border police earlier in the day.
Today according to YNet, Defense Minister Peretz declared, with regard to this attack, "Six years of turning a blind eye have ended, and from now on no one will be immune. We will operate across the border." Tough words. It should only be. But then Peretz, sounding more like himself, added that he thought a diplomatic resolution could be reached. Would he care to reconcile these statements?
Ozri Bishara has submitted his resignation from the Knesset to the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Not exactly a surprise. Nor is the fact that he now says he may stay abroad indefinitely because of fear of a jail sentence.
From several MKs, such as Yuval Steinitz (Likud), has come a call to bring him to justice. MK Aryeh Eldad (NU/NRP) commented: "I praise Bishara for his decision, and call all members of Arab Knesset factions to follow in his footsteps and rid the Israeli Knesset of the presence of those who aid enemies of the state. I hope Bishara seeks political asylum in Syria or among his friends from Hizbullah."
Finance Minister Abraham Hirschson has voluntarily suspended himself for three mo
nths because he is under investigation for embezzlement. This is a truly pathetic situation.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/4/22/april-22-2007-israels-fallen.html