Israel in the News Jul/Aug 2011
Life After the Expulsion
Editor’s Note: In August it will be six years since 10,000 Jews were expelled from 21 beautiful communities in Gush Katif/Gaza and the Shomron (Samaria). Most still live in trailer towns like Nitzan, in range of the Kassam rockets that Hamas fires daily into the Negev. The Israeli government sent them old sewer pipes to use as shelters when the red alert sounds, warning of an incoming rocket. Rachel Saperstein, a resident of Nitzan, tells what life is like for her. (Used by permission.)
Another war is coming. I sleep in thick sweats and woolen socks.
Friday night. I don’t sleep well. At 4 A.M. the siren wails. I put on my thick red robe and wake my husband. “Are you going into the sewervilla?” I ask.
“I’d rather die comfortably in bed than in a sewer pipe filled with screaming people,” he says and goes back to sleep.
The neighbors across the way open their door. I wave and walk over to them. “Are you going into the sewer pipe?” I ask.
“I don’t think so. It’s too cold.” The siren continues to wail. The rocket is still on the way. None of the other neighbors appear. I return to the caravilla [trailer].
I don’t hear any explosion. Sleep is impossible. I feel a searing pain in my chest. A heart attack? No, it’s tension. I prepare a hot water bottle and the pain subsides. Now a terrible headache. A stroke? No, it’s tension.
Morning comes and I dress for the synagogue. I need to pray. I need to see people. I need to hear and speak to friends. I wonder why I am having such a severe reaction to one attack when I lived through years of bombardment in Gush Katif. My friends admit they, too, are feeling the strain. We can’t explain why.
We joke about how we need new robes for our sewer-pipe appearances. One husband suggests a wardrobe full of robes. “A woman should never be seen in the same robe night after night,” he quips.
Everyone is exhausted. No one was able to go back to bed after the sirens.
Shabbat afternoon. The holy Sabbath and holidays have always been a favorite time for attacks on Jews. At 4 P.M. a large group of girls were standing in a circle near our caravilla and singing the Bnei Akiva youth group hymn. The sirens wailed, and a mass of shrieking girls ran toward our sewer-pipe shelter. The girls laughed nervously, and one who cried was comforted by her friends. There was barely enough room for me and the neighbors.
Two loud booms meant impact close by. The children returned to their afternoon activities. The tension was gone, for now. The reality of our lives in Israel returns…living on the edge.
“If I had known then what I know now,” Judge Richard Goldstone wrote recently in The Washington Post, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
Goldstone, who chaired the UN fact-finding mission on Israel’s 2009 incursion into Gaza, now says Israel did not intentionally target civilians and that his 575-page report denouncing Israel would have been different had he known the truth. The UN said in April it has no intentions of repealing the report.
The Wall Street Journal online declared, “We would welcome this apologia if we didn’t think a jurist of Mr. Goldstone’s stature should have known the difference between a democracy like Israel with a history of investigating its own failings…and a self-avowed terrorist state like the one Hamas runs in Gaza….As our friends at the New York Sun note, Mr. Goldstone should now have the decency to retire from public life.”
Did ‘Son of Hamas’ Dupe Christian Zionists?
When Mosab Yousef, the son of a prominent Hamas leader, converted to Christianity and wrote a book chronicling his years of clandestine collaboration with Israeli security forces, he became a sensation among pro-Israel Christians in his adoptive homeland of America. But all is not as it seems.
Mosab’s “tale has since been revealed to be a ‘long con,’ the evidence coming from when he speaks publicly in Arabic,” charged Walid Shoebat, a former Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist who came to faith in Jesus in 1994 and has since been an ardent Christian Zionist.
In an op-ed published online in May, Shoebat warned, “Mosab did not convert to what the West would recognize as Christianity, but to a fiery, Palestinian brand of the faith that is vehemently anti-Israel.”
Indeed, there is a growing trend among evangelical Christians, both Palestinian and Western, to adopt what has been termed Palestinian Liberation Theology. The teaching is Replacement Theology in a new guise, as it denies that modern Israel has anything to do with the Bible or biblical prophecy.
Shoebat believes Mosab Yousef, riding the popularity of his book Son of Hamas, is trying to further advance this teaching among evangelicals in America. In a recent interview with the Arab satellite network Al-Arabiya, Mosab told Arabic viewers, “During my tours in universities and even churches, [I found] the real support for Israel stems from the church in the West….Israel is the problem and as an occupation it needs to end….We will have our victory against Israel.”
Despite his past service to Israel, Mosab “clearly hates Israel and has no understanding of the biblical prophecies concerning same,” Keith Davies, executive director of the Walid Shoebat Foundation, told Israel Today. “We are doing our best to warn the church,” he said.
“Mosab is now touring churches to end Israel’s lifeline,” warned Shoebat. “Many Jews and Christians in the West are unable to determine friend from foe in the Mideast; they are not able to read what is said in Arabic. They must seek translations and must be aware of double agents like Mosab.”
by Israel Today, www.israeltoday.co.il
A Nation Mourns
At 11 A.M. on May 9, a two-minute siren brought Israel to a standstill. It was national Remembrance Day, when Israel remembers the 22,867 soldiers, police officers, and civilians who have died defending the nation since 1860—the year Jews first moved outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls and began reclaiming their ancient homeland.
Following the siren, memorial ceremonies were held at 44 cemeteries around the country. The opening of Remembrance Day was marked at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. Speaking at the Western Wall ceremony, Israeli President Shimon Peres said, “We didn’t seek war. It was imposed upon us. But when we were attacked, we didn’t have the possibility to lose, even one war. And when we won, we returned to seek peace.”
In accordance with the sunset-to-sunset order of days in Israel, those who only hours earlier were visiting the graves of lost loved ones were preparing to mark the start of Israel’s 63rd Independence Day that evening.
As in other countries, Independence Day in Israel kicks off with numerous fireworks displays and mass celebrations. Nearly every Israeli visited one of the nation’s parks in order to barbecue and celebrate with family and friends.
In few, if any, other countries on Earth is the deep sadness of Remembrance Day meshed with the overriding joy of Independence Day. There is hardly an Israeli who does not know someone who has died defending the nation, and every Israeli is aware that the nation’s survival and independence remain threatened.
by Israel Today, www.israeltoday.co.il
The Betrayal Has Begun
David Horowitz of the David Horowitz Freedom Center said recently the Obama administration’s “final betrayal of Israel has begun.” “Never before,” he said, “has an American president so brazenly embraced the ‘Palestinian’ cause; never before has an American president so contemptuously pushed Israel into a corner. To proclaim that the borders of a Palestinian state must be drawn according to the 1967 lines, ignoring all the issues that should be negotiated…and ignoring that Israel will someday have to defend these borders from Palestinian hatred, tells two lies at once: that the Palestinians have been sincerely searching for peace, and that Israel is the problem.”