[Freemanlist2] David M. Weinberg - "Restraint" -Strategic Folly and Shame:
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I dream every night that Israeli Foreign Minister Livni is waving a piece of paper, and announcing peace in our time.
The YEAR is 2007 and not 1938.
I wake up screaming.......Bernard
The Israeli & American Left are leading us to a SECOND Holocaust by appeasement, corruption and treason. It is past time for Olmert and his gang of traitors and Chelmites to resign and return Zionist rule to Jerusalem.
Strategic Folly and Shame:
Personal Reflections on a Visit to Beleaguered Sderot
David M. Weinberg
BESA Perspectives Paper No. 30, June 24, 2007
With the Hamas now fully in control of Gaza, freely running guns and
missiles through the Egyptian border (negating the need for tunnels), the
missile barrages on southern Israel can be expected to increase.
Close to six months of Israeli "restraint" in the face of these attacks is
both strategic folly of the highest order and a deep source of shame.
Folly - because Israel has allowed a city of twenty-four thousand people to
wither away and empty out under enemy fire. Shame - because Israel has left
the forlorn people of Sderot, the most destitute, downtrodden, and drained
citizens of Israel in normal times, to take the hit.
All the praise for Israeli "self-discipline" and "resilience" in the face of
the missile attacks is dangerous and unfounded blather, predicated on a lie.
The disadvantaged people of Sderot are not resilient. They're just stuck.
They have been forgotten by Israeli society; abandoned to the gangs of the
so-called Palestinian "Authority." That is an unforgivable social (as well
as a political-military) sin that should shake Israelis to the very fiber of
I recently spent a day in Sderot, visiting families to evaluate and
catalogue their needs for the "Lev Ehad" volunteer association. While ten
Kassam missiles fell in and around Sderot last week, walking out on the
streets was not scary. The bone-chilling part was inside Sderot homes. Here,
I discovered shame and suffering that runs far deeper than the
political-security challenge coming from Gaza.
Olga (not her real name) is destitute. Her mentally-ill ex-husband left her
with enormous black-market debts, she has bouts of depression along with
heart trouble, and her daughter has chronic and severe asthma that has led
to lengthy hospitalizations. Loan sharks broke her front door two years
ago - it still doesn't close. The water and electricity have been cut off a
few times. She lost a brother to Chechen rebels back in the Commonwealth of
Independent States, where her kids would sleep under her bed during
night-time mortar attacks.
A Kassam missile landed in her daughter's Sderot schoolyard during class,
and the eight-year-old is traumatized. She won't leave her mother's side,
nor return to school. Once again, she sleeps under her mother's bed. "Just
like Chechnya," says Olga. Both mother and daughter have been diagnosed with
clinical post traumatic stress disorder and depression. Prior to the arrival
of my friend Dr. Mordechai and I, no one from central Israel or from the
Jewish Diaspora had spoken to them.
Similar stories repeated themselves in other homes. Rachamim has a
disability that prevents him from working, but his understanding of the
situation is keen. "We are imprisoned at home by fear of the missiles," he
says. "It's like having a guy coming at you from behind with a knife," he
explains. "You're constantly looking over your shoulder." His wife will not
let the kids walk to school, and Rachamim's social worker won't travel from
Beersheba to Sderot in order to treat him.
And so, Sderot is tragedy upon tragedy. The rockets of Hamas are a layer of
misery piled atop the misfortune and deprivation that already was the lot of
many residents. They are truly the forgotten people of Israel - now more
Echoes of Amalek reverberate in me as I drive back to civilized, privileged,
central Israel: "(He) smote the hindmost of you, all that were feeble in
your rear, the faint and weary" (Deuteronomy 25:18). And I wonder: where is
The ugly truth is that Israel is not mobilized to really defend or
significantly assist Sderot - because its residents are third-class Israelis
Had it been the upwardly-mobile, well-connected people of Ramat Hasharon,
Kochav Yair or Tel Aviv that had been targeted by Hamas for months of
unremitting bombardment - would Israel be doing so little? IDF tanks would
be rolling into Riyadh if necessary to halt the bombing; and every
government ministry, corporation, postal clerk, human rights, gay rights,
and animal rights organization would be marshaled to lend a helping hand to
the distressed people of Herzliya or Caesarea.
Fortunately, Israel's naked shame is being covered-up by the dozens of
idealistic youth from across the country, now volunteering in Sderot. The
day after receiving my visit report, they went to fix Olga's front door and
do schoolwork with her daughter. They also brought candies and chocolate,
along with medication for Olga from a non-profit dispensary. The electricity
bill was paid. They drove Rachamim's frightened teenager to and from school.
In the evening - in fact, every evening - they march through the city
streets, singing and dancing; spreading cheer and dispelling fear.
Sderot is Israel's frontline, socially as well as geo-politically. Its
neglect is a metaphor for the ebbing away of a caring Jewish-Zionist
society, and a symbol of the recklessness that passes for Israeli security
policy. It's time to take up arms, first and foremost, against our
indifference to Sderot's anguish. Then we can turn our attention to the
battle against Sderot's foreign foes.
David M. Weinberg is director of public affairs at the BESA Center. A
lobbyist, spokesman and speechwriter, he has served in executive positions
for Diaspora Jewish organizations, and as a senior advisor in the Prime
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