Jerusalem Magazine
How're we? We're fine.
My boys are out of the army. My middle son Tal was released three months ago from his tank unit. Coincidently it was the same unit that was attacked at the beginning of the conflict, when a group of Hamas terrorists snuck up behind the tank unit. He knew some of the boys, and went to a funeral. There but for the Grace of God, eh? My daughter Michal is still in the Army, but in a non-combat unit. She’s serving with Sar-El, a unit that deals with foreign tourists coming to volunteer for a few weeks with the Israeli Army.
I was in Haifa on Sunday picking up my neighbor Alice's mother. She was reluctant to leave, but did anyway. I also picked up another 90-year old grandmother and brought her to Jerusalem, although she didn't want to go. "I've lived in Israel 70 years," she told me. "Sometimes it's quiet. Sometimes it's not."
 Earlier in the day I'd been at the railroad yard filming the after-effects of a medium-range rocket. This one killed 8 guys repairing a train. Tore through the tin roof and splattered them. No siren sounded, just the missile through the roof. A bomb shelter was only a few meters away, but no one knew a missile was incoming, we were told. While walking to the site a siren sounded. A few minutes later I heard the missile had crashed into the sea.
The city is pretty quiet. Lots of folks evacuating to friends and relatives further south, but most staying put. Same goes on all along the north. I spoke to some friends who live in Sefad. An American couple with nine children, who came to Israel in 1991. The woman said that shrapnel from a rocket had embedded itself in her windows. Luckily she’d recently renovated her apartment and the glass was double-glazed. But she wasn’t leaving Tsfat. Go figure people.
She and I discussed an interesting fact? During the infamous Gulf War Iraq fired 39 missiles into Israel, killing one woman, who actually died of a heart attack. As of yesterday Hezbollah had fired over 1,500, killing 30people, wounded a hundred, not counting the 3 soldiers kidnapped.
My neighbor’s newly wed niece left the apartment she and her husband were renting in Kibbutz HaGoshrin  and moved in with her parents in the Golan Heights, even though a rocket had fallen mile from their Golan farm. My neighbor Alice’s new nephew ran a health club at the Sports Center in Kyriat Shmona. It was closed for the duration.
A terrible tragedy that Lebanon is being pounded. A shame. I feel lousy when I see the poor people roaming around in the rubble. But, as the schoolyard kid say when the teacher breaks up the fight , 'they started it."
Pundits in Israel's press claim that Hezbollah was left alone for six-years, from 2000 now, and, by Hezbollah and IDF numbers, now have over 10,000 missiles with ranges that could hit Ashkelon if they wanted. According to these pundits, Hezbollah is only
waiting for orders from Iran.
Nasrallah reportedly thought he could snatch two soldiers, who he lured into an ambush by sending infiltrators across the boarder knowing the IDF would chase them. Last time after some shooting, Nasrallah swapped three dead Israelis he'd captured for 200 or 400 of his Hezboallah people.
This time he discovered that the rules had changed. Israel skipped over the step of giving Nasrallah what he expected, and instead gave him what he didn't expect. In return Israel was also surprised. The radar guided missile that hit a very sophisticated Israeli ship off the Lebanese coast was a shock. Bombs in Haifa were expected but also a surprise. Usually Hezbollah only hits the northern settlements. Now they're also threatening to hit Tel Aviv.
Israel is reportedly taking this opportunity to take out as much of Hezbollah's infrastructure as possible. UN Resolution 1559 called for Hezbollah to turn in their weapons. The Lebanese government was to reoccupy S. Lebanon. But the reformist government of Hariri came to a bloody end. Harriri was assassinated, as you know. Syria thinks of Lebanon as its back yard. Iran thinks of Hezbollah as it's soldiers. Can order be restored in S. Lebanon? Maybe a UN force, but the UN has proved nearly universally ineffective.
Will the ruckus spread? Depends if Iran wants it to spread. Most analysts agree this entire exchange is an Iranian plan to distract the G-8 and UN from imposing nuclear weapons inspections, the imposition of boycotts and embargos.
The idea tossed around is that Iran is making the point that they can ignite the region, and the world, anytime they want. How far will Iran go? Don't know, but if they're that ruthless then sooner or later the world's going to have to face them, or suffer the dire consequences. Now Iran and the West are fighting a war with Israel and Hezbollah as the proxies.  
(Israel has performed similar tasks in the past for various US administrations. Back in the 80's then PM Yitzchak Rabin told me that Israel was the only country in the world facing Russian weapons on the battle field, essentially testing those weapons for
On Monday Israel kept up the attacks as Hezbollah sent more missiles into Israel. One fell on a hospital in Sefad. Another fell on a building near the Haifa port. Israeli analysts are now worried that should Nisrallah emerge from the rubble unscathed he will crow that he’s the new king of the Arabs, as Saddam did in ’91, creating an entirely new axis of power in the region.
Israel pundits also worry about a cease-fire which will only allow Hezbollah to rearm. Short of destroying Hezbollah completely, which is probably impossible, the only solution to the problem would be some sort of international force to separate the two sides. But these solutions have only been temporary, at best.
Ultimately, this is a test of the West against the raging Islamic Fundamentalism sweeping the world. Probably the “terrorism” the west thought was stateless isn’t, but rather state-sponsored but hiding behind the whisps of smoke and ghost-like terrorist groups. Hezbollah is only a fighting unit of the Iranians. Iran has threatened to strike, and in my opinion there isn’t any place in the world safe from their maniacal Islamic fervor. As I’ve said, what we’re seeing now is only Iran showing the world that they can ignite the region and the world anytime they want. And probably will. In certain ways this unpleasantness in the Middle East is only a distraction so that the G-8 meeting in St. Petersburg didn’t decide to send the issue of Iran’s nuclear program to the UN.
As for Israel, my wife is fond of quoting Israel’s leading author Amos Oz whose father fled Nazi Germany for Israel. “They didn’t want us there (in Germany), and they don’t want us here,” his father said. “They just don’t want us.”
To which I add, since they don’t want us, we might as well live where we want, and screw’em.
July 17 War in Israel Day 5