We read in the torah portion of VaEtchanan the following words;
Now therefore hearken, O Israel, to the statutes and to the laws which I teach you to do, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which Hashem, the G d of your fathers gives you.( Deuteronomy 4:1)
That possession would have to be protected and guarded with great determination and courage
Operation Protective Edge was initiated to battle and hopefully destroy the evil designs of Hamas.Yet from the start, one had the impression that Israel was dragged into the conflict . Prime Minister Netanyahu and other leaders constantly warned and promised the other side “Quiet for Quiet”. Yet when Hamas continued its deadly rain of missiles ,Israel began what at first seemed like a hesitant entry into the conflict.
It soon became clear, though, that the hesitancy and the cautious step by step engagement was tactical and well thought out
As in every battle that Israel has engaged in in the past, it was not only facing a blood thirsty enemy at its borders. It also had to contend with two other fronts of battle at the same time.
One was the battle for world opinion. Generally Israelis have assumed that this was a lost battle to begin with. Israel was always portrayed as the Goliath battling the poorly equipped Palestinians. As a result the Israelis simply left the mission of delivering the “message” to less equipped volunteers around the world.
The second battle front was amidst the people. Israel is a vibrant democracy of firmly held beliefs and ideologies. The ideological battles that began in the midst of the land during other conflicts ,at times, determined the success or lack of success on the front.
In this confrontation Prime Minister Netanyahu was attempting to battle on all three fronts.
The gradual almost hesitant entry into this operation has allowed the Israeli government much more leeway and opportunity in the eyes of the world to eliminate the threats and dangerous plans of Hamas. Hamas it was discovered had planned to use the tunnels it dug from Gaza to Israel to execute a massive attack on southern Israel on Rosh Hashanah in order to kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible. This operation aimed at these terror tunnels necessitated patience and time. The world in general has not been ready to give the time and to watch Israel do what it must do. Yet in this operation Israel was given much more leeway before the threats of weapon blockades and sanctions began to bubble forth
Israel ,as well, spent much time and effort to give a clearer picture of what exactly as transpiring in the region. This was critical as the myth making and fantasy producing workshops of Pallywood were busy sending information and pictures based on lies and distortion on the Palestinian side.
On the home front we were witness to a coming together of the people in a way that I had not experienced in the almost thirty years that I have been living here. Left and right, religious and secular, were all united as a wide and diverse family facing a common threat. They came together in loving kindness and in all manner of prayer. As we read in the torah portion;
“ From there you will seek Hashem your G d, and you will find Him, for you will seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”( ibid 4:29)
All this gave the Israel Defense Forces the time and the empowerment to enter the bomb infested casbahs and the terror filled tunnels.They achieved great success and suffered painful losses to do so. Yet the incredible stories of Divine intervention are being shared from mouth to ear very quickly.The stories of heroism and courage are all beginning to be revealed.
There will be those who will complain that we should have gone to the finish. They will declare that the government only did half the job. Yet our forces have achieved great success. The Hamas infrastructure is destroyed. Most if not all of the tunnels have been destroyed.
Another stage towards ultimate redemption has been taken. The country has not and cannot cease their vigilance on the southern border but must also now look to the dangers from the north.
We must never lose the perspective Moshe gives us in his last words in the book of Deuteronomy regarding the tests and struggle before us.
“When you are in distress, and all these things are come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to Hashem your G d, and you will hearken to His voice.” (ibid4:3)
It is then that we will remember the words in this week’s Torah portion that a young soldier told me continues to give him strength throughout his service in and around Gaza
“Know this day, and consider it in your heart, that Hashem, He is G d in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is nothing else.”( ibid 4:39)
Hashem Hu Elokim Ein Od Milvado…Hashem is G-d…There is Nothing but Him.
Lerefuat yehidit bat Golda Yocheved