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Miki Goldwasser Remembers Her Son Udi

Ehud GoldwasserAs we once again remember the more than 22 thousand soldiers and civilians who have been killed in wars and acts of terror, we living in Israel cannot help but wonder how women such as Miki Goldwasser, the mother of Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser, can go from being in a state of sad remembering to one of joy when Yom Hazikaron (Soldiers Remembrance Day) changes in just 24 hours to the festivities of Israel Independence day, Yom Haatzmaut.

Ehud Goldwasser, together with another soldier, Eldad Regev were kidnapped on July 12, 2006 by the Hezbollah along the border with Lebanon. For two agonizing years, their exact fate had been unknown (at least to their loved ones) until their bodies were finally returned to Israel in two black boxes on July 16, 2008, virtually 2 years after their Humvee jeep had been attacked by enemy fire. Along with Udi’s wife Karnit, his mother Miki had waged a relentless campaign to have him returned to his family, only to have him come home as another fallen soldier.

Miki was recently interviewed by the Jerusalem Post reporter Ruthie Blum Liebowitz, during which time she talked about her son and what kind of person he had been during his short life of only 31 years. She recalled how he had become so much in love with life, and with his country and his wife, with whom he had planned to raise a family following their graduation from university (they were both graduate students at the Technion when the Lebanon II war broke out). She spoke about Udi’s childhood and how, from a very early age, he had decided that he could live nowhere else but in Israel.

Udi’s love of life was shown many times during his life, both at home, in school, in the army, and especially with Karnit, the love of his life, and childhood sweetheart. Although Udi had lived abroad with his parents from time to time (his father Shlomo was a merchant marine ship captain). Udi knew that he could live his life only in the country he loved. Miki recalled how her son had once told her that even though it was comfortable living in places like South Africa, he could only fulfill himself by living in Israel. He went with Karnit for more than nine years before they finally married, and were only together as husband and wife for 10 months before that fateful day in July, 2006.

Both Miki and Sholmo have been active in the recent campaign to free still captive soldier Gilad Shalit; and they have been regular visitors to the Shalit home in Moshav Mitzpeh Hilla in the Western Galilee. They understand what Noam and Aviva Shalit, Gilad’s parents, are going through. And she is even more determined to perpetuate Udi’s memory by helping other families whose sons have also fallen for the country they loved. This is just one example of the brave young men and women who dedicate themselves to their country; and to their parents – ones like Miki and Shlomo Goldwasser.

Time to Shift Gears

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is preparing to leave office very soon, while on the other side of the border, Gilad Shalit is “celebrating” 1,000 days in captivity this month. It’s time to step up the efforts for Gilad’s release.

Noam and Aviva Shalit, Gilad’s parents, are moving to Jerusalem today, in order to reside inside a protest tent in front of Olmert’s residence. They will remain there until Olmert leaves office, or until Gilad’s return.

Gilad and Noam Shalit

They believe Olmert’s last days in office is a window of opportunity to finally seal the prisoner exchange deal. Gilad was captured on Olmert’s watch, and therefore it is his responsibility to resolve the matter before Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition takes the reigns.

The parents of kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, whose bodies were returned to Israel via a prisoner exchange deal, are joining the Shalit family in Jerusalem, in a joint effort to increase public pressure and awareness.

Shas chairman, Eli Yishai, uttered a remarkably patronizing statement this morning, which I believe precisely captures the government’s stance on Gilad’s captivity: If the protest tent assuages the feelings of the Schalit family, it is a positive thing.

Dear Mr. Yishai, the matter on hand isn’t “assuaging” the Shalit family or the public opinion; it’s releasing Gilad!

Do not forget Gilad

Since Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev had been lay to rest, the topic of Gilad Shalit has largely disappeared from the media. As cynical as it may sound, Gilad’s parents don’t manage to draw enough attention or to foster enough sympathy as did Karnit, Ehud’s widow.

Despite the overwhelming support the Israeli public had for the “deal” with Hezbollah, it was still controversial, and it has made the public reluctant to release more prisoners in the near future. And on top of this all, Olmert’s resignation and the scuffles of his successors will continue to draw our attention for at least another month. So Gilad’s pleas are now placed on the back burner, and I find it very disturbing.

I urge everyone in the Israeli public and the Israeli media to keep this issue at the top of our national concerns and at the top of the headlines. The time to free Gilad is NOW.

All hearts face North, not West

Human Narration on BNarrator.com

According to well-informed predictions, the highly anticipated prisoner swap deal with Hezbollah is set to take place tomorrow morning (Wednesday, July 16) in Rosh Ha’Nikra – Israel’s northernmost border post along the Mediterranean Sea.

Rosh Ha
Rosh Ha’Nikra

Recent speculation, initiated by Lebanese newspapers, says that one of the two Israeli captives might be alive. Although many official reports in Israel have claimed that both Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are likely to be dead, we all hope for a miracle tomorrow.

On to a different subject… During the AIPAC convention in June, Barack Obama announced his clear devotion to an undivided Jerusalem — a message that surprised many, but was very resolute, and couldn’t be interpreted in any other way than as an affirmation of Israel’s sovereignty over east Jerusalem. However, this Sunday, the Democratic Nominee made a squeaking U-turn and retracted his AIPAC comments, saying they were “badly phrased”. As he explains: “The point we were simply making was that we don’t want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the ’67 war.”

And to this I can only respond: Give me a break!

Obama plans on visiting Israel next week. I do not expect a warm welcome.

Daily Israeli – Weekend Recap

New Story MarkPressure is mounting on PM Olmert and his Ministers to make a decision regarding the captive soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. After long two years, a swap deal with Hezbollah has finally been drafted, and the only thing that’s required for its immediate execution is the government’s approval. Ehud’s wife, Karnit Goldwasser, made a public appeal over the weekend and urged PM Olmert not to delay this decision any further, and to bring Eldad and her husband back home.

Israeli and American Chiefs of Staff
New Story MarkAdmiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a short and unscheduled visit to Jerusalem this Saturday, meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Rav Aluf (that’s the title) Gabi Ashkenazi. This is his second visit to Israel in 6 months. As a result, oil prices crossed the 140$ mark for the first time in history.

New Story MarkMinister of Justice Prof. Daniel Friedmann continues his crusade against the High Court, this time proposing to amend the “Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty” in such a way that it will not apply on immigration and border control issues. In other words, if this amendment is accepted by the Knesset — and that’s an unlikely scenario — Israeli officials will be legally free to deport any and all foreigners, including asylum seekers, without the High Court being able to intervene in the matter. Since Israel does not currently have a Constitution, Basic Laws are the closest thing we have so far, and playing with them is a very big deal.

Photo by AP

Post Optimism

An Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire “sort of” began today; Iran agrees to discuss the West’s anti-nuclear incentives; Exchange of prisoners with Hezbollah is rumored to take place any day now; Bureaucrats at the Ministry of Finance stand together with the Histadrut (the federation of labor) against the Minister’s plot to tax the Study Funds; It’s summer…

There are lots of things to be optimistic about, it seems.

Question Mark

Well, I don’t think anyone’s really excited about these news. It’s good that things start to roll, but it may be too little, too late.

1. The truce may enable Hamas to smuggle Gilad Shalit out of the Gaza Strip and into Egypt, turning this tragedy into a much longer affair. In addition, there are no illusions about this cease fire. In the meantime, Hamas supplies itself with new ammunition and new rockets, and the flames could be back in a matter of days.

2. Iran stalls time. After all, Mr. Bush is about to leave office, and Ahmadinejad knows that while Bush is keen to attack, Obama (which polls project him to be the next US President) is keen to avoid any such confrontation. “So it’s Okay to show signs we’re ready to enter the diplomatic path. These things take months and years, and we only need to stall Mr. Bush for five months”.

3. Yes, after almost two years, we may finally know what happened to Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. However it’s highly estimated that they’re dead, and in exchange for their release, Israel will let go of Samir Kuntar, the last bargaining chip we have when it comes to extracting information from the Hezbollah regarding the missing pilot Ron Arad.

Sun4. It’s “common knowledge” in recent years that the state of Israel is actually controlled by the Ministery of Finance bureaucrats. The Ministers come and go every two-or-so years, but the bureaucrats are the ones who sign the papers and release the money, while having the chance to push forward their agenda over long periods of time. They have practically privatized any thing imaginable in the last decade, and make this country unbearable for more and more people: Students, the elderly, single moms, etc. Now they’ve done something truly exceptional — entirely out of character — and stood up against the Minister when he suggested striking another blow at the average citizen. Honestly, this is the only report that actually excites me.

5. Oh, and I’m also excited about the summer.

Picture by Lucky Oliver

Reflections on Israeli POW’s

Israeli POWs
Last Friday, May 2nd, a very interesting article appeared in the Weekend supplement of the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s oldest English language newspaper. The article, entitled Stigma of Surrender, and written by correspondent Larry Derfner, dealt with Israelis who had been taken prisoner in various wars, especially the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the first Lebanese War of 1982. Former Israeli POW’s who had been taken prisoner and later released, recounted their experiences in the hands of the enemy, and what happened to them after being finally released. Many of them said that the treatment they received by IDF authorities who “interrogated” them afterwards was (from a psychological basis) almost as bad as when they were prisoners of war, or of terrorists.

With Israeli solders such as Gilad Schalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser still not back home after nearly two years, this year’s Solder’s Remembrance Day and Independence Day celebrations will take on a special meaning for members of their families, as well as for many other Israelis.

Israel will be celebrating its 60th anniversary as an independent state this week; and the matter of captured and missing soldiers is an issue even more important, especially in light of recent offers to affect a prisoner exchange with the Hamas organization for captured soldier Gilad Schalit.

Many people in Israel feel that trading this young soldier’s life (assuming he’s still alive) for several hundred Hamas and other terrorists who will only go back to killing Jews, is not going by the old Rabbinical context of “he who saves one life has saved the entire world”. This time it’s entirely different.

I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of either Mr. and Mrs. Schalit or the Prime Minister in regards to what to do in this situation. Israeli prisoners have mainly been repatriated in wartime – and that most were from the Egyptians who were only slightly more humane than their Syrian allies.

Regarding soldiers being captured or taken prisoner by terrorist groups, it’s nearly always been a death sentence – except for some like Elkanah Tannenbaum, an Israeli reserve officer who was captured while in Lebanon on a “business trip” and who may have had “connections” which enabled him to stay alive.

Some people feel that Israeli solders should be issued a cyanide pill, like Mossad people are, and if they have the opportunity, to simply swallow it. At least it prevents the suffering, including by such as Ron Arad, who may actually have died long ago (it was supposedly verified by Russian and other foreign diplomats who had received inside information).

That’s the sad reality of being captured as an Israeli soldier. So much for the “Pinchas Shevi” (POW ID Card) issued every IDF recruit. Many say that it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on!

Or is it?

I’m quite sure that if one talks to parents and relatives of the three young men mentioned here, they will definitely agree that Israeli soldiers should not only come back alive but should be given the honor that they truly deserve. In fact, I’m sure these relatives feel that Israeli leaders are not doing enough to ensure their loved ones’ release.

As Israelis celebrate 60 years of independence, they should also take time to reflect on these brave young men who so much deserve to come home – with honor – to their loving and waiting families.

Deals with the Devil

Newspapers around Israel have reported that Hamas is now threatening to murder Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was wounded and kidnapped by Hamas terrorists back in June 2006 which ignited the second Lebanese-Israeli War. Hamas stated that if the Israeli government does not meet their demands of the release of 350 prisoners, many of whom are imprisoned for outright murder of innocent civilians, they will begin negotiating over releasing Shalit’s remains as opposed to the soldier himself.

Dealing For Gilad ShalitOver the past several weeks reports from officials stated that Shalit was alive and in good health. Doubts about his well-being have surfaced since his capture nearly two years ago, yet over time, intellegence sources have confirmed that the young soldier was indeed alive. There has been no contact between Shalit and his family since. Yet, nearly a year after his kidnapping, Hamas released a recorded message of Shalit was was broadcast to all of Israel and eventually worldwide. It pulled at the heartstrings of many, as of the three soldiers who were kidnapped during this conflict, Shalit is the youngest and most vulnerable. Unlike Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two IDF Reservists who were kidnapped by Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon less than a month later, there has been at least some signs of life from Shalit.

Shalit’s father, Noam Shalit has become a familiar face in the media. Reports of his meetings with Prime Minister Olmhert, President Shimon Peres and Members of Knesset have lead him either to dead ends and virtually nowhere while pleading with officials to do anything they can in their power to have his son released. Support for the soldiers have come from across the globe, from private citizens to human rights organizations to world leaders. Yet, cries have fell upon deaf ears as Shalit, Goldwasser and Regev have become nothing more than barganing chips to both Hamas and Hezbollah. Leaving the Israeli government pleading with her hands tied behind her back is part of how this game has been played.

Many people have voiced very strong opinions, many of whom advocate not giving into terrorists and not allowing blood thirsty terrorists loose just so they can continue causing more harm to Israelis in Israel and worldwide. Jonathan Pollard, the American-Israeli who was imprisoned over twenty years ago for leaking confidential information to Israel which lead to the destruction of nuclear facilities in Hussein’s Iraq, has stated that he would refuse to be released from prison if it meant a barter agreement between his release and the release of wanton murderers.

Now put yourself in the shoes of Noam and Aviva Shalit, whose bespectacled now 21 year old son is in the clutches of those who sacrifice their lives for the love of Allah and 72 virgins. Imagine yourself trying to function daily, going to work, doing your job, eating, sleeping, shopping, holidays, etc and knowing that your child’s well-being, safety and whole life is in the hands of those who have no problem sending youngsters into crowded areas with bombs strapped to their belt buckles to murder who ever is within their radius. Imagine sitting at your own dinner table having a meal and looking at an empty seat across from you. It would be one thing if the child were dead. As horrible as this would be, at least there would be an everlasting mourning period and some sort of closure.

Can you at least imagine what is going on in their minds? I’d doubt you can.

Now, what would you do? Advocate for the release of 350 imprisoned terrorists who could indeed inflict more harm upon innocent civilians for the release of your child or demand that terrorists release him because he has already served a sentence without a prisoner exchange?

Take your time to decide.

Hezbollah Fully Rearmed

Hezbollah Ready
A UN intelligence report has revealed that not only has the Lebanon based Hezbollah fully rearmed itself, but they also have long range rockets capable of striking anywhere in the central Dan Region. The report, which was turned over to Israeli military officials, disclosed that much of the arms have been smuggled over from Syria and that the rockets include ones capable of reaching more than 250 km – more than enough distance to reach any target in central Israel. The report said that by smuggling arms in from Syria, and by rearming their forces in areas south of the Litani River, Hezbollah’s actions were in violation of UN resolution 1701, which was approved by the Security Council following the 2006 war with Israel.

Another disturbing element was information by the Israeli military noted armaments acquired by Hezbollah include advanced surface to sea missiles for use against enemy naval vessels. This information disclosed Hezbollah now has at least three times as many land to sea missiles than it had at the outbreak of the war in July, 2006. Judging from the fact that an Israeli missile boat was sunk during this conflict, this revelation is not good news. Needless to say, this report was taken as being very serious by both Israeli military officials and UN officials, including Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Even without this report, Hezbollah’s renewed presence along Lebanon’s border with Israel has been increasing with yellow Hezbollah flags once again in place in many areas. Hezbollah has even had the “Chutzpah” to display large posters with pictures of the captured Israeli solders, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser with captions in English relating to all the Hezbollah fighters and other men being held by Israel.

Does this mean that another round of fighting is due to break out along the now peaceful Israel Lebanese border? This is anybody’s guess, especially with the upcoming conference in Annapolis scheduled to take place next month. The recent attack by Israeli aircraft on a suspected nuclear facility in northeast Syria has also added fuel to the fire; and although Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad is not the same character as his father Hafiz was, he might still attempt some kind of conflict to raise his clout in the Arab world. All of this coincides with Turkey’s border conflict against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Turkey and Israel presently enjoy good diplomatic and military relations, which could become aggravated if a new regional war between Israel, Lebanon and Syria should break out.

Heads or Tails Hezbollah Style

EldadIsrael’s anguish regarding it’s two captured soldiers by the Hezbollah, has become more intense following the revelation of an article in a Lebanese newspaper that one captive is alive but the other is “no longer among the living”.

This announcement was followed by another scathing flow of words by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in which he called for negotiations with the “Zionist government in Palestine” to commence with serious negotiations regarding a prisoner exchange. Nasrallah made these remarks from his secret headquarters, which were relayed to a gathering of his followings commemorating the anniversary of the battle at the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, which Hezbollah has claimed as a victory, along with the entire Lebanese II war, for that matter. The Sheik concluded his remarks by saying that his organization has enough long range rockets to “strike anywhere in the territory of the enemy in Palestine” (he likes to refer to Israel as Palestine).

GoldwasserQuite obviously, this news must be very upsetting to the relatives of the two captured soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who have been in a state of limbo ever since the two were captured following a Hezbollah attack on their military patrol vehicle on July 12, 2006, which launched the 34 day war.

Goldwasser’s wife, Carnit, also made a brief statement following the news revelation and Nasrallah’s ‘kind’ comments. Now she, together with the parents of both Udi and Eldad, have to wonder which of the two reserve soldiers are still alive: her husband, or Eldad.

Hezbollah in general, and Nasrallah in particular, seem to enjoy playing with the lives of relatives of captured Israeli solders, just like they did for more than three years following the capture of three soldiers on the Lebanese border near Israel’s northernmost town of Metulla.

Nasrallah seems to feel that he is in full control of the situation, complete with his threats of retaliation should Israel decide to attack Lebanon once again. Judging from what happened last year, any Israeli response to a Hezbollah launched missile attack (like what occurred a few months ago when the city of Qiryat Shmona was hit by three Katyusha missiles) might be considered by Nasrallah as a full fledged attack. Israeli forces did not respond to the recent attack on Qiryat Shmona, by the way.

So what happens now in this game of “heads or tails”? Do ‘heads’ mean that soldier “A” is still alive and soldier “B” is not? Should a prisoner repatriation occur in the near future, who will come walking across to the Israeli side, and who will be carried over in a coffin?

The anguish that the Regev and Goldwasser families must be having is tragic indeed. And all of us can only sympathize with them and pray that it will all end soon, one way or another.

Yom Hazikaron 2007: Remembering also the living

Yom Hazikaron 2007
Israel prepares to honor its war dead and those killed in acts of terror at Remembrance Day 2007, also known as Yom Hazikaron. Coming just months after last summer’s Lebanon II war, the people of Israel have those killed in this unfortunate episode to add to many others who have fallen in battle or were killed by acts of terror since the founding of the state. Also to be remembered are the three captured Israeli soldiers: Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser, and Gilad Shalit. Shalit was captured in late June when his patrol unit was attacked on the border with Gaza; Regev and Goldwasser were captured by the Hezbollah July 12 on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon – an act which sparked a war that ended more than a month later with more than 150 Israelis killed, including 38 civilians from 4,000 Katyusha rocket attacks.

Since the early 1980’s and the war known as Operation Peace for Galilee, or Lebanon I, a number of Israeli soldiers have been reported as either missing in action or captured. So far, none of these soldiers have returned alive, and many, including Air Force Flight Navigator Ron Arad, have been missing for years. It was only in the Yom Kippur War that some captured prisoners were returned alive, many after spending several months as prisoners in either Egyptian or Syrian jails or prison camps.

The reality of this past and recent scenario is that Israeli soldiers captured alive do not appear to have much likelihood of ever coming home again to their families; alive that is.

Recent optimism concerning a prisoner exchange with the Palestinians for the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit seems to be constantly frustrated as demands made by the Hamas dominated Palestinian Authority for the inclusion of prisoners with “blood on their hands” are just not acceptable by Israel. In regards to the other two being held by the Hezbollah, their spiritual leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, knows how to play on the emotions of concerned relatives as they did several years back when the remains of three Israeli soldiers, and a reserve officer named Elhanan Tenenbaum, were exchanged for more than 1,000 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

On Sunday night, April 22, Yom Hazikaron will begin in Israel with a special memorial ceremony at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. While special remembrance flames will be lit there, and at numerous ceremonies around the country, we must all pause to say a prayer for the three captive soldiers and hope that they will soon be released and back with their loving families.

That’s what Yom Hazikaron is all about: not just to memorialize the dead, but to pray for the living as well.

Gilad Schalit Day 286 – Pair Of Glasses

Gilad Shalit Ynet Picture
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped 286 days ago today. Together with Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev (269 days), the guys are missing and we wait for their return. Read more about them here.
I read today that Gilad Shalit received his reading glasses. The glasses were sent to him 2 months ago by his father Noam, and he reportedly received them 2 weeks ago through Egyptian mediators. It took almost 2 months to get him a pair of reading glasses. I guess the Palestinians just don’t get it…

The Palestinians are tired of this whole hostage “thing” though and that is supposedly the good news. In a recent visit of the Chancellor of Germany, Angela apparently was mostly talking about Shalit and gave little attention to the Palestinian political issue to the extent that made the Palestinian very “disappointed”. She also didn’t hide her disappointment from Abu Mazen’s impotence and lack of ability in the Shalit kidnapping. I am sure that the Palestinians would like to get this whole “messy kidnapping thing” out of the way, after all, its difficult to be taken seriously as an actual law biding country when you go around kidnapping soldiers. Look at Iran, the spiritual and ideological leader, the sponsor, even he had to return the British hostages.

Light a candle for the missing soldiers

Since the abduction of IDF soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev more than five months ago, the citizens of Israel and pro-Israel communities around the world have been praying for their wellbeing. This Hanukkah – the holiday of lights – Ynetnews, in coordination with the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, invite you to light a Hanukkah candle in their honor.
As individuals our light is weak, but together we will shine brightly and light a huge flame to express our common concern and hope that Gilad, Ehud and Eldad return safely home.

Letter to an Okie

Some people I know from “the old country” had been planning a trip to Israel this fall, but cancelled it, partially due to the “injustice” of the war in Lebanon. The following letter is my reply:

Dear ……,

I’m also very sorry you guys decided to “delay” your trip here. Many tours and private visits were “delayed”, but on the other hand, many more visits have occurred; by non-Jews as well as Jews.

The circumstances which brought all of this about still plague this region and Americans may not have the true picture as most attention is now focused on events in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as with (Daffy Duck loving) Kim Jong Il in North Korea; not to mention Iran.

Letter to an OkieIsrael started the year with the best intentions, including new Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s pledge to begin a withdraw from parts of the West Bank, following the painful August 2005 disengagement from Gaza. This should have made the Palestinians happy. But what did they do? Why they attacked an Israeli patrol, killing several soldiers and capturing Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Israel reciprocated by attacking Gaza to pressure the Hamas-led government there into releasing Shalit. Israel also ‘invited’ several P.A. parliamentarians to be ‘guests’ of the IDF until the release of Shalit.

When all this maneuvering didn’t work, the good Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and the “Hezbollah Friendship Society” did some ‘maneuvering’ of their own by pulling off a similar attack on Israel’s northern border, also killing more soldiers and capturing two more: Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, both reserve soldiers (Goldwasser had only been married 3 months before this incident occurred). About the same time, the Sheikh and Co. launched a bunch of their famous pop bottle rockets into Israel, resulting in Israel attacking them big-time.

Now, bear in mind that the Hezbollah Friendship Society (H.F.S.), because they are so friendly, like to locate themselves in the middle of heavily populated areas (Like the old Jude n’Jody furniture commercials, they love folk). That’s why Israeli Aircraft had so much trouble in ‘rooting’ them out. That’s also why that well publicized incident occurred when that house containing all those poor people was bombed, killing many of them (much less than the erroneous Lebanese and Red Cross information noted, however).

Yes, Lebanon did get bombed a bunch and a lot of innocent folk got killed. A number of innocent Israelis got killed too, though much less. However, we did suffer a significant amount of property damage; and this included more than 10,000 square hectares of agricultural and timberland, much of which will take 50+ years to grow back. With all this said and done, The Sheikh is now a hero, and Israeli leaders including P.M. Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz are castigated as losers, with many crying for their dismissal. Goldwasser, Regev, and Shalit are still captured as well.

I think Bush is mad at Israel for not “stomping a mud-hole” in Hezbollah, as should have been done; but this may still happen, and the good Sheikh knows this all too well. That’s why he still is lying low. Real low!

Despite all those UNIFIL and so-called Lebanese Army troopers patrolling Lebanon’s border, Hezbollah still has another 10,000 or so pop bottle rockets left, plus some bigger stuff. Israelis now feel more vulnerable than ever before, with no effective ‘anti-pop bottle rocket’ defense in hand.

Besides we’re all looking East toward that country run by the Mullahs who aid and bankroll the H.F.S. They and that even friendlier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are conjuring up some even bigger pop bottle rockets with something even more powerful to eventually shoot at Israel. Only one of these going off, and it’s all over.

So, when you talk about peace and justice, the question to ask is peace and justice for whom?

I still think you should eventually plan a trip here, and then you will see all of the facts for yourself. You also need to see where it all began (Christianity), which was also during a very volatile time (the Romans were not nice guys).

Take care and have a happy Thanksgiving.

M

Israel’s Real Reality Show

IsraelRecently surfaced photos and video tapes of both Ron Arad and the three soldiers captured in October 2000 (Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham, and Omar Suwad), indicate only one very painful reality. That unfortunate reality is how Israeli POW’s, or captured soldiers are treated by their enemies especially those such as the Hezbollah.

Not that this is anything new, as even ‘formal’ enemies such as Syria and even Egypt were not so kind to captured Israeli soldiers who were their ‘guests’.

The clips showing the captured Israelis in 2000 were especially sad, as it was obvious that at least two of them were not only alive but able to walk, as they were “escorted” to the waiting jeep that was to take them to what was probably a very frightening and painful death.

The graphic reality of this matter is that despite more formal treaties such as The Geneva Convention, the terms and conditions regarding captured Israeli POW’s do not apply here. Not that Israel’s enemies are alone in this respect. Abuses to prisoners all over the world have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, and even in Europe, particularly in the Balkans. These new reminders, including the interview of Ron Arad, alleged to have occurred about two years following his capture in 1986, have a sad and heartbreaking effect on the families of captured soldiers, which has continued for years.

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