Kassem and Katyushas

Yesterday and the day before, kassem rockets slammed into Israel from Gaza. Years ago, when we were all more naive than we are today, Labor Party Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was horrified at the thought that we would be subjected to a rocket attack from Gaza. If they dare, he was quoted as saying, it will be war.

Well, the kassems came from Gaza and killed and injured Israeli children. The mortars came and the kassems continued to come and an entire area has lived in terror for several years now.

How far can you run in 15 seconds? It sounds like a child’s riddle, a game you play. But the answer in Sderot is often, “not far enough.” You have 15 seconds, if you hear the Color Red siren, to find shelter.

Last summer, when katyusha rockets were falling in the north, much of Israel went about its business. It was strange to go sit in a business meeting, to stand in line at the post office, to go grocery shopping and to make a barbecue outside…all while thousands of katyushas were raining down on our northern brothers. It’s unthinkable that a nation should allow its people to be subjected to such a bombardment. What civilized nation would allow it? The answer, of course, is only Israel.

And today, a new red line has been crossed, a new atrocity against our country that, like the others, will pass in silence. The Ben-Eliezers of Israel hang their heads in silence – it doesn’t bring war. Even the injuring of more than 60 soldiers as they sleep doesn’t bring a response. Even the death of little four-year-old Afik Zahavi, the pride of his parents after many years of trying to have children, was not enough to trigger a meaningful response.

Yesterday it was kassems and mortars on Sderot. Today it was a katyusha near Netivot. Someone once was telling people how wonderful Israel was. People argued that he was blinded to the realities here and he responded, “I said Israel was the promised land, not the perfect land.”

And so, today, Israel remains promised, but not perfect as we wait to see how our government will respond to this latest escalation.

How far can you run in 15 seconds…too many of us may find out too soon…this too, is Israel.

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