Update: It is too sad that this was written in 2009 and some four years later…things are not drastically different.
The Rockets Red Glare – December, 2009
Long before I’d heard of an Israel, Sderot, or Hamas, I lived in a country that sang of the rockets’ red glare. The country of my birth taught me about the concepts of democracy and freedom, and the need to stand and be counted among the voices of truth and justice.
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
It was all part of the concept of fighting for what you believe in, defending what is right, standing up for your country and knowing that freedom and democracy would triumph over terror and evil. Well, that apparently was then, and now in the country of my heart, our leaders fight for corruption and shirk their responsibility to defend our nation.
In Israel, the rockets’ red glare does not symbolize our freedom. Far from it. The red glare does not come from our army responding, but from incoming rockets that hit our cities. With each rocket that pounds into Israel, with each minute the army sits by and watches in frustration, the red glare is a mockery of our freedom, our right to defend ourselves. Yesterday, on a day Israelis hoped would be their one day off from the hectic work week, 15 kassem rockets and 26 mortars slammed into our country.
Today, even before 9:00 in the morning, 7 Kassam rockets exploded in Israel, 3 mortar shells hit our land. A house sustained a direct hit and a woman suffered from shock. A worker in a green house close to Gaza, working in Israel, on Israeli soil, was injured. And perhaps, as a parent the hardest to accept of all, an announcement from the Home Front, that children will not be allowed to play outside today in those areas bordering Gaza.
My children are far from Gaza, safe in their schools. They will go out into the sunshine today and play; they will not fear being attacked. They do not wait for the siren to wail and as their mother, as someone who has always wanted this for their children – the freedom to play and live in the sunshine of our homeland, I am shamed. My child has no right to the sun on a day when children in Sderot must be kept inside. I want to call the school and all the schools and tell them that all children should be kept inside today; it is a sign of our shame.
What should we do? The government is the first to announce that we really don’t want to fight, that we don’t want war. The government says we don’t want to cause Palestinian casualties and suffering. The government is wrong. Not because we want pain, suffering, and war, but because it should be Hamas that fears this, not us.
Let Hamas make these announcements; our government should be announcing unequivocally a firm deadline. It is amazing that Hamas has the power to start and stop the “relative calm” and we remain as puppets on a string. The government doesn’t have a clue how to stop the rockets and so, I feel that I must offer some assistance. It really is simple and quite absurd that I, a regular citizen, should need to list these things, quite embarrassing really, but what can you do? So here goes, Mr. and Ms. Ministers – here’s the plan to make the rockets stop and make the world aware of what is happening:
- The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations should be given a beeper. Each time a missile hits, he should be beeped immediately. During all General Assembly meetings, he should have two large signs on his table, One should say “Kassem fired at my country,” while another can say “Mortar fired at my country.” The minute his beeper vibrates (he should set it to vibrate and not ring in order to not bother the important proceedings), he should immediately raise the sign up high and leave it there for 3 minutes.
- The prime minister’s office should have a fax prepared “Gaza fired a rocket at my country” or “Gaza fired a mortar at my country.” Each time a rocket or mortar is fired, this fax should be stamped with the current date and time and sent to the leaders of the United States and many European countries. One fax for each rocket; it should be considered wrong to use the same fax for more than one. Of course, this is likely to be time consuming, so budget should be allocated to hiring an individual whose sole job will be to send faxes alerting world leaders what is happening.
- Make it clear that for each rocket we receive – we will respond. Start with power – for each rocket fired at us, cut the power to Gaza for one hour. Pick a number – any number between 1-5 and for each rocket over that amount, Gaza goes dark for two hours. Or send a power surge through the lines each time a rocket is fired – blow out some of their televisions, VCRs and computers.
- Each time a rocket flies and our children are sent to shelters, let an Israeli jet plane fly low and fast over Gaza and cause a sonic boom. It’s scary, it’s loud and yet unlike the rockets they unleash towards us, it causes no harm.
- Move artillery and tanks close to the border of Gaza and issue a warning. In fact, issue two warnings: stop the rockets or prepare for war and to the civilians, you’ve stood by and watched while terrorists fired at Israel, now you can stand by and be bombed, or you can leave. Tell the Egyptians to open the borders of Rafiach and let the civilians out.
- We have foolishly and recklessly released prisoners “in good faith” while waiting for some signal of humanity from our enemies. That makes them ruthless and us stupid. There will be no more early releases. There will be no good faith gestures.
The shame of the Israeli government knows no bounds. Beyond the corruption, beyond the placing of their political futures and parties above the interests of the nation, Kadima’s greatest sin is seen in its daily failure to act for the people. We saw this in the north during the Second Lebanon War and we see it daily now.
We have an army second to none in the Middle East. Use it. Let it do what it knows how to do. If Ehud Barak doesn’t have the guts to launch an attack against Gaza, he is no better than Amir Peretz before him.
Stop the rockets or bow your heads in shame and leave it to others. The rocket’s red glare streaks through the skies over Israel and causes terror, but it is the cowardly response that sickens and shames the people most of all.