When You Sleep With a Missile

By Paula R. Stern
July, 2006

Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman was just quoted as saying, “When you sleep with a missile, sometimes you may not wake up.” He then went on to ask when was the last time Hizbollah apologized for any injury to Israeli civilians. The answer is known to all of us, never.

Perhaps these difficult battles against Hizbollah in the north, Hamas in the south, and preventing terror attacks in our cities is not so much about where we fight as what we fight against. This is especially hard after the tragedy in Kfar Qana, but even more important now than ever to remember. On Friday, Hizbollah fired katyusha rockets into Nahariya and hit a hospital. Only by the grace of God and the army’s forward thinking had the hospital been evacuated previously and despite massive damage to the building, no loss of life occurred.

But there was no miracle in Kfar Qana today in Lebanon. Five days ago, the Israeli army warned residents to leave these villages. Satellite images publicized by the Israeli army show clearly what every resident of Kfar Qana could not have avoided knowing, that Hizbollah was using their village as a launching ground for at least 150 rockets fired into northern Israel. When you sleep with a missile…

Meanwhile, pictures continue to pour out of Lebanon that makes much of the world angry and at odds with Israel. What is missing, they claim is proportionality. It is wrong, says the world, to destroy a country for the lives of two or three soldiers. As always, the world is partially correct – what is missing is proportionality. BBC continues to show the bombed out remnants of buildings in Beirut, but fails to make it clear that they are centering their broadcasts from an area that compromises about 1% of the total land area of Beirut. The other 99% remains untouched because there are no Hizbollah targets there.

Our government and politicians are taking to the airwaves to explain to the world why we do what we do, and how we do it. Kofi Annan’s insulting comment that we hit a UN base in Lebanon on purpose shows the extent that Annan has been corrupted by his personal politics. The media shows pictures from Lebanon and the tens of thousands of fleeing Lebanese with little regard to the fact that more than 300,000 Israelis have fled the battle areas as well and more than a million others have spent days and nights in bomb shelters.

Pictures, the tool of the media, can be misleading, for all the thousand words they pretend to represent. Ultimately, perhaps the truth really lies in the words, the real words that leaders use to describe their goals. The General Secretary of Hizbollah, Hassan Nasrallah has summed up the battle we face on all fronts, “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win because they love life and we love death.”

Nasrallah is correct in that Jews love life, that we do all we can to preserve the lives of our people and of those we must battle. It is not our forces that hide weapons among civilians and shoot katyusha rockets at cities indiscriminately. It was Israel that warned the Lebanese civilians to leave Kfar Qana and the Hizbollah that prevented them from going. It was Israel that warned civilians to distance themselves from Hizbollah bases, and the UN that decided to leave their base so close to Hizbollah’s training camp. And finally, it was Hizbollah that chose Kfar Qana as a launching pad for those rockets, Hizbollah that used the houses of Kfar Qana to hide the missile launchers, and finally, Hizbollah that needs to explain the strange time difference between when Israel launched missiles in the vicinity of a house that only collapsed some 7 or 8 hours later.

But regardless of what happened in Kfar Qana, Nasrallah is right – we love life and they love death. But he is wrong in the conclusion he draws from this. Our loving life is not what makes us vulnerable, it is what makes us invincible.

And finally, Dan Gillerman is correct. “When you sleep with a missile, sometimes you may not wake up.”

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