Tag Archives: terrorism

Our Hope This Chanukah: “I Got You”

As bullets rained down during the San Bernardino shooting rampage, Shannon Johnson, 45, wrapped his left arm around 27-year-old Denise Peraza and held her close.

“I got you,” Johnson told her.

Peraza was shot once in the back and survived.

Johnson died.

Peraza, who is recovering from her injuries, shared her story of survival Saturday with reporters to honor Johnson.

-Sarah Parvini and Cindy Carcamo
“‘I got you’ are man’s last words to co-worker as bullets fly in San Bernardino rampage”
The Los Angeles Times

Johnson and Peraza
Photo: L.A. Times: Shannon Johnson, 45, left, and Denise Peraza, 27, right.

I suppose a lot of you reading this have heard the story, either in the news or through social media. Shannon Johnson’s photo has been all over Facebook and probably twitter and other media outlets as well. It should be.

I know that in a week, everyone will forget about Mr. Johnson, about Denise Peraza, the young woman whose life he saved, and (tragically) even about the terrorist massacre which took the lives 14 innocent people.

That’s human nature in the digital age. Our attention and even our compassion in fleeting. Once the event has passed, we crave another thrill served up for us by CNN or MSNBC.

More’s the pity.

But what’s worse than forgetting the victims is vilifying them. You can click the link to see the details. This man’s life and the fact that he wasn’t Jewish (although the news media misidentified him as such) has brought all of the Internet trolls out in force, including people I have known (via the web) personally. People who are otherwise decent human beings who find it necessary to desecrate the dead.

And on top of all that, the so-called press, if you can imagine a person like Linda Stasi qualifying as an “unbiased” reporter, are playing the blame the victim game from a different direction.

Every time someone says it was the victim’s fault he/she was shot, killed, raped, maimed because of their politics, their religion, their gender, or anything else, when they were, by definition, not the aggressor but the target of aggression, not only do we excuse the person or people or groups who/that were actually responsible for the attack, relieving them of any blame for their actions, we reveal ourselves to be, at best, morally and ethically confused, and at worst, cowards.

HopeThis is a season of hope, or it’s supposed to be. Chanukah is a reminder that even in the face of overwhelming odds, God will help His people not only survive, but prevail against armies and evil.

Another such “morally confused” individual who also happens to “report” on television news media has expressed concern that Americans pray to an anti-Muslim God. I’ll let you readers decide how you want to interpret that sentiment, but I don’t think it’s wrong to pray, not only for mercy, but for justice. God can decide what is just, and it shouldn’t be too hard for those of us who have been studying the Bible for a while to have some idea of what Hashem considers just in the affairs of the human race.

I could go on and on quoting people I find enormously misguided and yet who much of the public seems to hang by their every word, but I came to give hope, not despair.

More than that, I came to talk about how all of us can give hope, using Chanukah as our basic template, whether we’re Jewish or not (and I’m not).

Sara Debbie Gutfreund wrote a small article for Aish called 8 Ways to Turn Darkness into Light. I’m sure we have been staring into the darkness a great deal lately. There is much darkness in the world.

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Often, we respond to tragedy and despair with anger and outrage, and while this is perfectly understandable, it’s not always helpful.

Ms. Gutfreund’s list of eight items are:

  • Practice kindness
  • Reframe your goals
  • Living “as if”
  • Thinking creatively
  • Look through a spiritual lens
  • Embrace change
  • Connect to God
  • Love challenge

You can read her article to get the specifics, but it comes down to you and me having a personal responsibility to be the light that illuminates the darkness, to be a beacon of hope sweeping away heartache and grief.

lampThis is the same message Rabbi Benjamin Blech was explaining and why Chanukah is so important.

Not only that, our Rav taught his disciples something similar:

“No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.”

Luke 11:33-36 (NASB)

We have a very simple choice before us…simple to understand, but not always simple to perform. We have to choose if we want to be light or darkness. Which do you want to be and moreover, which one are you, based on your words (spoken and printed) and actions (the latter being more relevant than just what you want)?

Of course, often the people who embrace darkness imagine that they are actually representatives of the light. They’re sincere about it, too. No amount of talking, convincing, or arguing will change their minds or let them see themselves as the darkness desperately in need of light.

If some of them come along (and they have visited me here before), I know I won’t be able to convince them. Hopefully, they will show themselves wise and just hold their tongues (fingertips in the case of keyboarding).

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

-Abraham Lincoln

Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

Proverbs 17:28 (NASB)

Maybe that makes me a fool for even writing all this.

Johnson was identified as “a Christian who…dabbled in Hinduism,” whatever that might mean to you who are reading this.

But this is who he was to the woman he saved, Denise Peraza:

“This amazing, selfless man who always brought a smile to everyone’s face in the office … this is Shannon Johnson, who will be deeply missed by all … my friend, my hero.”

I’ve referenced a few people who represent the darkness but I won’t name the main participants, the terrorists. They’ve received enough recognition and I won’t give them more.

Alone in silenceIf I do want to preserve a single memory of this horrible event, I want it to be of Shannon Johnson who, while probably not a perfect person, and maybe you’d disagree with is religion or something else about his life, spent the last few moments of his life being the light. He wrapped his arms about Peraza and said, “I got you.”

These were his last words before his life but not his light went out of this world.

If he was and is a light, if, as disciples of our Rav, we also are to be lights, and if our Rav is a light, He is also the Light Who made it possible for one day’s supply of oil to burn for eight, purifying the defiled, returning the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to Hashem’s service.

It’s as if He said to the aged priest Matisyahu and his five sons, “I got you.”

Is it such a leap to believe, that when our own light is being threatened by the darkness, it can be reignited by those same words spoken to us?

When we cry, when our hearts are crushed, when we are overwhelmed by this nightmarish world, by overt evil that shoots a gun, and covert evil that kills with words, God whispers to each one of us out of the darkness, “I got you.”

Let your flame illuminate the abyss, banish the demons, and declare righteousness and justice for the oppressed and the grieving.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

light“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:3-12 (NASB)

“When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness.”

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

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Illuminating the Darkness

“When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness.”

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

In the wake of the devastating Islamic terrorist attack on the city of Paris, I really wish I could “illuminate the darkness,” as Rabbi Freeman suggests. But all I can see is the encroachment of that darkness on our world, the coming of destruction, the advent of great evil.

MessiahYesterday, I cried out how long, Moshiach…how long until you come? I know he heard. I know he will come. But how many more must suffer and die, how often must evil believe it has won because it stands unopposed, until Hashem has said it is enough, and the final war begins?

Insanity, from frivolity to massacre, rule our planet, and if I had to depend on the news media for my global view, I would believe there were no sane human beings left and that our world was already doomed.

And yet, these are the times when our faith is tested, when we have to face the question of whether God has abandoned us, or worse, that there is no God and we live in a universe where morality is always relative, and that one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. Or can we believe that this too indicates the birth pangs of the Messiah must become ever more severe before the time of his return?

If we can sustain our faith, we will believe the latter.

I want to illuminate the darkness, to sweep away despair, to shine like a light on a hilltop, but frankly, I’m not that heroic. All I can do is keep slogging away, moving forward, hip deep in mud, doggedly determined, and hope and pray I can keep going until the great and terrible day of the Lord.

I pray that for us all. I pray that for Paris, for those who continue to suffer in the aftermath of September 11th, for those who suffer everyday in Israel at the hands of terrorists…at the hands of evil.

In a statement attributed to Edmund Burke, Charles F. Aked, and others, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

I want to get political and say that the “good men” of our government habitually “do nothing,” but this war won’t be won by nations and political parties because it’s not a war of nationalities, but rather, of light vs. darkness, good vs. evil.

However, this isn’t to say we have no participation and that we must watch silently as this all plays out in the spiritual world. No, we are very much involved. People are dying. Our enemies are gloating. We must respond.

paris attacks
Credit: BBC News

But how?

Pray?

Yes, but as a meme I saw recently on the web stated, we must also be prepared for violence, and even for some of us, to do violence. Soldiers will fight in very human wars as they always have, and many more will die.

I don’t know what to do except what I am doing…writing. Pray for Paris, pray for the defeat of ISIS, but most of all, pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It’s not that God doesn’t weep for the people slain in France last Friday night, but we must admit that Israel, of all the nations, is at the center of His mind and heart and spirit. It is through the redemption of Israel that the rest of the nations will be redeemed.

It is in the war to defend Israel that Hashem, Master of Legions, will defeat all evil forever.

However horrible the terrorist attack against Paris is, it’s just another skirmish. The war is coming. We must be ready. We must be ready to give battle. We must be ready to be the light of the world. We must be the light of the world now, so the world, if it wills, will draw near the light of Moshiach, our master, our King.

peaceHe will prevail and in him, we will prevail as well. Indeed. We have already prevailed if we don’t wait for the peace of our Rav to come in the future but to seek it and embrace it now, even in the face of great adversity.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB)

What Can You Do For The Land Of Israel?

I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to emphasize how important our presence is in the land to the Israelis. (By ‘our’ I mean people living outside the land – whether Jew or Gentile.) So many people I spoke with feel alone, that the world doesn’t care. And what they see the world saying is that all the trouble in Israel is their fault.

Now, I am saying we take the place of God. But aren’t we, as followers of the Messiah, called to be the hands and feet of Hashem in this world? Isn’t it part of our job to love his people and support them? Isn’t that what Paul emphasized?

-Ro Pinto
“We Must Let Them Know”
Journey to Messiah

I suppose you know by now that Israel is suffering from the latest plague of terrorist attacks against its Jewish citizens. I also suppose you aren’t surprised that the news and social media are saying (again) it’s all Israel’s fault.

Given the nature of my blog, I can only believe that most of my regular readers are pro-Israel and support the defense of the Jewish people against their aggressors. Ro, in the blog post I quoted from above, suggested that one of the things we can do in support of Israel is to visit the Land, just as she did a short time ago (and about which she blogged prolifically).

So what can we do? Most of us aren’t in a position financially or in terms of our schedules, to hop a transatlantic flight and vacation in Israel for a couple of weeks. How else can we show our support?

seven things israelI read Ro’s blog when she originally published it to the web, but didn’t consider passing along her message until today when I read an article from the Chabad with the title 7 Things You Can Do for Israel.

This list is definitely written for religious Jews, so not everything applies to the rest of us, but here it is (click the link I provided above to get the full details):

  1. Take Up a “Call to Arms”
  2. Share the Power of Light
  3. Check Your (Spiritual) Security System
  4. Pray
  5. Be Financially Supportive
  6. Nurture Your Faith
  7. Get a Letter

Some items on that list may seem pretty obscure so I’ll expand on them a bit.

The “call to arms” is to help any Jewish man or boy over age 13 put on tefillin. That’s not something we non-Jews get much of an opportunity to do, nor is it something non-Jewish males typically perform (with a few exceptions, or so I’m told).

Sharing the power of light is lighting the Shabbos and holiday candles and encouraging Jewish girls and women to do so. Again, not something most non-Jewish believers tend to perform and we typically aren’t in a position to suggest to Jews that they do so.

The “Jewish security system” is the mezuzah. Because my wife is Jewish, we have a mezuzah attached to pretty much every doorway in our home (bathrooms are the exception). I’ve been told that when a Jew sells his or her home, they leave the mezuzot (plural of mezuzah) in place if another Jew is buying the home, and remove them if a non-Jew is the buyer (because it won’t be a Jewish home anymore).

prayerPraying for Israel is the first item on the list that’s freely accessible to any religious person, and we can certainly encourage others to pray for Israel and the Jewish people as well.

The Chabad article has various links to charitable organizations anyone can donate to for the benefit of Jewish victims of terrorism. You can also do your own research and determine for yourself where you want to give your tzedakah (the word translates commonly as “charity” but also means “justice”).

Nurturing your faith has to do with a Jewish person encouraging more religious observance and acts of faith with their own family and friends, specifically as it relates to a Jew’s connection to Israel.

While we non-Jews don’t have the same connection to the Holy Land, it would be inaccurate to say we don’t have a connection at all. Hashem established Israel for the Jewish people but He also commanded the Jewish people to be a light to the world. That light comes most strongly from Israel and from our Rav, Yeshua (Jesus).

Further, in His grace and mercy, Hashem has extended the promise of the resurrection, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit even to the Goyim, so how could we not be attached to Rav Yeshua, whose symbolic, sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection have opened the door to redemption for any who would repent and come to faith.

We can encourage our own family and friends to embrace their faith in our Rav by expressing clear support of Israel in any manner we have available to us. No congregation that pays homage to Yeshua, which includes any Christian church, should fail to support the nation of the Jews in any way.

torah up closeGetting a letter is unique. Special Torah scrolls are being written in Israel, and the Chabad article says that any Jewish person may purchase a letter being written in a scroll. The way the form is set up, asking for the Jewish name of the person for whom the letter is being purchased, as well as the Jewish mother’s name and so on, I don’t think a non-Jew would be permitted to do this.

On the other hand, we can certainly pass along this information to any Jewish people we know who we believe would be interested.

The article finishes up with the suggestion that we pass this along in social media or anyplace else that Jewish people might see it and act.

I’m writing all this not to make any non-Jew reading it feel discouraged by what they can’t do for Israel. After all, Chabad is in the business of drawing Jewish people to Jewish faith and observance, not Gentiles (though I suppose they’d have an opinion on what a Noahide could do).

I’m writing today to show that we do have options in supporting the Land and the Jewish people. As Ro suggested, we could visit Israel and show our financial (by purchasing goods and services during our visit), emotional, and spiritual support. If we are in a position to do so, we can find some way to support any Jewish people in our local communities who we may know, to greater levels of Jewish observance. We can certainly pray, donate to Israeli charities helping terror victims, and encourage other believers to support Israel as an act of our faith (the last being a great way to educate others at your church or congregation).

Non-Jewish disciples of Rav Yeshua call ourselves Christians, or sometimes believers, followers, or even “Messianic Gentiles.” We are who we are. We are not Jews and we are not Israel. But we can stand by Israel, even if we don’t know a single Jewish person, and do something to support a Land under attack, not just by human terrorism and world-wide public condemnation, but by ancient forces of spiritual evil.

I don’t often write about “supernatural forces” but let’s face it. Our physical world is an extension of a spiritual reality and of powers and events long foretold by the Biblical prophets. We know that bad things are coming for the Jewish people, for Israel, and ultimately for the whole world.

IsraelThis is as good a time as any to stand up and be counted on the side of good…the side of God.

Tag. You’re it. Pass this along.

This is just the short list. For more, read 54 Ways You Can Help Israel and find out which ones you can do…and then do them.

Addendum: Just saw this link on Facebook about helping victims of terrorism and thought I’d share.

The Torah viewpoint is that the Almighty constantly creates the entire world and everything in it for each individual. This concept has the potential to give a person immense pleasure. Think about it for a moment. The Almighty — Creator and Sustainer of the universe — is constantly creating for you the sun, the moon, and all the other worldly phenomena. He is constantly bestowing upon you life, and every single second He supplies you with your needs.

(see Rabbi Noson Tzvi Finkel; Tnuas Hamussar, vol.3, p.202; Gateway to Happiness, p.36)

-Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Aish.com

The Lie Being Told about Ferguson and Israel

This is one of those rare occasions when The Mike Report is speechless. These photos were taken in downtown Seattle earlier this evening in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury verdict. Upset with the verdict in Missouri? Then boycotting Israel makes perfect sense.

The banner was carried by members of the Palestine Solidarity Committee. The same group was associated with protests this Summer in downtown Seattle which featured swastikas and comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany.

-from “And Now they Blame Ferguson on the Jews”
The Mike Report

“When in doubt, blame the Jews.”

-commenter on Twitter

I feel just a tiny bit guilty about posting this one because a “morning meditation” (or “extra meditation” as the case may be) should be about something encouraging that inspires us to launch into our day with renewed energy and purpose. This one feels like it’s either a downer or something to make you mad.

It made me mad. It made me even more mad when I posted a link to the article on Facebook and was chastised by a lone “moral” warrior who wanted to argue that it wasn’t really about blaming the Jews, and then he just wanted to argue and argue for the sake of being a nudnik.

Or so it seems.

Anyway, I’m not going to comment about Ferguson. I didn’t follow it closely on the news so I’m not exquisitely familiar with all of the intimate details of the case. I only know some rough outline of the facts surrounding the shooting and the verdict coming from the grand jury.

And the riots and looting.

However, I am concerned about two things.

The first is the blatant and totally erroneous comparison between whatever happened in Ferguson and its consequences and the perception that the nation of Israel and the Jewish people are doing some sort of injustice to the “Palestinians.” What does one have to do with the other? The other is the associated fallout on Jews and Jewish institutions (synagogues, Jewish schools, the JCC) in America. Any attempt to associate Ferguson and Israel is a desperate ploy by the Seattle protesters to “blame the Jews” for just about everything, riding the coat tails of a current crisis in America to mobilize the emotions of those people angry at the verdict and redirect that anger against Israel. What crimes will be committed against innocent Jewish people as a result?

And some people are going to fall for it. Some otherwise well meaning, compassionate, and caring people are going to “knee-jerk” a reaction and say that the Jewish people and the nation of Israel can be compared to Ferguson (and remember, that situation has been manipulated by the media, too). We don’t have to be bad people to do wrong, we just have to be sheep.

I’d love to write a scathing rebuttal, but someone who is smarter than I am and a better writer than I am did it almost four months ago. I won’t quote the entire article here, but let me get you started:

By supporting Hamas, you are supporting the use of Palestinians as human shields, the use of Palestinian children to dig terror tunnels in which 160 have died, and the summary execution of Palestinians by Hamas thugs whenever they open their mouths to protest the use of their homes, school, mosques, or hospitals as weapons caches and missile launching sites.

I’m not sure the people who need to hear this will ever hear it, but I want my conscience to be clear that I said it to them.

Dear Human Rights Activist, Leftist Liberal, Crying-for-the-poor-children, Israel-hating, Hamas-forgiving, marcher, celebrity, news anchor, journalist, writer, media star, politician, head of state. We have seen you marching along the streets of Europe, America, and the Middle East with your signs and kafias and Palestinian flags. We have heard you screaming to whoever will listen that Jews and Israelis are murderers, war criminals, and baby killers.

You think you are telling us who we are. But actually, you are telling us who you are.

-Naomi Ragen
“This Is What You Are Really Telling Us,” August 1, 2014
NaomiRagen.com

Please click on the link and read the entire article. It’s not very long. Especially if you’ve disagreed with everything I’ve written in this blog post, please, please click the link and read. You really need to see what Ragen has to say. I (vainly) hope it opens your eyes.

Justice isn’t what NBC or CNN tells you it is. It isn’t what you view on television. It isn’t at your favorite online news venues. It’s in the real world. You’ll have to work to find it.

If you accept what the mass media tells the masses without question, then you are telling the rest of us something about you and frankly, that scares me half to death.

For more about the media and Israel, read If CNN Had Reported The Crucifixion at the Rosh Pina Project.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

BTW, considering the subject of the kingdom of heaven and the establishment of the physical messianic kingdom on earth in Israel, at present and during the past couple of hours a large area of southern Israel has been under heavy bombardment by missiles fired from Gaza. I’ve spent a portion of that time in my home’s concrete-reinforced shelter room. So far, all but a few of these missiles have been intercepted and destroyed by the Iron Dome defense system (Baruch HaShem!). The few that landed have not injured anyone or caused serious damage. They have reached, however, as far as the northern suburbs of Jerusalem, as well as to Tel-Aviv, and the alert sirens have blared from BeerSheva to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. Hamas claims to have fired toward Haifa, but I have not yet seen any reports confirming that their missiles can actually reach that far. Nonetheless, this is a time for intensive prayer for the continued protection of Israeli citizens, and success for the IDF efforts to destroy Hamas’ capabilities to continue waging war against civilian populations in this or any manner.

-ProclaimLiberty
July 8, 2014 at 3:12 p.m.

It all seemed to start with the kidnapping and subsequent murder of three Jewish teenagers, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah, perpetrated by Hamas terrorists. This horrible and tragic event brought Israeli Jews and Jews in the diaspora together in a way that hasn’t happened for a long time. While the IDF made a concerted effort to find the perpetrators, the military and public response was remarkably restrained. Believe me, as a father and grandfather, if one of mine were brutally murdered in what we call in the United States, “a hate crime,” I’d have wanted blood.

But I’m not as noble as the families of the victims.

Apparently in revenge for the killings, a 16-year-old Palestinian named Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and found burned to death. Although there were early allegations that Abu Khdeir, supposedly gay, had been murdered by other Palestinians in an “honor killing” and then blame shifted to Jewish Israelis, the latest report is that six Jewish suspects were arrested. It is still highly disputed in some circles that the suspects are the actual killers and that police are covering up for Arab perpetrators, perhaps to stop or at least inhibit the Palestinian rioting that has broken out since Mohammed’s burnt body was discovered.

I heard that one of the mothers of the Jewish victims reached out to Mohammed’s mother, but I can’t find that story online just now (speaking of people more noble than I am), but I do know that Mohammed’s parents refused a visit by President Shimon Peres. In fact, unlike the mothers of the Jewish boys, Mohammed’s mother called for violent revenge against Jews.

Women from Mohammed Abu Khdeir's family hold pictures of the killed Palestinian teenager
Women from Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s family hold pictures of the killed Palestinian teenager

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know where my bias lies in all this, but I’m not writing my “meditation” to bash Palestinians, but rather, to try to put all of this together.

Rabbi Kalman Packouz was recently taken to task by one of the readers of his column at Aish.com for condemning the murders of Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal, but not Mohammed’s.

I received the following email from Judith R. in response to my recent Shabbat Shalom Weekly:
“And no word condemning the despicable murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and referring to him by his name??? What kind of Rabbi are you? Wasn’t he also created in God’s image?”

Of course she is right.

The juxtaposition of attitudes is startling.

But “attitudes” aren’t all people are worrying about in Israel just now.

Some 120 rockets from Gaza were fired at Israel on Tuesday, the first day of the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge.

IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner told the AFP news agency that 23 of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, with most of the rest exploding on open ground causing no damage or casualties.

Hamas upped the ante on Tuesday and extended the range of the rockets.

-Elad Benari
“120 Rockets Fired at Israel During Day 1 of Operation”
First published 7/9/2014, 1:15 a.m.
Arutz Sheva

Hamas has vowed revenge after an attempt to use Palestinian civilians as human shields resulted in several fatalities, as Israeli Air Force planes targeted the home of a Hamas commander.

Gazan emergency services claim Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 15 people on Tuesday and wounded 80 others, as the military began an aerial campaign against terrorists in the Strip and prepares for a potential ground offensive.

-Ari Soffer, Dalit Halevi, and AFP
“Hamas Vows Revenge After Use of Human Shields Goes Awry”
First published 7/8/2014, 5:29 p.m.
Arutz Sheva

Struggling to maintain the banner of ‘resistance’, the Gazan terror group is firing at Israel in the hope Ramallah and Cairo will hear its plea for help.

-Elhanan Miller
“Hamas decides to go for broke”
Published 7/8/2014, 4:02 p.m.
Times of Israel

Smoke rises from Gaza airport
Smoke rises from Gaza airport

And America’s response to all of this?

Hamas terrorists kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers, one of whom was a U.S. citizen.

These jihadist terrorists murdered kids. Yet, the reaction of the Obama Administration has been an absolute disgrace.

Remember, a U.S. citizen was just murdered (along two other Israeli teens) by Palestinian terrorists – known brutal terrorist who routinely fire rockets at Israeli civilians – and the Obama Administration responded by urging restraint.

In fact, President Obama actually urged “all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.”

Destabilize? Hamas terrorists killed an American teen and all this Administration is concerned about is that things may destabilize?

-Matthew Clark
“President Obama Responds to Hamas Terrorists’ Murder of American Teen with “Strongest Possible” Meaningless Words”
July 1, 2014, 12:47 p.m.
ACLJ.org

OK, that last story is over a week old, but to the best of my information, America hasn’t become more involved diplomatically or in any other way since Hamas started firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians in an all out attempt to provoke other Arab forces to join the violence against Israel.

I do know that although the American press was exceptionally silent about the death of the three Jewish teens, it prominently posted stories regarding Mohammed:

Several Israeli Jewish suspects were arrested Sunday in connection with the killing of a Palestinian teen, Israeli police said.

“Investigation continuing, strong indication a nationalistic incident,” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted about the death of Mohammed Abu Khedair.

Rosenfeld told CNN that those arrested were Israeli Jews.

-Kareem Khadder, Ben Wedeman, and Steve Almasy CNN
“Israel arrests several suspects in killing of Palestinian teen”
updated 11:21 a.m., Monday, 7/7/2014
CNN.com

New arrivals at Ben Gurion airport
New arrivals at Ben Gurion airport

If I can be said to have a bias in this situation, so can the American news media…and perhaps the American President.

Amazingly, even in the midst of a war zone, life goes on in Israel:

Making Aliyah is never an easy task, and leaving family, friends and memories behind is enough of a challenge for any new oleh.

But imagine making Aliyah under fire.

That is precisely what 26-year-old Becky Kupchan – one of the 64 new olim who arrived today from the USA – is doing. She is moving from Chicago straight to the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, despite the fact that the city, like other Negev communities, is currently being rocked by waves of rocket-fire from Gaza.

-Ari Soffer
“Making Aliyah Under Fire”
First published 7/8/2014, 8:06 p.m.
Arutz Sheva

Where am I going with all this? By the time you read this tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, everything I’ve written will be old news. Things could get better or things could get worse. Or things could get much, much worse.

I think of my friends in Israel. I won’t embarrass anyone by naming names. But I’m not limited to my personal feelings for friends and acquaintances. If Israel is under attack, then so are all Jews everywhere. My wife is Jewish. So are my two sons and my daughter. At different times, my wife and my daughter have visited Israel. What if they were visiting there now?

But as I said, Jews are under attack all over the world. If Arab Muslims are firing rockets at Jews in Israel, they are at war with all Jews. The rest of the world, if they/we don’t stand up against terrorism and against this rabid series of rocket launches, are offering tacit approval of this war.

And what’s going to happen when Israel seriously strikes back as the operation continues? If this were happening in America, how long would even the person we have now in the White House stand by and let innocent people be endangered before firing back with all the might in our arsenals, eliminating the hostile forces and everything (everyone) else in the way?

Most of you reading this blog post have never been under fire unless you have served in the military or in law enforcement. How would you like to hear a siren in the middle of the night and have fifteen seconds to get to shelter because after that, it becomes distinctly possible you could be killed in a missile explosion?

Such things don’t happen in America, in Canada, in most or all western nations. They are happening right now in Israel.

pray for the idfIt started (this time) with an act of terrorism and cold-blooded murder that took the lives of three innocent Jewish teenage boys. It escalated with what appears to be a completely misguided revenge killing of another innocent teenager, a Palestinian. And then all hell broke loose.

I can only record how this began, I can’t tell you how it will end. Well, I can tell you that it will end, ultimately end.

“A song of ascents. Of David. Had it not been for Hashem Who was with us, let Israel declare now. Had it not been for Hashem Who was with us when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us raw when their anger was kindled against us. Then the waters would have washed us away; illness would have passed over our soul. Then the wicked waters would have passed over our soul. Blessed is Hashem, Who did not give us as prey for their teeth. Our soul escaped like a bird from the hunters’ snare; the snare broke, and we escaped. Our help is in the name of Hashem, Who made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 124

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee.

Psalm 122:6

The Morality of Israel…Yes, You Can Depend On It.