Saturday, January 14, 2017

Top 10 Reasons Not to Go to Paris

Paris is supposed to be an amazing city. I was there once. For 24 hours. It wasn't great. The people were really nasty - from the snotty municipal worker who refused to give me directions because my French wasn't accented properly, to the inconsiderate cleaner at the airport who carefully smashed her broom into garbage cans near benches where people were sleeping, but quietly circled the cans where the benches were empty (I kid you not...we watched this for 15 minutes till we realized and confirmed the pattern). Maybe they just don't like tourists. Maybe they don't like Americans. Or maybe they just don't like Jews. Who knows?

What I do know is that this coming week is a great time for Israelis NOT to go to Paris. Even more specifically, the Paris "Peace" Summit where 70 nations will gather in order to declare that they have found the secret to Middle East peace without having to even bother checking with Israelis or Palestinians. Of course, their arrogance makes sense - after all, they won't have to live with the agreement they dream up and it won't be their people being buried...maybe...yet.

So, as we begin the week, here are the top 10 reasons why Israel should not attend the Paris “Peace” Summit:

10. The results are a foregone conclusion. Israel will be condemned; Palestinians will be rewarded. Israel will be admonished; the Palestinians will be praised. Same old, same old. Why bother to give them the satisfaction of being in the room when they blabber?

9. All that is wrong, the entire conflict, will be blamed on the settlements – never mind the fact that Arabs were waging terror attacks in the 1920s and 1930s. Forget that they attacked Israel in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. It’s all because of settlements that didn’t even exist when the conflict began. When you start with the wrong assumptions, there's almost zero chance of getting to the right conclusion.

8. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 proved that Israel cannot rely on its “trusted” friend, the United States – at least not for another six days. Why give Obama his final revenge?

7. France is not safe for Jews and Israelis – the less we all go there, the better. And, as it happens, Paris especially seems to have too many random attacks against Jews. As they set up a massive terror target, why would we trust our security to French security forces. No, not. No way. If something's going to happen there, we really don't want to be there.

6. I heard John Kerry might be there and statistics show that whenever John Kerry opens his mouth, the blood pressure of most Israelis goes up.

5. Because the solution to the long-lasting Arab-Israeli conflict has never rested in the hands of France or the US, Russia, China, Senegal, Germany, England, or New Zealand.

4. Because sometimes the best answer is the one delivered from far off – and the answer really is simple. It is to live here in our land and do what we have been doing forever – living. That's what Israelis will be doing this week - going about our normal lives, celebrating simply the way we live.

3. Because the weather is nicer here in Israel, the views so much more ours. Just think - you could be looking at John Kerry's face, or the golden walls of Jerusalem. Well, duh!

2. Israel shouldn’t go to Paris because it’s time for the Palestinians to make a move towards peace, time for THEM to make concessions, offers, good will gestures. We’ve done all of that and nothing was gained. Their turn.

and, the number 1 reason why we shouldn’t go to Paris is…


Because every step we take in this land, every day we spend here, every breath we take in Israel, is a blessing, a present, a statement, a promise.

Israel is eternal; the rest of those guys who will meet in France? Not so much.

So, have your party, condemn us, threaten us, sanction us, hate us. You’ve been doing that for more than 2,000 years, do you really think this meeting in Paris will make any difference?

Monday, January 9, 2017

What would happen if...

Yesterday, four soldiers were murdered by an Arab who decided that ramming his truck would in some way serve his god. A dozen more were wounded, most lightly. This morning, I got a note from a father asking what would happen if...

He doesn't live in Israel, though his son has come here alone to serve. If the son is here, there's a really good chance it is because his parents instilled in him a love of this land, and a belief that it is his job to serve it.

He must have seen the video, or at least the pictures and his first thought, as mine has been too many times, was...how would I know? Imagine four sets of parents yesterday, going about their day. Really not much to worry about - their children were in a training course to be officers...they weren't even combat soldiers. More, they were on a "culture" day - a day where they are taken to places of historic and cultural significance. See, learn, understand why you are defending this land.

So they came to Jerusalem...and they died. More, they were murdered. And at the moment their children died, they were going about their normal day.

To a parent, it seems unthinkable. How could I be taking a shower, eating lunch, playing a game on my phone in that second when life changes forever?



How will I know if he is hurt or killed, the father asked me. I couldn't even bring myself to address the second so I started with the first.

It will depend how bad it is. They won't want to waste time so they will call. If your son is well enough to speak on the phone, they'll put him on. Hearing his voice, will keep you calm. And then someone will explain what has happened. And I believe the Israeli consulate or embassy will help make arrangements and likely pay for you to fly here to be beside him.

And worse? Then the army will call the Consulate or Embassy and they will send someone, perhaps even find your local rabbi and ask him to come along. They will deliver the bad news and they will leave and you'll never see them again. In your mind, these are bad people who delivered news that destroyed you. And so Israel will send a second team to take care of logistics. At least that is how it is in Israel.

Abroad - they will help you get here, help you make arrangements. If...

I told him Israel would take care of everything. If..

For four families, if happened yesterday and they make my words a mockery. When your world crumbles, does it really matter if others are there to "take care of everything?"

I've been thinking about "if" since my children were little. Sometimes, it is a passing thought that comes and goes in a moment. Once at 6:30 a.m., a policeman knocked on my door and when I opened it, my heart felt like it had stopped beating. I looked at him and my mind whirled - where are each of my children? Why is he here?

He asked if we were a certain family. It took me a moment to realize he was using th ename of the people who lived in the house before us. Apparently, in addition to making our lives miserable during the sale of the house, they also never bothered to change their legal address and so when their car alarm went off (right outside the apartment where they now live a few blocks away), the police looked up the car and came to my house.

The policeman apologized and asked if I knew where they now live - "where the car is," I told him.  Could he possibly know what I'd been thinking?

I remember many years ago, there was a brutal terror attack and 7 young girls were murdered while on a school trip. I cried for hours then and as my husband tried to comfort me, I remember asking him, "How...how do parents say good bye to their children in the morning as they leave home...and then bury them that night?" How?

I pray with everything inside me never to know the answer to that. Just explaining to the father this morning filled my eyes with tears. May we never hear that knock; may we never know the pain. May soldiers never come to my door and destroy my world.

Please God watch over our sons and daughters. They are so precious. So so precious.

May God watch over the souls of Shir and Erez and Yael and Shira and may You send a speedy recovery to the wounded.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Chain of Command

I can't think of what to add to this. I knew the ending...there could be no other...and still, it felt too real to ignore. It's silly...until you realize it's not at all funny. It's too tragically true.

No, I don't think it's actually gotten to the top level shown here...but how far up does it go? And will the end change? Ever?

Today, this is what happened...soldiers were left to die. A few people have written that the soldiers were cowards. I promise you, they were not. In a few days, David goes back to the army after a few weeks break. If I could, I think I would try to pull him out. He's dedicating to serving this land...but how dedicated is this land in honoring and protecting him. That is the question that will go all the way up this chain of command.

Thoughts of Another Terror Attack

Today, there was a terror attack, similar in so many ways to the one I lived through. No, I wasn't there, and like today, Elie wasn't there. He wasn't...but he could have been...then and now.

Nine years ago, I was sitting in a restaurant in Eilat celebrating my anniversary with my husband when my phone beeped. The short version of the story was that my son's unit had gone to Jerusalem to take part in the "slichot" (special prayers before the Jewish New Year) and on the way, a terrorist who was in a bad mood because his family decided he couldn't date his cousin (I kid you not), decided to take out his anger by ramming his family's reinforced BMW into a group of artillery soldiers - Elie's unit.

Elie was not there, but he could have been. Elie was not hit, but 23 other soldiers were. Like today, the driver was bent on murder and attempted to put the car in reverse to run over (again) those that he'd plowed through.

Unlike today, many soldier's in Elie's unit quickly opened fire and the terrorist was killed within seconds. No soldier was hit again - all lived.

In that incident, when asked what happened, the commanding officer stood up and lied through his teeth. "I shot the terrorist," he admitted.

Who fired? He was asked.

Me, he answered.

Who else? He was asked.

Me, he answered.

And so, by the conclusion of that incident, it was reported that the commander had fired and killed the terrorists - from about 17 different angles, simultaneously.

The body of the terrorist, riddled with dozens of bullets, was returned to his family. They even complained about the condition of the body. No one died in that attack...because no one ran.

The Chief of Staff and all the way down, stood up for the soldiers in Elie's unit and the Palestinians backed down. There was no international tribunal - after all, the only one that died was the terrorist who had tried to kill the soldiers.

Late in the middle of the night, as the soldiers in Elie's unit were returning to base, hours and hours after the attack, I spoke to Elie, only then learning it was the soldier's from his unit. I listened, thanked him for calling, closed the phone and barely breathing, I picked up my computer and let myself out of the hotel room so as not to awaken my sleeping husband of 25 years.

I went down to the lobby and started to write. It's what I do when I get upset. And the first thing I wrote was "It could have been Elie." And then I started to cry. I cried as I typed, wiping away the tears that wouldn't stop.

Finally, the tears dried and I continued. People passed me sitting in the hotel lobby and asked if there was internet; the guard came over and asked if I was okay. On and on, I answered questions as if nothing had happened but inside I was screaming.

Click here to read: It could have been Elie.

Nine years ago, it could have been Elie...and again today when he rode his bicycle down to our accountant, about 10 minutes from where the attack took place. An attack in which an Arab rammed his vehicle into a crowd of soldiers, as one did nine years ago.

An attack in which one soldier is seen running towards the attack, only to stop and turn back. And then dozens of others are seen running away while in the background you can see that the truck that rammed into the soldiers is reversing to try to hit the downed soldiers again. The terrorist tied that nine years ago and failed. Today, he succeeded. Nine years ago, the soldier stood and took a stand, defending their fallen comrades. Today, they ran.

As the horror of what happened today unfolds, I'm left with one thought.

Nine years ago, I believe Elie would have been one of the commanders who opened fire had he been there instead of the operation he was on in a nearby Arab village rather than with his unit in Jerusalem.

Today, I believe Elie would have been one of the ones who would have fired. Because he had commanding officers who stood in front of his men, not behind them, because he was taught that you fight to live, not run. He was taught that if you run, others could die. Today, others died.

And the reason they ran is clear to everyone. If it wasn't clear, five ex-IDF chiefs wouldn't have felt the need to try to come and protect their own. Frankly, their action disgusts me and as a mother, I would ask them why, instead of fighting for Gadi Eisenkot, they didn't put the same effort into fighting for our children. They were attacked today - and they suffered.

And, if Gadi Eisenkot were to be believed, they are not our children. They are adults. For that alone, he should resign. So, shame on Eisenkot and shame on you five.


The Price of Elor

Sometimes we hear things and we don't know if they are true...but we fear they might be.

There was a terror attack this morning. News said a truck rammed into 12 people....then it said 3 were killed and 15 wounded....now I am hearing 4 dead. As suspected, it appears that the victims are mostly soldiers.
You can always count on BBC to slant
the news. After all, five dead children...
really - soldiers, but children...and BBC
writes about the truck driver.

Apparently the driver was shot and killed.

Apparently not by the soldiers but by a civilian that was there.

Apparently the soldiers turned and asked their commanding officer if they should fire.

I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Defense, the Chief of Staff (OMG, resign NOW or be fired!). I would like to congratulate the judges, the media - Haaretz who led the cry in Hebrew and Times of Israel who led the battle to lynch the soldier in English.

Congratulations to all of you. Apparently, we have already begun to pay the price for Elor Azarya's conviction.

Four dead...five in critical condition.

Each...each...each...the price for Elor...too damn high, too damn soon.

Oh and there - to the side - that's how BBC reported it...

The pain is unbearable. Our hearts are breaking. We knew we would pay, but we didn't expect it this darn soon.

Breathe...Breathe...Breathe

Elie called a few minutes ago. "You can open the news now," he told me.

My heart sank, my thoughts just froze. "What happened?" I asked, knowing, already knowing.

"Ramming attack in East Talpiot." Not far from where Elie was going to drop off materials for the accountant.

Not far.

There are 10 people who have been wounded; two are in critical condition.

UPDATE: I'm hearing 4 people have been killed. May God avenge their blood....


It is assumed it was a terror attack...the terrorist has been shot.

I opened the news, the sickness sinking down into my stomach. And I looked at the picture - so many soldiers gathered around the scene.

They haven't identified the wounded yet.

Elie was so close...so scary. And Charlie lives near there. And Sara. And Benny isn't far from there on a regular basis. And Sapir. I was there two weeks ago...Elie was there now.

How long can this go on? When the sun is shining and a new week has begun. When my thoughts are leading to next week, when David goes back to the army to begin his last year. When I just want to enjoy Shmulik's new baby, and Elie's darling daughter, and Amira's two amazing and smart sons. When I'm organizing a conference and another trip and I have to write that proposal that I've been delaying.

Why now? Why? Oh God, I think it was soldiers...inside I'm crying and screaming and I'm tired. And angry. Rain is coming but it's sunny today, a beautiful, crisp winter day in Israel and a truck driver decided that he could serve his god by ramming a bunch of kids in green uniform.

Ramming attack. Jerusalem - the holiest city in the world, desecrated again by those who believe in death and not life.

May God send a speedy recovery to the injured and may God send the terrorist to ever-lasting hell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Fundamental Truth About Israel's Soldiers

On the worst days, comes the need to remember the greatest blessings. That is my thought as this difficult day fades away and we look to tomorrow.

I'm angry, I'm sad. I can't believe the idiocy of punishing a soldier for shooting a terrorist and I'm terrified of the time I know is coming - when a soldier will hesitate and, God forbid, pay the ultimate price. The "victim" in this incident was no victim. He was a confirmed terrorist who had just stabbed a soldier.

And as Israel stood braced and waiting for the verdict, the media and the police were made to look like fools. As the morning dragged on and elements of the verdict were announced, the nation of Israel, once again, stood in unity. As we do for all times we are hit, though usually the strikes come from our enemies, not from our own judges.

Reporters stood outside the building where the verdict predicting that violence would rage...not even close. Some of the commentators even said, "they're just singing and dancing."

The police tore down a sign that they said promoted incitement. The sign said, "We love you, Elor". What incitement? What violence? More importantly, why? Why would you want to stop our sons from defending themselves? Why do you value a terrorist's life over the danger of a soldier's death?

Yesterday, the Chief of Staff said this young man was not a boy, but a soldier and he was not "everyone's son." By and large, Israel rejected that notion, which speaks more about how little Gadi Eisenkot knows about Israel, than about the feelings of our nation.

What Eisenkot and the reporters missed is that one of the reasons that the army is so strong is because of the motivation of our soldiers and the loyalty and dedication of the commanders. A soldier must have absolute faith in his commanding officer - and today, that faith was shaken. Our soldiers don't have the luxuty of fighting in some war thousands of miles from where they live. In every sense of the word, they are defending their families, their homes.

On the day Elie was called to leave his wife and mobilize with his unit to fight in Operation Pillar of Defense, as he was quickly packing his things, our city was attacked. Sirens wailed as we rushed to the bomb shelter and a few days later, it happened again and we heard the explosion of the Iron Dome knocking a missile out of the sky.

It was my son,Elie, that day and on many other days who stood on Israel's border. Then it was Shmulik. And now it is my son, David, every day and for the next year. And even after David returns to civilian life, to be called up occasionally, like his brothers, even then, it will be my sons (and daughers) on the borders of Israel. All of them. Every one of them, mine. That is the foundation upon which this country is built. The collective soul of our people, our land.

Anyone who does not feel this intense connection with our soldiers is, to my mind, missing the essence of what it is to be an Israeli. Elor Azarya is a soldier of Israel. Ten months ago, we sent him into battle. His friend was stabbed in that battle. And he raised his gun and shot a terrorist in that battle. It wasn't murder. It wasn't even manslaughter. Slaughter is what the Arabs did when they went into a synagogue in Har Nof and cut men down as they prayed. Slaughter is what the Arabs did when they opened fire on children in Maalot. Slaugther is what Arabs did in Itamar when they butchered five members of the Fogel family, in Jerusalem when they blew up the Sbarro pizzeria

I won't rehash why I think the accusations against Elor Azarya were unfounded, the trial speedy and unfair. I won't repeat the slanted publicity and the vicious ways he and his family were treated. I also won't readily forget how quickly some judged him and how those same people condemn others for being judgmental.

Despite the accusation that Azarya is a murderer, that charge never made it through even the first round of accusations. Quickly, the lawyers were informed that the courts would not accept such an indictment and so it was never made. Azarya did not murder the Palestinian terrorist. At best, the judges warned, an accusation of manslaughter would be entertained by the courts. Even that was wrong.

There will be an appeal; hopefully one that will balance the evidence with the action. And hopefully those who are responsible for setting the stage for Azarya's actions will be held accountable.

There will perhaps, come a time when the so-called journalists are held accountable. After all, I firmly believe that the media in the United States and around the world had a strong role in handing Donald Trump the presidency. I think America was fed up with listening to the media tell them what they think and I can only hope the same feeling is coming to Israel.

Today certainly, Israelis were, for the most part, wondering why the police sent 300 security forces and a helicopter to guard against 200 non-violent protesters; why a sign that said "We love you, Elor" was considered incitement and why that idiot blonde reporter kept shivering and speaking about how at any moment violence was going to break out.

Maybe it's a day for blondes (no offense, really I know some very smart blondes...some of my best friends are blonde) but by far, the stupidest post I saw today was the one by a "noted" blogger/journalist, well know for her radical left-wing posts.

"He is not my son," she posted. Sadly, that statement says more about her than it does about Azarya. It says that while she may call herself an Israeli, she really has no clue what it means to be Israeli. Sure, she has a son who is like...7 or 8 years old...and the army is a distant and far off thing, if she even remains in Israel...and IF he even enters the army...

If all those things happen, though I doubt that they will, she will learn that even on the worst days in Israel, our greatest strength is that our soldiers ARE our sons. IF her son ever becomes a soldier, he will become part of one of the most loved armies in the world. No, not by the world, but by the people who he will promise to defend...if.

If she will choose to deny her son the love of a nation, that makes her a fool. If she would deny that our sons are hers, that just makes her pathetic.

On the worst of day, our greatest blessing is our children and our greatest truth and that which separates us from our enemies, is the collective soul of the Jewish people.

They are all our sons and daughters - when they are little and they fall in the playground and a dozen mothers rush to pick up the child, when they stand at their first army ceremony and promise to serve in honor, and even when they are called to raise a gun against our enemies. They ARE our sons. Azarya is ours.




The Soldiers' Answer for Elor Azariya

Every soldier, when he or she comes to that first interview after receiving notification that they are being drafted in to the Israel Defense Forces is given a profile number. A rating of his or her physical health. The best he or she can get is 97 - it's a part of Israeli/Jewish culture that I love. There is no one perfect in the world. No one will get 100. My sons all were given 97.

I didn't know if I should laugh or cry when they came home and told me.

"Math, science, Torah, Mishna - on THESE tests I wanted 97," I said to each one. "On this one? On this you had to bring me 97???" I knew what 97 meant...and believe me. The automatic reaction is a mixture of pride and terror. Other numbers are accepted, but 97 is almost automatically viewed as potential combat material.

It is almost an unwritten law that those with 97 are asked the next question, about serving in a combat unit. There is a certain level of prestige that goes with the soldiers that agree to be placed in one of these units. It is an honor that they carry for years and years. These units are, for the most part, the most visible elements of the army.

We see them on the streets with their guns, their red or black boots. Paratroopers don't know how to tuck their shirts in; combat soldiers in general seem to be unable to put a coat on, no matter what the weather is. They won't pin their berets. Oh no, not our combat soldiers. There's a way they wear nearly everything that announces who they are, and they carry that with them wherever they go in pride. We are the combat soldiers of Israel.

They are divided into different divisions - Golani, Givati, Artillery, Kfir. There are other units but these are the first that come to mind. Each division has subdivisions, elite units, even secret units.

Elie was Artillery, Shmulik and Chaim were Kfir, Yakov and David were/are Givati - all except David finished with honor, served with pride. David is half way through. One more year. He serves with honor. He serves with pride.

"Do you want to be a combat soldier?" Each of my soldiers, my precious sons, agreed. They would serve this land, fight for it. This morning, the military court stabbed our soldiers in the back, as did the Chief of Staff, current and former.

Tomorrow, the army will have to face a new reality. It is not only Elor Azariya that was slapped in the face, but every soldier who stands on our borders with a gun. They have been told that they must now, in the middle of a battle, stop and think what some idiot judge will think of their action.

Gone is the "follow me" attitude and in its place is "We'll come AFTER you if we want to." If politics requires it, if the Chief of Staff wants a photo op and a judge wants the chance to lecture a family for over two hours.

So, here's the deal, now that you have devastated the morale of our soldiers. From this point onward, all soldiers, when asked, "will you serve as a combat soldier, should answer, "No, because of Elor Azariya, I do not agree to be a combat soldier."

That simple. There's your answer. No.

My youngest soldier is in a combat unit. He will finish his service to this land. I am eternally grateful that he is my youngest soldier and so that I will not be faced with this choice ever again. No. You cannot take 18 year old boys, not train them properly, put them in a situation in which they fear for their lives, and then charge them for acting against a terrorist. Right or wrong, that dead man was a terrorist who had just stabbed a soldier. Elor Azariya did not stab an innocent, unarmed man. He shot a terrorist who had not been properly neutralized in a scene that had not been "sterilized."

His commanding officers should be removed; the Chief of Staff fired. The answer from this courts this morning is that they would rather take action against your son and mine, better punish an 18-year-old soldier than assign responsibility as needed.

So if you have a son who is about to be drafted...and if he has a high profile - have him practice this phrase...

"No, I will not be your next Elor Azariya. I do not agree to be in a combat unit. I will not go into a situation in which my life is endangered and I am ordered not to defend myself. No."

Elor Azariya was betrayed - by the media, which we expected; by the defense ministry and higher echelons, which we did not. He was betrayed by his commanding officers and today he was betrayed by the military courts.

I encourage the judges to draft their sons and grandsons to combat units; isn't it interesting that Bibi Netanyahu's sons didn't serve in combat? How many of those self-righteous media personalities served in the army? How many have risked the lives of their children in combat units. No, mine served but you will not get others.

Go for it, dear reporters of the Times of Israel, Haaretz, etc. put YOUR son's life on the line. Send your sons into Arab neighborhoods with orders not to shoot a terrorist who has just stabbed a soldier. Risk your son's life, not mine.

No, they will not serve.

This will be the legacy of Elor Azariya; this will be the legacy for Elor. No.




Gadi Eisenkot - You're Fired

No, sadly, I don't have the right to fire him. I wish I did. I'm "only" the mother of one of his soldiers, perhaps three, perhaps six. But if I could, he'd be gone tomorrow.

Gadi Eisenkot made a mistake yesterday - he got out of bed. Then he compounded it by getting in the car and worse, going on stage to make a speech...a political speech that violates the spirit of our democracy, if not the law itself.

In what can be nothing less than an intentional attempt to influence the judge's decision, expected to be delivered shortly, in the case of Elor Azariya, a young soldier accused of manslaughter for shooting a terrorist.

Yes, the terrorist was on the ground. Azariya had no evidence the terrorist was neutralized; medics nearby called out a warning; a commanding officer had ordered another soldier to guard the wounded terrorist with explicit orders to shoot him if he moved. The terrorist did move, and Azariya shot him.

And killed him...a terrorist who had just stabbed a soldier.

And a left-wing, anti-Israel organization was conveniently there to film this...and Israel's left wing raised the battle cry...no, not for the wounded soldier, but for the dead terrorist. Go figure.

And Israel's Defense Minister and former Chief of Staff jumped in...no, not to defend Azariya, but to defend the dead terrorist. Go figure.

A military trial was convened; its outcome to be announced today. The government suggested the charge be murder; the military judge who ordered the trial immediately told them that would not fly; perhaps manslaughter.

But yesterday, Eizenkot felt it important and proper to stand before the cameras. He began with the utterly superfluous explanation of what the army's role is. This is, said Eisenkot, "to protect the country, ensure its existence and to win wars." Wow, that's brilliant. Who knew?

Sadly, Eisenkot continued. He attacked the very core of Israel's society - our love for our soldiers. Back in July, Eisenkot said, "The greatest threat to the IDF is losing the public's trust”. But yesterday, he had to try, one last time, to influence the verdict by stating something that is factually accurate but emotionally incorrect. Worse, it flies in the face of all that we Israelis believe.

He is worried, apparently, that we might have pity on Elor Azariya, might see the 18 year old as the boy he is and not the man he is becoming. Eizenkot would have you believe that an "18-year-old man who joins Zahal [the Israel Defense Forces] is a soldier, not everyone's son."

What sets Israel apart, what fuels the army is very much the attitude that all the soldiers belong to all of us. 

Elor Azariya IS everyone's son. IF he made a mistake, it is a mistake any one of our newly drafted sons could have made. IF he made a mistake, the fault lies in the lack of training, the lack of preparation for the situation in which the army put him.

He was 18-years-old when this happened. And the army should be ashamed of how they have treated this boy who now, finally, has been forced to become a man - not in pride, not slowly under the guidance of more experienced commanding officers, but because he was betrayed - first by the moronic media, second by the self-serving commanders who didn't want to accept their own guilt, by the Chief of Staff and his running mouth (former and present), and by the former Defense Minister.

The army feeds on the very notion that the IDF IS the people's army when it requests and receives millions of dollars in donations to buy necessary equipment such as fleeces, water bags, warm socks, etc. Even military equipment such as flashlights for guns, are often donated. Air conditioners for bases located in the desert that experience the extreme heat and in the north on the Golan in the bitter winter months.

Then, we are told, encouraged to believe that the IDF is the people's army and each soldier is a precious son to all. Now, when it is convenient for him, Eizenkot is concerned that our love for our soldiers might prevent the verdict he wants.

Elor Azariya may or may not have acted against military protocol. It depends on many factors. We know that despite the incorrect first announcements and the ongoing attempt to influence us by the media, that the terrorist was NOT neutralized. We know that a commander had ordered another soldier to shoot the terrorist if he moved. The terrorist moved - where was that soldier? Where was that commanding officer? Why were they not brought to the military courts?

Years ago, my oldest son had a commanding officer who had been climbing that ranks when a horrible tragedy occurred during training. An APC turned over and a soldier was killed. According to protocol, the track through which the APC would travel was checked during the day, though the APC would travel at night. 

Before it came to a military court, which found it to be a tragic accident, the head of the division resigned. He took full responsibility - as the commanding officer on the scene in Hebron that day should have. Protocol was not followed - perhaps not by Azariya, but most definitely not by the commanding officers onsite that day. Why have they not been demoted?

Ultimately, our army is one of discipline and discipline is established at the highest levels. Follow me, is our way. We are not like armies in which commanding officers stand back and tell their soldiers - go there and do that. Rather, the commanding officers are in the front, turning to their men and telling them to follow.

That is what is missing - Follow Me. It is the Israeli way. Up to the very top of the chain of command. And so, Gadi Eisenkot - YOU...you are fired. 

You are fired because your soldiers didn't follow protocol and now would stand by while an 18 year old becomes your "fall guy".

You are fired because you speak out just hours before a military court is to convene and in this land, still, you are innocent until proven guilty - especially, when you are a fresh, young 18 year old on the brink of manhood.

If you think an 18 year old is a man, you are an idiot, Gadi Eisenkot. Yes, you might argue that Azariya is a man today, after all you have put him through, but on that day in Hebron, he stood there on the brink. On that day, he was naive enough to believe that behind him stood the people of Israel and more, the army of Israel.

My son is now 20 years old and serving as a combat soldier. If you won't stand behind him, either you have to leave or he does. Since he is actually following the law and protocol, it should be you.

You have broken faith. It is YOU who don't have the people's trust. Leave, Gadi - you're fired.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

How do you define "Harassment" and "Bullying"?

I think bullies are horrible people. I think harassing others is wrong. The concept of knowing these things are wrong is easy. But sometimes, as bad as bullying and harassing are, the reality of what is being done, the true horror of what is happening falls outside these words we use too easily.

Maybe we need a new word.

When you bully someone to the point where they take their own lives - it seems like "just" calling it bullying isn't enough. When you torture a family, one that has lost so much already, the magnitude of the cruelty involved cannot possibly be explained with words like "harassment" and "bullying".

When I was little, a bully was the boy who threw a rock at me after promising me that he was going to hit me in the nose (and the little brat did!). Bully was the Egyptian girl who kept making nasty comments about Israel until one day, without even knowing I was going to do it, I began screaming at her.

Egypt had just attacked, I yelled at her. YOUR country attacked innocent people. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. YOU! I yelled at her. Stop saying bad things about Israel! You sould be ashamed of yourself and your HORRIBLE country! Without thought or shame, I utterly humiliated and sent her running down the hall when I told people about her countries unethical and cowardly actions.

I had felt pity for her before - she was the only one, as far as I remember who stood against Israel in a school that was something like 20-30% Jewish. I intentionally avoided her until the day that her little jabs finally struck home. Israel was teetering on the edge, fighting for its life. I didn't stop crying and yelling until a teacher came over and put her arm across my shoulders and told me it was going to be okay, that Israel was going to fight and win.

I went to class and that Egyptian girl came in late and I refused to even look at her. Weeks later, the war had ended, Israel was victorious in that we'd surrounded "her" third army, retaken the Golan. I still could barely look at her. She made some sort of gesture and I accepted it for the peace offering it was, but she never tried to ridicule Israel in front of me again. I had, I thought to myself, out-bullied the bully.

Bullying was the girl who threatened to beat me up and so for days I would sneak out the side of the school and only later learned that she wasn't even waiting around to see if her threats had scared me (they did for a while...but they also got me two other friends who began walking with me).

When I eventually told my parents (or went home bleeding), they called the other child's parents. The child got punished, and the bullying ended. I guess I come from another time and another world. It seems as the world has gotten more sophisticated and more complicated, so too have the bullies.

Nowadays, bullies use the Internet and Facebook and humiliation. I have heard of appropriate and embarrassing images and even videos posted. I've heard of several cases in which people committed suicide rather than live with the shame and the pain.

The Internet can be a very cruel place - especially to those most vulnerable. Young people. People who have recently been hurt, people who are sick, desperate, poor. And, perhaps most of all, people who have lost someone they love and desperately wish there was a way to go back in time to before. I'm not sure where the line between bullying and psychotic cruelty is. I only know that Hamas has crossed that line yet again.

I saw two videos yesterday and today on YouTube. One has been removed "for violating YouTube's policy on harassment and bullying." The second is still there (actually, they are both still there, if you search hard enough - please don't).

The one that is still online is a 30 second "spoof" of a bunch of males sitting around dressed in what they want us to believe are Israeli uniforms.

Oron Shaul was a Golani soldier in an APC that exploded during the Tzuk Eitan war (Operation Protective Edge). Six other soldiers were confirmed dead and from most accounts, despite the Arabs stealing his body and dragging it back into Gaza, there is enough evidence to confirm that Oron died in the blast that killed the rest of the unit. And, if things couldn't be worse for his poor family, his father died a few months ago.

His mother lives with the nightmare of all Israeli mothers. Not able to believe her son is gone too, no grave to visit, no body to provide some measure of comfort and closure. It is a hell beyond anything most of us can imagine.

Into this picture, steps Hamas, As they have done so often in the past, they are now attempting to further destroy Oron's already-devasteted family by trying to hint he is still alive. In the video, one "soldier" is sitting in a wheel chair. The camera swings over the chair to make sure that we recognize it.

"A new year and the soldier Shaul is still away from his family," we are told. They are singing as the "soldier" claps his hands...this young man who is pretending to be an Israeli soldier, pretending to be Oron Shaul. If you look carefully, you'll see that his hands and arms are not scared at all - what are the chances that Oron could have been in a massive explosion that killed his 6 colleagues without burns or scars?

There is a cake on the table with candles. They are wishing him another year in Hamas captivity - the beginning of what would have been his third year in captivity...if he was alive. We know he is not. Our heads know that. It is our hearts that need the body to confirm but we know.

People like Motasem Dalloul (feel free to go to his YouTube channel and tell him how horrible he is, how his channel is filled with hate) could be termed "online bullies" but I prefer to call them wannabe terrorists, barbarians, cruel and inhumane and heartless individuals.

The first video, posted by Dalloul and others has not been removed (yet).

The second video was removed by YouTube, but continues to be available in some locations. It shows the actual image of Oron chained to a chair, frowning and trying to break free. Before him is a cake - the same idea. This time, a clown with the image of Bibi Netanyahu is superimposed on its face dances into the room blows out the candle.

Clearly, they are suggesting that Oron's future is in Bibi's hands and as the screen fades to black, in Hebrew and Arabic, we are told that the decision (presumably to free Oron and/or Oron's remains) rests in the hands of the Israeli government.

As with Gilad Shalit, it would be expected that a parent would do all in their power to demand the return of their son. It is the government's responsibility to determine what we can do. It could be anything from negotiating (and coming up with another stupid deal like releasing 1020+ terrorists for one soldier) to telling Hamas that this time, we won't deal.

Last time, we were relatively certain that Gilad Shalit was alive, at least. This time, we are relatively certain (if not more), that Oron Shaul is not. More, one of their demands is the release (again) of many terrorists who were released previously for Shalit and then simply went about launching more terror attacks (as expected) and so are Hamas is demanding their release again.

It comes as no surprise, nor can we fault, Oron's family for demanding that the government do something. His mother announced, "I am turning to you again, for a second time. I want to believe you. Present me with concrete evidence on the condition of Oron. We will turn over the country, and the world, to ensure that the deal [for his return] will be carried out.”

Read the words she says. "The condition of Oron" because she cannot say "Oron's death" and a promise, made more to Oron than anyone else. We will never forget you. We will turn over the world to bring you home. She wants Israel to bring her son home.

There are names for what Hamas is doing. Apparently YouTube thinks "bullying" and "harassment " can be used, but I don't think they are nearly strong enough.

Torture.

Cruel and barbaric psychological warfare come close.

Bullying? Harassment?

Really, YouTube?

That those videos are still there - more than a day after they were posted, is a great shame. YouTube should ban the videos - more, they should disable the accounts of those such as Motasem Dalloul.

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