Thursday, January 1, 2009

Gaza and Hamas

I just returned from a vacation in Israel. It was as always a wonderful trip. We live in a remarkable age. There in Israel my son Ari can read Torah on the very rubble the Romans pushed down from the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago. There in the holiest of places--a place centuries of rulers attempted to destroy--my son can affirm his Jewish heritage. Despite the efforts of countless enemies the Jewish people lives. Nothing can keep us from our most treasured city, Jerusalem. I returned from Israel with a renewed conviction that just as we overcame centuries of enemies we will overcome their modern day inheritors. Today it is Hamas. Two years ago it was Hezbollah. One day it will be Iran. This past week the IDF attacked its avowed enemy, Hamas. Yet, we only read of Israel's disproportionate response. There seems to be some confusion about the moral calculus. Let me clarify. Hamas' stated objective is the destruction of the Jewish state. Hamas purposely targets civilians. Hamas leaders train their own sons to be suicide (nay, homicide) bombers. In short, Hamas loves death more than life. Israel is willing to make peace--even with its enemies. Even during the past six month so called tahadiya (calm), when Israel exercised remarkable restraint, Hamas continued to fire rockets at Israel's southern towns and cities. Israel goes to great lengths to avoid civilian deaths--even dropping leaflets warning of impending attacks. Israel prays that its soldiers might live--and mourns the loss of all life. After Ari finished the Torah reading we prayed for Israel's soldiers, and in particular the sons of our friends gathered there at the Wall to celebrate with us. Their teenage boys were waiting on Gaza's borders. I pray for them. I pray for peace. But as God commanded Joshua, we must be strong and resolute before our enemies.
Watch Mayor Bloomberg to hear an excellent defense of Israel's right to self defense and the question of proportionality.

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