Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it best: Israel uses its missiles to protect its civilians, and Hamas uses its civilians to protect missiles. This, in short, summarizes the asymmetrical moral case for this war.
Israel has, with considerable justification, launched attacks against the terrorist organization Hamas to defend its citizens from over 2,000 indiscriminate rocket attacks. Six million Israelis must gauge how far they are from their bomb shelters, as they have only seconds to protect themselves after the sirens sound their deafening blasts.
Meanwhile, by design, Hamas hides its missiles and command centers in apartment buildings, hospitals, and mosques. Their strategy is focused on a win-win proposition. They win if they kill Israeli civilians, and they win if Israelis kill civilians, as it results in international sympathy and condemnation. They even used concrete materials to construct sophisticated tunnels to aid in their mission to kill, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, depriving their constituents of shelters or reconstruction projects. Hamas is evil incarnate. Conversely, more than any other country in warfare, Israel has used unprecedented measures, at the expense of tactical surprise, to protect civilians, including advance warnings and leafleting.
Then, of course, there is the criticism that Israel is using disproportionate means. What would any other country do when 80 percent of its civilians are under attack? When there was violence from the Mexican border in the early 20th century, President Wilson dispatched an expeditionary force led by John Pershing to invade Mexico to capture the perpetrators.
Now Israel is facing attacks in the range that, using U.S. geographic proportionality, translates from New York to Colorado.
And then there’s this famous statement from Phillip Gordon, a special assistant to President Barack Obama on Middle Eastern affairs, that this war was caused by the Israeli “occupation.” What occupation? Israel totally withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
I visited Gaza six weeks before 9,000 settlers were expelled for the cause of peace. I saw the world-class greenhouses established and perfected that could have served as an economic laboratory for the Palestinians after the evacuation. But they were totally destroyed, together with the settlers’ synagogues, as the Palestinians established “their own state” in Gaza. Gordon should be ashamed of himself for using this old mantra when it is totally inaccurate. Considering what’s happening in the Arab world in Libya, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, to say that the “occupation” is the root cause of this war defies the truth and is intellectually inane.
The Israeli military is consuming billions of dollars in this war. An Iron Dome missile, the miracle of defense, when launched, costs $50,000 per missile.
Our job as lovers and supporters of Israel is to help raise funds to meet its humanitarian needs, which include providing respite to 40,000 children by moving them out of the shelters in the South, helping the most vulnerable elderly and those with disabilities, providing trauma support for a growing population under fire, and assisting towns most heavily hit in the Negev. Israelis are now operating under adrenalin, but once the conflict ends, the amount of trauma counseling that will be required, especially among the young, will be considerable.
The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ has launched an Israel Emergency Campaign. The Jewish Federations of North America current national goal is $30 million. We at Greater MetroWest are approaching $1 million in contributions. Don’t only feel compassion for Israel; help Israel tangibly by donating to our Israel Emergency Campaign as soon as possible at jfedgmw.org/iec.
Let’s all pray for Israel’s success and for peace to prevail for the long term.