Thursday, June 30th | 1 Tammuz 5782

June 18, 2014 11:58 am

It’s Israel, Not Gaza, That’s Under Siege

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Gush Etzion Junction. Photo: Hillel Meir / Tazpit News Agency.

On Monday morning, I met with the editor of a New York newspaper.”Ž

“Ž”Isn’t it hard being away from Israel right now, with all that’s going on?” he asked, “Žreferring to Thursday night’s abduction of three teenagers — Naftali “ŽFrenkel, 16, Gil-ad Shaer, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19 — who were on their way home for the weekend from yeshivas “Žthey attend in Gush Etzion and Hebron.”Ž

“Yes,” I said. “But there is always something critical happening there.””Ž

Indeed, I have yet to visit my family in the United States without either leaving behind, “Žor greeting upon my arrival, a worrisome event that is dominating the news in Israel. And “Žmy first response, like that of all Israeli parents, is to locate each of my children to make “Žsure they are safe, or to find out whether they have been called up for reserve duty.”Ž

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This is not simply a function of Jewish motherhood, however. It is not due to hysteria “Žover the ills that might befall our offspring. No, this is not how we Israelis live at all. If “Žanything, we are experts at compartmentalizing danger, clucking our tongues at existential “Žcrises, while fretting over grocery shopping and bad-hair days.”Ž

Until something horrific happens to snap us out of our stupor, that is. Like the kidnapping “Žof “our” boys at the hands of bloodthirsty terrorists. It is then that we turn off the soccer “Žmatches on TV and gather together to cry with and pray for the victimized families, fully “Žaware that they could be us, that the only thing differentiating them from us is an “Žaccident of fate.”Ž

It is during such moments that reality hits home, yet again: Israel is under enemy attack, “Žas it has been since its inception.”Ž

This fact is continually obfuscated, however, both unwittingly and on purpose. The “Žformer is understandable. Israeli democracy is among the most vibrant and successful in “Žthe world. In spite of glitches that would be called “growing pains” in any “Žother fledgling state established a mere 66 years ago, it has a viable economy, a passable “Žeducation system, reasonable health care, a vigilant legal system, a free press, and “Žattention to social justice. It absorbs massive amounts of legal immigrants, and contends, “Žas humanely as possible, with the illegal ones.”Ž

Moreover, it is acknowledged globally as the “startup nation,” and has produced Nobel “ŽPrize winners, international supermodels, beauty queens, movie stars, artists and “Žfilmmakers. “Ž

As a result, it does not have the general feel of an embattled country. And even well-“Žinformed well-wishers, whether citizens or visitors, are capable of temporarily forgetting “Žthat Israel is fighting an ongoing defensive war for its survival.”Ž

For detractors, on the other hand, the miraculous nature of Israeli society provides a “Ždifferent kind of opportunity altogether, one that serves to “prove” that the Jewish “Žstate is flourishing at the expense of the Arabs living under Palestinian Authority rule in “ŽJudea and Samaria (the West Bank), and under Hamas in Gaza.”Ž

It is as irrelevant to these detractors as it is to the Arabs whose propaganda they promote “Žthat their positions have been refuted repeatedly. It is of no interest to them that the “Žpremise on which they base their hostility — that the Israeli “occupation” of territories it “Žacquired in the Six-Day War of 1967 is the source of the Palestinian plight and the cause of “ŽPalestinian terrorism — is a complete and utter lie. “Ž

All one has to do is peruse the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas charters, “Žview the content of the PA-controlled newspapers and television and witness the “Žbehavior of what has just become a unity PA-Hamas government to realize that the “Žexpress goal of the Palestinian leadership (if not the majority of the people) is the “Žannihilation of the Jewish state.”Ž

This has not prevented incessant peace overtures on the part of each and every Israeli “Žgovernment, which have included settlement freezes, territorial withdrawals, prisoner “Žreleases and hefty financial and other forms of aid, compounded exponentially by the “Žinternational community.”Ž

The most recent of such endeavors began with American pressure, continued with Israeli “Žconcessions and ended, as always, with Palestinian violence, culminating in the “Žkidnapping of three innocent boys.”Ž

Their poor parents are forced to endure an unimaginable nightmare: not knowing whether “Žtheir sons are dead, yet bemoaning what they must be going through if they are alive.”Ž

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has no sympathy for the boys or their parents. He is too “Žbusy blaming Israel for arresting suspects and retaliating against ongoing barrages of “Žmissile fire from Gaza.”Ž

In a statement released to the PA news agency WAFA on Monday, Abbas “condemned “Žthe latest escalations in the West Bank, including the kidnapping of three Israeli settlers “Žand the ongoing series of violations by Israeli soldiers and settlers against innocent “ŽPalestinian civilians and against prisoners held in Israeli jails.””Ž

Abbas’ vile words came four days after the abduction of the teens, but only a single day “Žafter his wife, Amina, was released from her private room at the Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv. It was there that she was sent by her Israel-hating husband to have knee “Žsurgery performed by Israeli doctors. She was admitted to the hospital on Friday “Žmorning, when news of the previous night’s kidnappings broke.”Ž

It is this story that should have made the headlines in New York, alongside reportage of “Žthe Palestinian terrorist abduction of three young Jews. Not that it would have made any “Ždifference to Israel’s enemies. But it would serve as a reminder to Israel’s friends that it “Žneeds and deserves all the support — and love — it can get.”Ž

Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab “ŽSpring.'””Ž This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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