Anybody who is looking for a nice relaxing place to live, please don’t pick Israel. Anybody who is looking for the greatest country in the world, please come immediately. Having just fended off the most recent onslaught by the Islamic enemy in Gaza, who with the help of other radical Islamic regimes such as Iran, Sudan and Egypt, unleashed a barrage of missiles on the civilian population in Israel, we have resumed our day-to-day lives of being productive and helping mankind.
On Friday evening with the onset of Shabbat, we in Jerusalem received our first warning with the wailing of a siren during Kabbalat Shabbat. This came not long after we had welcomed in the Shabbat with a similar siren. This time however, we knew exactly what it meant. We all calmly walked down to the Miklat (Shelter) and continued to welcome the Shabbat with more fervor than usual and we inserted a prayer for the well-being of all our soldiers and citizens of the South. The leader of the prayer service chanted in a mellifluous, haunting melody we had heard so many times before but somehow seemed to have more meaning this time. When we finished the maariv prayers each of us walked quietly home to see our wives and children and to eat our dinners with our families.
We had been riveted to the news all day. We were scared but optimistic. We hung onto every bit of information that emanated from the mouths of the newscasters and we couldn’t help but admire the way we were conducting a war that had been forced upon us. We were comporting ourselves in the most patient and humane way possible given the situation. We had perfected through home-grown Israeli technology, a defensive system to knock out the missiles directed to the population centers in the South. It was almost science fiction to see how the Iron dome could detect the launch of a dangerous projectile, determine whether it should be intercepted, and then when judging it to be a bona-fide target, would knock it out of the sky. When forced into attacking after numerous months of restraining ourselves and running into shelters, we did so with uncanny accuracy and never directing our aim at civilians.
The following Thursday shortly after the cease-fire had been implemented I attended a bat-mitzvah of my nephew’s daughter in Eshchar in the Galil. My nephew had just returned from duty in Gaza, and with very little sleep began preparing for the happy event. He had figured out a way to detect the launching of rockets during the Lebanon war and had modestly accepted a prize in Haifa for his contribution. His computer technology was now an imbedded part of the Iron-Dome system. As I walked around the new yishuv, I could see all the children playing in the streets without a seeming care in the world. The parents talked about building a new school and enlarging the synagogue. There was no talk of the war, no talk of hatred or revenge…only moving ahead, building, and looking for a peaceful solution.
We a nation of about 7.5 million people amidst perhaps 400 million Arabs who want to destroy us, have the courage to stand tall, and to continue the vision of our fore-fathers . As the prophet Bilam uttered many years ago “Behold it is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations (Rashi clarifies that we will not assimilate and when the final reckoning to punish the nations arrives; Israel will not be among them. The prophet Bilam raised his eyes and saw Israel dwelling according to its tribes, and the spirit of G-d was upon him, He then proclaimed: “How goodly are your tents O Jacob, your dwelling places O Israel.
How thankful I am to be here.