It has now been 15 days since Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 were kidnapped and last seen alive. Wherever you are, support the campaign to “Bring Back Our Boys”.
UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Saturday, June 28 2014:
**There is no news regarding the missing Israeli teenagers. The situation has essentially returned to “normal” in and around Hebron as celebrations take place for the arrival of Ramadan today. Absurdly, tens of thousands of Palestinians from the area are expected to travel from Hebron to Jerusalem to pray on the Jewish Har Habayit (Temple Mount) for the Muslim holiday.
Two weeks have now passed since the kidnapping, and sadly the Israeli media’s interest in the story has begun to dissipate. There was never any interest in the international media in covering the story.
**It has been a typical week of diplomatic contacts here in Israel. Just when you get the impression from the same international media (that refuses to cover the kidnapping story) that Israel is being diplomatically isolated, you see that just the opposite is true.
The President of Zambia arrived for a “working holiday” and medical procedure; the President of Romania arrived to sign bilateral agreements between Romania and Israel; the Albanian Foreign Minister arrived to talk about ties between his country and Israel; the president of the Italian Senate was here, and the list goes on and on.
**The 23rd African Union Heads of State and Government Summit opened yesterday in Malabo Equatorial Guinea. The summit, which is also being billed as a “regional peace conference”, began with a ringing denunciation of Western meddling in the domestic affairs of African countries by Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Mbasogo.
But it was a summit that almost did not begin at all.
Among those invited were representatives from the Jewish Council of Presidents as observers. As the conference hall started to fill up, the Jewish group took their seats. Immediately, the members of the Arab League announced that they would not come in the hall as long as the “Israeli delegation” was in the room–despite the fact that they were told that these were American Jews, not Israelis.
What followed were tirades against Israel from the President of Mauritania and the representative of the PLO-Hamas government. The latter said that the Jews in Israel were Holocaust survivors who were now perpetrating a Holocaust on the Palestinian people.
Eventually, the Americans got up and left, and one hour late, the conference opened.
Last night at about 9:30 pm, we were sitting with family around our Shabbat table on the patio of our house here in far south Ashdod. Suddenly we were jolted by three booms from the Iron Dome battery positioned between here and Ashkelon.
Immediately, the incoming rocket siren app on our phones went off informing us that the Ashkelon and Eshkol regions were once again under attack. There is no way to know exactly, but the official reports an hour later were that 7 Palestinian missiles and one mortar had struck. Two of the missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome (the launches we heard).
All of this followed a sequence of events that began several days ago when another barrage of rockets hit the communities along the Gaza border. Next came a large IED explosion on the Gaza border fence yesterday morning.
After this, Israel decided to take action. Two members of the so-called “Popular Resistance Committees” who had taken part in the previous launches and were on their way to another launch were eliminated in a IAF missile strike on their car.
Yesterday, as your humble servant was driving north out of Ashdod and passed the Iron Dome batteries positioned on the side of the road facing south toward Gaza, he had mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I am of course happy that Israel has a missile defense system that seems to work most of the time. But on the other hand, I was struck by how remarkably passive the system is. We wait for them to shoot at us and then we try to shoot their incoming missiles down. If we hit them lives are saved, if we don’t Israelis are wounded and killed.
It is amazing how the population of southern Israel has become inured to the daily and nightly rocket fire from Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Life goes on with with drones flying overhead, naval cannonfire booming off the coast, scores of F-15s and F-16s taking off and landing, sirens sounding at all hours of the day and night, and men, women and children running to the nearest bomb shelter or fortified place they can find.
The situation is simply intolerable but we tolerate it. We wonder why the international community is complicitly quiet to what is happening here.
Finally, we wonder why our own government does not act forcefully to end the threat once and for all.