Jerusalem Magazine
Kyriat Shmona was shelled again today. This time a rocket crashed through the roof of the Kyriat Shmona Mall, a modest two-story affair with a tiny food court, a few stores, a movie theater and a small bowling alley. Modest as it is, this is still the mall for this primarily agricultural northern region. The Mall is where people go to shop when they’re serious. Luckily the Mall was empty. Of course it was, since Kyriat Shmona is closed.
Remember the W.C. Fields line “I was in Philadelphia once, it was closed.” Since 26 Katyushas fell on Kyriat Shmona yesterday, over a hundred since July 12th, it’s no wonder the Mall was empty. Do you think Philadelphia would be open under these attacks?
Not far from Kyriat Shmona is Kibbutz HaGoshren, where my wife’s newly wed niece Pnina and her husband Amos have their rented apartment. It’s actually a two room pre-fab attached to another two-room pre-fab. These were the units couples and small families lived in when the Kibbutz was a commune. Like most of the kibbutzim in the country Kibbutz HaGoshren privatized. Now the kibbutzniks work for a salary, pay rent, pay for their own clothing and food.
Pnina and Amos, like most of the people living on the kibbutz, left when the war started. They’re in the Golan Heights bringing in Pnina’s dad’s pear harvest. My mother-in-law Leah, recently widowed, accompanied them to the Golan, fleeing her home in Haifa.
On Friday Pnina received a phone call that a katyushas rocket had hit Kibbutz HaGoshren. Not just the kibbutz, but the apartment adjacent to hers. A rocket tore through the roof destroying the adjacent apartment. They hadn’t heard how badly their place was affected.
So far over 300,000 Israelis have fled the north of the country, over 60 Israelis have died in this war, hundreds have been injured. On Friday Afula was hit.. This is even further than Haifa, or Tiberias, or Tsfat, from the Lebanese border, indicating that Hezbollah has begun using the longer-range rockets with a 100 kg warhead.
The kiss of death to Hezbollah should have been the endorsement by Al Queda’s Sheik Al Zarwahiri who appeared on Al Jazeera TV, with screens behind him boasting of Al Queda’s success: scenes of the Twin Towers collapsing, and others. You’d think that when this murderous blood-thirsty terrorist appeared on TV encouraging  support t for Hezbollah,  it’d be clear who’re the good guys, and who’re the bad guys.
But public opinion is fickle. CNN’s correspondent dramatically reports from bombed out Beirut. How does that compare to the hole in a roof in a Kryait Shmona Mall?  Its not like Israel didn’t drop fliers warning the residents to leave because of impending attacks. Its not like the Arab press didn’t publish these warnings. Its not like Hezbollah wasn’t still using these buildings to blast at Israel.
Now the Qana disaster. And it is a disaster. Arabs report that fifty people were killed, including 20 children hiding in a bomb shelter, when an Israeli Air Force bomb destroyed a three-story building. Israel claims that the residents were warned again and again of an impending strike. Israel claims that Hezbollah was still firing missiles from that building, and the area, at Kryiat Shmona and the north. The Israelis didn’t set out to kill women and children intentionally. I Hezbollah was ruthlessly using women and children and innocent civilians as ‘Human Shields.’ And not because they wanted to be shields, either.
As Israel’s Ambassador to the UN said, “You go to sleep with missiles, sometimes you don’t wake up.”
The other day the Israeli press reported that innocent civilians were stopped at the borders of towns and villages by armed Hezbollah fighters, turning them back, demanding they stay in the villages as ‘Human Shields.’ But go explain that to the world. The pictures of r Qana will be horrific, be a PR disaster for Israel, and reinforce the calls for an immediate cease-fire. All of these were probably Hezbollah’s plan in the first place.
We’ve all seen or heard about Hezbollah’s leader Sheik Hassan Nasarallah claim victory over Israel Saturday night. He warned that if Israel continues the attack Tel Aviv would be struck. Imagine the image. A rocket punches a hole in a building in Tel Aviv, kills or wounds people. The world will look at pictures of the destroyed neighborhoods in Beirut or Tyre, or Qana, and say, ‘So what? A building in Tel Aviv.”  Israel is forced to suffer these attacks and be blamed for counter-attacking. (One Israeli commentator, Guy Bachor, of the Herzliya think tank, said if Nasrallah hits Tel Aviv he has essentially committed suicide. We’ll see.)
Think for one minute what Hezbollah would do to Israel if it had the million soldiers, hundreds of F-15s, F-16s jet fighters, one-ton bombs, cannon, missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers and God knows what else, in their arsenal. They’d cream Israel into dust. The rubble of a few buildings in Beirut would be lost in the destruction and death they’d rain down on Israel if they could. If they had the weapons and manpower at Israel’s disposal, Auschwitz would look like a summer camp.
Iran signed a secret military pack with Syria. And now Venezuela has signed on, for some reason. Iran has a massive well-trained well-outfitted Army. Not a gang like Hamas, nor a militia like Hezbollah. They have tanks and planes (remember those Jets Saddam Hussein delivered for some weird logic to Iran before the US attack in ’91?’
And the Arab world has started waking up, backing Hezbollah. Suddenly, as if smelling a wounded animal, the jackals are howling in the forest for Israel’s blood. ‘If a little rodent like Nasrallah can injure the elephant Israel, then imagine what the combined Arab Armies could do?’ you can hear them thinking.  
One of the fence sitters is Syria. They’re massed on Israel’s borders, not sure if they’re going to be attacked, or launch an attack themselves. Israel’s called up 30,000 troops, many to go to the Golan/Syrian border. We know many boys who have been called up. They  all went. Some are newly married. Some just finished their mandatory service, like my son. But they went.
“I’m fed up with this, “said Cheryl, one of the mothers I ran into at the super market. “Why won’t they leave us alone?” And I quoted Ehuda Barak, Israel’s former PM told me in an interview, “We’re nice people living in a bad neighborhood.”
Lately Fox and CNN have pointed out that this is a ‘religious war.’ Hezbollah and Iran aren’t interested in land, they’re interested in ideology. They’re not interested in money, they’re interested in saving souls.  Think the Inquisition. They’re interested in imposing their beliefs by force. Think of the Nazis.
And they’re good at this game. They use the Internet. They use the TV. They use demonstrators paid to make good TV. They are beating the West at their own game, using the West to defeat itself.
The Lebanese government is incensed. Calls for a cease-fire. Well, why don’t they go down to S. Lebanon and tell the Hezbollah to stop air-mailing rockets? That would be a start. Nabiah Beri, the Amal leader and speaker of the house in Beirut, once fled Hezbollah when they defeated his militia. Now he’s back, and is their moderator. Reportedly he is a pragmatist. What does that mean? He’d in charge of oil in the government, and charges a personal fee for every barrel anyone imports. And he’s one of the guys we’re banking on to get a good peace agreement.
But there’s hope. I have the answer. You heard it here first. Want to stop the war? Have someone invite Nasrallah to the Iranian Embassy in Beirut and shoot him. Dump his body on a side street, and blame the Israelis. With him out of the way, the movement will crumble.  
There are times when taking out one man can stop the loss of millions of lives. Think of Hitler. He had no replacement. He was the movement. Think of Khoumani. He lead the revolution against Iran, and then his ideology spilled over into Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq. One guy. Had Jimmy Carter taken him out when he had the chance, we’d all b e eating popcorn and watching the latest summer blockbuster instead of sitting in front of the TV glued to the news.
Someone asked if life went on normally in Israel these days? Were people going to work? Was the economy functioning? The answers are mixed. In the center of the country people are going to work, assuming they’re not related to the Tourism industry, which was at a record level until Hezbollah attacked, and has since plummeted to nearly zero. If you want a cheap room in a good hotel in Israel, now’s the time.  Economists expect Israel to take a huge financial hit from this war. Tons of fruit went unpicked, and is now rotting on the ground. Hotels and their supporting industries, who were just recovering from the Intifada, may not be able to repay the loans they took out to reopen. Orders from industry may suffer. Sometimes buyers won’t order from a company in Israel for fear that they’ll never be able to deliver the goods because of missile attacks on the factory. Lots of things can happen. What’s certain is that it isn’t Israel that’s benefiting from the war.
Know who is? Hezbollah, the murderous terror organization.. They run one of the largest construction and renovation firms in Lebanon. Reason enough to bomb Israel.
July 29, 2006 War in Israel Day 19