Arlene in Israel – A Proud and Anguished Heart

Before I share news, I want to take the liberty of talking, first, about the anguish in my heart – the tears that I carry inside of me – because of this war we are fighting.

There is, above all, the sense of loss that fine young Israeli men in the prime of their lives are being taken down by the enemy.  I mourn them, and the circumstances that have brought them to their deaths. (see below)

But there is more: There is the sense of inherent and breathtaking injustice that is at the core of what is going on.

I’ve seen it expressed in several different contexts over the years: Muslim Arabs, who face us as enemies, crow that they have a tactical advantage because

Just as they [the Jews] love life, so do we love death.”

While we seek to protect our people, they find theirs dispensable. And oh, what a diabolical imbalance that generates.


“Might-have-been-horrors” don’t count for the world.

It’s true with regard to the rocket attacks from Hamas. They have launched way over 1,000 rockets since the beginning of the war.  If they had been successful, many many Israeli civilians would have been killed and enormous damage would have been done.  But we have the Iron Shield anti-missile defense and a homefront defense that seeks to protect civilians. So the world pays no attention to the maliced intent of Hamas or to the fact that they are committing war crimes.

In recent days, as well, we’ve caught several Hamas terrorists coming through tunnels on their way to generating massacre and mayhem in Israel.  But that’s the point. We were on the lookout and we caught them.

The world clearly has no imagination about what would have happened, had the Shin Bet and the IDF not been diligent.

So let me provide a reminder.  Three years ago, terrorists made their way into the community of Itamar and slaughtered the Fogel family.  Among those killed was a three month old baby.  Her throat was slit.

When the terrorists were caught, they expressed pride in what they had done.  Bodily mutilation is the norm, you see, when they murder Jews.

So the world may not care, or may choose to look away. But we here in Israel know.  The possibilities have been seared into our national consciousness.  We know what would happen – Heaven forbid! – if terrorists utilizing tunnels made their way into our communities.

We know that we must do all that we can to assure that this does not happen.  This means taking out those tunnels.  It’s the obligation of the government and the IDF to see it done, to protect the people of Israel.


But we are dealing with a diabolical enemy that is pleased to sacrifice its own people in order to make matters difficult for us.  Just as their rockets are stored in and launched from civilian places such as mosques and schools, so are the entrances to the tunnels located in civilian areas. Some tunnels open up inside of houses.  Maybe underneath someone’s bed.  Or under mosques.

We warn the civilians that they should leave before we launch an attack – an attack that is essential for the safety of Israeli civilians.  What other nation in the world does this??  I do not believe there has ever been another.  I don’t believe there ever will be another.  It actually puts us at a tactical disadvantage because Hamas knows where we are about to attack.  But does the world notice? Are we praised?  Of course not.

For the local civilians are told by Hamas not to leave when Israel advises them to do so.  They are encouraged to be “martyrs” for their great cause.  Being a martyr means dying in an Israeli attack so that Hamas can leverage the death against us in a PR blitz.  Dead Arab women and children are Hamas’s weapon.  It’s made to look as if Israel uncaringly or deliberately launches attacks on innocents.

More anguish.  There is no joy for us in killing children.


In various places in the world from Paris to Boston  (pictured), there are orgiastic demonstrations of hatred towards Israel going on.  Because we are “child killers.”

Credit: Israelagainstterror

The venom of anti-Semitism flows in the veins of these demonstrators. But their maliced views of Israel are stoked by left leaning media that can only be described as anti-Semitic as well. (There is no difference between irrational anti-Israel attitudes – imbalanced reportage – and anti-Semitism.)

With it all, they’ve had help from the American secretary of state.  John Kerry had been advised by Israeli officials that we were attempting to do pinpoint operations that would minimize collateral damage.  After having done an interview, and when he mistakenly thought the mike was off, he said, “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.  A hell of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there [to push a ceasefire].”  See it here:

And so a pox on the houses of all those who judge us wrongly and all those who wish us ill.

In the end, we know who we are, and we must account only to Heaven.


Because of who we are, my heart is also filled with pride. And when the anguish has dissolved, the pride will remain.  I could not be more proud to be an Israeli.  I could not be more proud of who the Israeli people are.  Very, very far from perfect, we are heads and shoulders above the rest of the world.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, bless him, says that: “…the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”

Reminding his audience that the British had carpet bombed Germany after being attacked, he said, “I will not accept, and no one should accept, criticism of Israel for acting with restraint that has not been shown and would not be shown by any nation on earth. I especially will not tolerate criticism of my country at a time when Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.” (All emphasis added)

“Israel did not have to send its soldiers into many of the places they are fighting today. We could have…bombed from the air all the buildings that were being used by fighters to store and fire weapons. But we didn’t. As we have done time after time, we are sending our soldiers into this hornet’s nest of Palestinian terror that is booby-trapped with mines and riddled with subterranean tunnels.”

See some of the beautiful soldiers of the IDF (with thanks to Chana G):


They sing of not being afraid, and of putting trust in Heaven. This video made me weep.


Here in Israel we have “lone soldiers.”  Young men who have come to Israel and joined the IDF, while their families are still abroad.  One such lone soldier died in battle the other day: Nissim Sean Carmeli, originally of South Padre Island, Texas. and more recently of Haifa.  The Maccabi soccer team of Haifa put out a call to its fans to attend his funeral “so that his funeral will not be empty.”  More than 12,000 people came.

This, my friends, is Israel with its largeness of heart.


We have lost 27 soldiers to date in Gaza.
A couple of days ago, Hamas announced it had kidnapped a soldier in Gaza, but Israel denied this was the case.

Also two days ago a Personnel Carrier in Gaza that was carrying seven soldiers ran over a device that exploded, causing a fire in the carrier.  The original announcement was that the seven had died.  Now we are being told that only six soldiers’ bodies have been positively identified.  I need not spell out the ugly and painful circumstances that have caused a delay in doing this identification.

The one soldier whose remains have not been identified has now been identified as Oren Shaul, which is the person Hamas said it had kidnapped.  The very best information I have at this point is that while he must be listed MIA until his body is located and identified, the working assumption is that he is, indeed, dead. Hamas may have grabbed his body – although I have heard that the site was under surveillance after the grisly event.  Or, his dogtag may have been thrown a distance away in the explosion, and grabbed by Hamas.  It has been noted that Hamas, after the initial jubilant announcement, has not put up any video of him – which would have been expected for them to make their case.


Now as to that “ceasefire” that various international agents are pushing.  Eventually, certainly. But it is not going to happen so fast, I’m pleased to report.  Consider some of the elements in play:

  • Abbas went to Doha, Qatar to meet with head of the Hamas politburo Khaled Mashaal regarding a ceasefire.  Word was that Mashaal was agreeable and was going to come to Cairo to pursue matters further.  However, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader sitting directly in Gaza (and identified for some time now as more militant than Mashaal), says that his movement has decided to “end the blockade with its blood and weapons and there would be no return back.”

In other words, he is holding out for a lifting of the naval blockade of Gaza, which is not going to happen.  He is also still demanding the release of the prisoners originally traded for Shalit who had been rearrested recently, something Israel is opposed to as well.

Commented Netanyahu to Sky News Arabic,

“If Hamas really wants a cease-fire, I am sure that we can get to that, but they don’t want one.”

As long as Hamas is holding out, we keep fighting.  Terms that are mutually acceptable are going to be hard to come by.  Hamas wants a victory and Israel will not give it one.


At the same time, Israel, having not yet done all that must be done, at a bare minimum, is not looking for a ceasefire anyway.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon came calling in Jerusalem today. Israel, Netanyahu told him, will “act decisively to end the threat to its citizens.”  It’s time for the international community to hold Hamas responsible for its behavior:  “The international community must take a clear stance…

”I believe that you understand this, it is the right of every state to defend itself, and Israel will do what it needs to do to defend ourselves.

This is not only our right, this is our duty.”  (all emphasis added)

The prime minister knows that the nation is solidly behind him if he stands strong in continuing to fight. This is a long post, and it’s impossible here for me to fully convey the sense of the Israeli public with regard to wanting the IDF to keep going.


Lastly, we have this:

Kerry, who had declared, “we must get over there,” arrived in Cairo today.  Master diplomat that this deluded man perceives himself to be, he was coming to make sure that a ceasefire was put in place without delay.

But when Kerry and his top aides showed up for a meeting with Egyptian President Sisi – oops! – Egyptian security checked them with metal detectors. This is absolutely unheard of, as top American diplomats are routinely offered every courtesy.  Sisi has “dissed” the secretary of state.

This contempt from Sisi has been well earned by Kerry.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. Contact:

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  1. Leon Poddebsky

    Kerry’s incompetent corrosive diplomacy constantly humiliates the U.S.A.
    He is a Secretary of State that’s fit for a President like Obama.
    ( And let’s not forget their Jewish messenger boy, Indyk.)

  2. I quietly hope that Israel keeps pushing on……conscious as I am that a lot would be going on behind the scenes that would be designed to ‘push’ Israel into cessation of hostilities – I refuse to use that word ‘ceasefire’.

    In saying this, I do realise, accept, and grieve the fact, that the flower of Israel’s youth is being cut down to maintain and regain peaceful stability. Sadly, the old age adage springs to mind….”freedom is never free”.

    In a sense, and without intending a clever comparison, Israel is fortunate in some respects….in that it has the hardware, and know how to defend itself. My thoughts go out to the Christians of northern Iraq at the moment…who are without recourse in any form, yet a mother Church in Rome is near mute – and I am a Christian/Catholic.

    • Leon Poddebsky

      Graham, you seem to be one of the very few Christians on the entire planet who care about the tragedy of the anti- Christian persecution in the Middle East.
      Is my impression mistaken, and if not, why is there so much apathy among Christians regarding this?

      • Graham Coffey

        Hello Leon,

        I wish I knew the answer to that question….as to the apathy of the Christian Churches when their own flock are perishing….being slaughtered, as they have been for eons now within the lands of the splinter Crescent. In a country such as Australia, I partly put it down to being so far geographically removed, as for it to be out of sight, as to then be out of mind.

        In my own congregation in Cairns, I raise the question regularly in debate, to be met with stonewall indifference…a bit of the ‘I’m okay mate’ attitude, from a collection of “Sunday Morning” parishioners, and equal number who just simply will not allow their Sunday’s to be disturbed or interrupted with the unpleasantness of gruesome mayhem and death of their own ecclesiastic kind.

        I talk regularly to my Bishop on the subject…to no formal avail, though off the record, the hushed repeated chorus, “Yes Graham…your spot on….but…” The ‘mick’ Church – Catholic Church – is simply to big a bureaucracy to buck!

        The apathy starts in Rome…in so far as Christian Catholics are concerned…aided by the very apathy you mention, i.e. a pastoral flock, in so far as Australia is concerned, of a long standing Irish instilled dogma of non-questioning obedience to the Church’s hierarchy.

        The subject of Christian genocide is politely and convincingly not mentioned in the hope that it will just go away. There are many like myself…a large number who have walked away from the Church….(yet not so much the faith…as I too have done previously), for having grown tired of this head in the sand approach.

        To constantly speak up is seen as radical or extreme….to even bring forth the suggestion that one is more to be pitied, than listened to….as is found in so many things in life…not only faith related matters. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

        Regrettably, my Church has not yet acquired the collective responsibility that I like to believe intrinsically exists in the structure of the Jewish faith…to watch out for your co-parishioner, where ever he/she is situated on the planet. Perhaps a trifle too simplistic and idealistic on my part…for I know that common thread is not shared in the Church of Rome, despite their repeated protestations otherwise. Christian Arabs for the past twelve months have been slaughtered on a monotonous basis in the M.E., aside from that which has gone on for the past millennia and a half.

        If I know this…surely to G-d the powers that be know this, and with the ‘buying power’ of 1.3 billion Catholics…near as many as following the Qua-ran, why can something not be done about it.

        Personally, my interest, association with M.E. Christians was developed in the late 60’s, from a time when I worked in the region. In the past 45 years, there has been enough Christian deaths in the that region to have the Church of Rome screaming it’s head off every other day. Sadly this was, and is, not the case!

        Sorry Leon….I wish I did….but don’t have an answer. Selfishly, I sometimes now say to myself, “…thank G-d I live in Australia”, as I do believe it is going to get a whole lot worse…for the simple reason most intelligent people would be aware of – as to be polite on this Webpage, as not to go into the detailed agenda of the splintered Crescent.

        • Leon Poddebsky

          Dear Graham,

          I appreciate your having taken the time to reply to my question.

          Something puzzles me: while churches such as the Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican (but not the Catholic Church, interestingly) constantly exhibit extreme hostility to Israel, ( where Christian practice and institutions operate in complete freedom- though missionary activity is frowned on), these same churches do not (as far as I am aware) seem to be at all perturbed by the persecution which Christians in the Middle East are suffering.
          I wonder if you could enlighten me as to the reasons for this apparent paradox.

  3. Graham Coffey

    Hello Again Leon,

    Whew…you ask curly ones. I’m still trying to nut it out myself. To me it still harks back to the commencement of Protestant Reformation.

    I don’t think that I shall touch on the in’s and out’s of the Reformation…in so far as the involvement of Martin Luther and John Calvin….suffice to say, European Protestantism and English Protestantism took divergent paths.

    England and Scotland raised the tyrannical aspect of Protestantism to a near art form from the very late 1500’s on wards… as not to be outdone by the Roman Churches Inquisition. It was about power play then, (holding onto the masses) as it still remains to this day…..thought tempered somewhat, for civilised acceptance, since the mid 1940’s. To a certain extent, the Catholic Church by the Vatican Council No.1 of the early 60’s, were the first to pull their heads in, and progressively did so from then on..i.e. personal faith would endure, though institutional faith was on the wane.

    The Protestant Churches have followed suite…toning down their belligerence, though still clinging to aspects of their fundamental, if not arrogant holier than thou canons….initially designed to perpetuate, and ever instil ire within the Roman Church. Protestants are still opportunists in the Christian faith stakes….in that they need a righteous cause to hold onto…The Roman Church no longer offers this challenge…more so of late, since the Roman Church commenced interfaith dialogue and connection.

    The ingrained harshness of Protestantism over the past 500 years will probably take another 500 years to subside totally….who unlike the Roman Church, who learnt very quickly, that their doggrel dogma was not going to last very far into the 21st Century.

    The Protestants needed a new star to hitch their imploding fortunes to…..the hardly done by ‘Palestinians’ being the obvious choice. Who better on this Planet…..when you look at the suffering experienced by various other national groupings….the ‘Palestinians’ were tailor made for the Protestants.

    They….the ‘Palestinians’….the Arabs of Jordan, fit the bill perfectly….(allegedly), down trodden, displaced, persecuted and massacred by the ‘recent’ Jewish interlopers, who sin upon sin, are also Zionists.

    At this point Leon, I offer up my own viewpoint, one which I hold to steadfastly. Compliments of the Roman Catholic Church’s initial authorship many, many hundreds of years ago, the Protestants….during the course of their existence, had become besotted with the Catholic’s exhorted claim, that the Jews were the “Christ Killers”.

    That in itself Leon; to myself at least, is the icing on the cake that most sanctimonious Protestants…who subscribe to a fundamental direction, need and see, to sustain their ongoing ‘crusade’ against Israel on behalf of the ‘hardly done by Palestinians’.

    Their ‘holy crusade’ simply doesn’t fit any where else….for the want, or need of such a significant ‘historical fact’. Where does it work best…if not the only place such a claim can be levelled….at the descendants of the “Christ Killers” themselves.

    To lead the charge against the “Christ Killers” is very heady stuff for self excusing Protestants. For myself, I have long since accepted this….knowing the mind set of many Protestants, as well as Catholics, up to the past 20 year mark, was all but consumed by this ‘truth’…and still pervades to this day, if not now closeted more carefully.

    Bigoted ignorance does not cease to exist overnight!

    I can go back for 50 years with examples of Protestant anti Israel posturing, needless to say those as recent as this year, bear adequate proof of this contention….i.e. the St. James Anglican Church, London Piccadilly “Hate Wall”, and the U.S. Mid Western Presbyterian Congregation who sold their Stock Holding in Companies doing business with Israel, to name but two of some half a dozen I am aware of for 2014.

    In a simple analysis, the Protestants need the ‘Palestinian Conflict’, as the Catholic Church once needed the heinous suggestion as to who killed Christ, to believe that they had, and have purpose to their existence.

    I don’t suggest that the Catholic Church is exonerated of their earlier behaviour in this regard, any more than I am sheeting blame solely at the Protestants. Old habits die hard, as both still harbour a certain degree of culpability, and presence of mind in this regard.

    I don’t know if this has enlightened you Leon. I know what I believe…as hard as it is to sometimes get my head around it….for as you suggested, it appears an effortless undertaking for both branches of Christianity to be totally disinterested in the slaughter of fellow Christians in the same general area, in lieu of feigning a caring connection with a group of individuals; those hardly done ‘Palestinians’, who are diametrically opposed to everything, and every value Christianity stands for….or as best as I understand it.