My friend and neighbor got a call Friday afternoon from his daughter: her young husband, a soldier in the Egoz battalion in Gaza had been wounded.
It was only this evening that I called my neighbor’s wife, Laurie, to get details. Two terrorists had popped out of tunnels in Gaza and fired rocket propelled grenades at her son-in-law’s unit. They exploded. The result was one dead and four injured, two of them badly. Her son-in-law was one of the lucky ones. His was only a shrapnel injury, but it was in his neck, an inch away from his jugular. Laurie took the car and careened down to Ashkelon to meet her distraught daughter in Barzilai hospital. By then, he was post operative, the metal removed and the wound, still bleeding, stitched. He complained that the doctors had cut off his combat uniform. “That’s very expensive!” he fumed. She reminded him that they couldn’t very well slip it over his head and risk pushing the shrapnel in a little further…
When Laurie’s daughter, a student nurse who’d come straight from the hospital in her uniform, told the nurses that he’d bled through his bandages, they directed her to the service cart, and she changed it herself. “Maybe they thought you were staff,” her mother told her. “You should have told them you are the wife.”
Laurie couldn’t believe how wonderful everyone in the hospital treated them. They made sure to find Sabbath-observant Laurie and her daughter a hotel room, and Shabbat food, and even a voucher for parking. Her daughter refused to budge from her husband’s side the entire time, but Laurie got some sleep and joined her the next day. And all day, friends, fellow soldiers, came to visit. The worst injured were in Ichilov. Both had been hit in the face. One will need a new nose; the other a jaw and all of his teeth replaced.
One them is a lone soldier. The army will do everything for him. Everything. In addition, the men who have been with him since he was drafted will be his family, involving their own parents and families to make sure that he lacks nothing.
This is our country. These are our people.
The war with Hezbollah is going to be even worse than Gaza. Yesterday, an anti-tank missile was deliberately directed by that terrorist group at a private home in the North, killing 45 year-old Barak Ayalon and his 70 year-old mother Maya on their poultry farm in Kfar Yuval in the Upper Galilee. These were not combatants. They had evacuated, but needed to make sure the chickens were fed and weren’t suffering, so they came back to care for them.
According to the IDF information page, since the second Lebanon war Hezbollah, under the direction of Iran, has worked tirelessly to build its strength and improve its ability to harm Israel. It is now able to fire hundreds of highly accurate missiles a day into Israel. On the ground, Hezbollah trains Special Forces to cross the border into Israel and invade Israeli towns. In this scenario, which Hezbollah has referred to since 2016 as “Occupation of the Galilee”, small groups of well-trained Special Forces from the “Radwan Force”— which has trained for years in Syria, will infiltrate Israeli towns, carry out widespread massacres on the residents, and take others captive as leverage for bargaining.
It is thought that Nasrallah was planning just such an invasion when Hamas beat him to it. Not wanting to play second fiddle, he decided not to join in. Yet. But Nasrallah has threatened that this conflict would “open the way for hundreds, even thousands of fighters from all over the Arab and Islamic world to participate.”
In two wars in Lebanon, Israel successfully fought terrorists, withdrawing because of internal pressures. The Four Mothers social protest organization successfully lobbied for full withdrawal. On May 24, 2000, three years after the establishment of the movement, the IDF withdrew from Lebanon by the orders of Prime Minister Ehud Barak. As part of the ceasefire agreement, UN Resolution 1701 called for a zone free of armed personnel except for the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah ignored that, as well UN Resolution 1559 and the Lebanese Taif Agreement, which ended the Lebanese Civil War and called for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. Hezbollah clearly shows it has no intention of ever laying down its arms.
Every time Israel pulls back, it forfeits the victory it has earned, losing the its ability to protect its people. Every peace agreement with terrorists is eventually covered in blood. And social protest movements modeled on Four Mothers continue to destroy our country’s morale and its strategic advantage. It is to be hoped October 7 has changed all that.