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June 22, 2014 | 24 Tammuz 5774
Update on Israel and Gaza 7.22.14


7 Reflections with a Heavy Heart


  1. War is horrible, unpredictable, bloody and always results in death - far too many people will be killed on all sides of the conflict. We mourn every death, our own soldiers and civilians, and those of civilians caught in the conflict.
  2. There will be more casualties, they will seem horrific, and we - even those who support Israel's right to defend itself - will soon tire of all this death.
  3. We will tire of reading the propaganda, anti-Israel diatribes, anti-Semitic hatred, one sided new reports, news that tries to compare high numbers of civilian deaths with lower numbers and call it unproportional even though Hamas is using Gaza civilians as human shields as it continues to tunnel toward kidnapping and killing, and fire rockets at Israeli civilians.
  4. We will struggle to remember - as so many around the world already have forgotten - that Israel didn't want this conflict and had (a) made clear it didn't want this conflict, (b) offered "quiet for quiet," (c) accepted a ceasefire, (d) showed incredible patience for quite a while as 100s of rockets were shot daily at Israeli cities big and small.
  5. We will struggle to recall that since the last ceasefire, Israel has built Iron Dome to protect its citizens, while Hamas has used concrete and other building supplies to build attack tunnels under the Israeli border right up to kibbutzim and towns and cities. This was concrete and other materials that Israel had agreed to let through to Gaza only after being assured they would be for building schools and hospitals and homes and that the "end the Gaza blockade" proponents had assured Israel would be for peaceful humanitarian purposes only.
  6. We will need to dig deep, amidst the deaths and destruction to remember that for Israel to go back to a ceasefire at this time would be for Israel to leave its citizens: (a) vulnerable to more rocket attacks as Hamas smuggles in or builds more longer range rockets, (b) vulnerable to kidnapping and death from the vast system of tunnels under the Israeli border, and (c) vulnerable to "quiet" that's not really quiet as Hamas rearms itself.
  7. War is horrible and we mourn each death of innocent Palestinians as we mourn each death of Israelis. Still, we pledge not to tire from reading about, not to stop struggling to recall, not to stop remembering, not to stop digging deep to face this horror and remember that Israel never wanted this but cannot go back to the status quo.

Sha'alu shalom lirushalayim. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Israel and the whole Mideast.


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Rabbi Paul Kipnes
Congregation Or Ami