Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Chanukah Surprise

In a fitting Chanuka gift to the nation and to the world, our government, over Shabbat, finally ordered a strike on Hamas in Gaza - a pretty powerful one at that. One hundred tons of ordinance were dropped on terrorist targets, police and terror training facilities, in an operation that took Hamas by surprise. Over 250 were killed, nearly all of them Hamas officials and terrorists including the senior commander of Hamas' police force, Tawfik Jabber, his military assistant, Ismail al-Ja'abri, commander of defense and security, and Abu-Ahmad Ashur, governor of the central district.

Operation Cast-Lead, as it is called - from a Chanukah poem by H.R Bialik (see below) - continues this morning with rocket launching sites, Hamas government offices and television stations being the recipients of today's IAF bombings.

Very few civilians have been casualties, but I must remind our readers that we are at war. Unfortunately, some civilians casualties can happen. The people in Aza elected this terrorist government, and unfortunately, the terrorists hide behind and in the midst of civilians so that they can manipulate the media PR against Israel.

Within Israel, power and other utilities are being affected for whatever reasons, and areas along the Gaza corridor and much deeper into Israel are now hearing the Tzeva Adom (Color Red Alert), some for the first time....places like Gan Yavneh and Ashdod.

In an attempt to placate world criticism and demonstrate that our target is Hamas, not the civilian population, our government this morning ordered crossings into Gaza to open - to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and to receive out of Gaza, and into Israel, some of the wounded who will receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.

This is what makes the situation so crazy. What other government or country in the world would feed and heal the enemy? Many think this is exemplary and laudable, showing the world that we are compassionate people above all else; others think it is insanity.. aiding and abetting the enemy is, after all, treason. While I tend to lean towards the second opinion, some things happen in spite of ourselves that are beyond understanding... thus I will leave this matter untouched by much commentary.

Of course, all of this could have been avoided had we not destroyed the lives and homes of the beautiful and brave Jews who lived in Gush Katif. Beyond that - given the reality of that cowardly deed by our government, had we gone in many months ago to destroy the terrorists activities and developments, we would find ourselves in a much less dangerous situation. By our appeasement, we have allowed the poison of Hamas to fester and grow to a much larger problem.

Of course, the timing of this coincides with the elections, and one worries that the elections may now be postponed and Olmert will continue to operate as Prime Minister, indefinitely....even though he resigned weeks ago. It's a sobering reality, and a sickening one. However, the words of my friend, Moshe Kempinski, whom I often quote in this blog, sum it up in an encouraging way. Believing that rising up with courage to destroy evil and defeat our enemies, is indeed the G-d given mandate for Israel in this hour, he said this: ".... when a nation is led into a path that coincides with their destiny and survival, the reasons behind the move are less important."

One last piece of information. Our strategic operations are given names that have significance. It is important to us that this courage to act against Hamas came in the midst of Chanukah. While the more popular celebration of this holiday focuses on the miracle of the oil burning for 8 days in the recaptured and cleansed Temple, (Chanukah means "dedication", i.e. the (re)dedication of the altar in the Temple), an equally significant importance of Chanukah is to remember the miraculous victory that God gave us, and to remember the faith and bravery of the Maccabees, whose victory over the Greeks was profound, unexpected and dramatic.

Through the ages, Jews have remembered this miraculous victory in ways that aren't observable to the world. One way is in the spin of the dreidle...its letters in Israel are נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (Hei), פ (Pei) "A great miracle happened here."

One of our beloved poets, Haim Nahman Bialik wrote this poem, which on the surface is just about tops and pancakes, but at a deeper level recognizes the importance of this remembrance. The finest of victories is exemplified by the finest of dreidles - one made of solid or cast-lead.

Here is his poem. May our soldiers be protected by the Almighty as they go to battle.

For Hanukkah

Father lighted candles for me;
Like a torch the Shamash shone.
In whose honor, for whose glory?
For Hanukkah alone.

Teacher bought a big top for me,
Solid lead, the finest known.
In whose honor, for whose glory?
For Hanukkah alone.

Mother made a pancake for me,
Hot and sweet and sugar-strewn.
In whose honor, for whose glory?
For Hanukkah alone.

Uncle had a present for me,
An old penny for my own.
In whose honor, for whose glory?
For Hanukkah alone.

(This post is also on the parallel blog TodayInIsrael)

No comments:

Post a Comment