By Sherry Dreyfuss
President, Jewish Federation of Rockford
This summer’s Gaza Israeli War is still making the news and editorial pages. The suffering of the Palestinians is highlighted. When I read these stories, two thoughts come to mind. First, it is true that the Palestinian people suffered greatly. People were killed, homes were destroyed, and civilians were terrorized from within. The Israeli people also suffered. More than 3,000 deadly missiles were launched at innocent civilians, and dozens of terror tunnels were discovered dug under the border into Israeli residential areas. These tunnels were going to be used to launch an attack in Israel to kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible. Israelis were killed and traumatized. Children were afraid to leave shelters even to go to the bathroom.
Who is to blame for all this? The answer is Hamas, the terror organization whose charter calls for the destruction of all Jews. The Israelis and Palestinians both suffer greatly because of Hamas. According to U.N. documents, almost 200 Palestinian children were killed in accidents while being forced to build the terror tunnels. Resources meant to build infrastructure were diverted by Hamas to build tunnels and missiles instead of schools and hospitals. Dozens of Palestinian men were publicly executed with no trial because they were supposedly collaborating with Israel. They were not working with Israel and were most likely executed because they were rivals of Hamas or to settle feuds. The worst offense of Hamas is the use of Palestinian women and children as human shields. This is why so many are killed. Hamas uses mosques, schools, and homes to store weapons, fire missiles, and build openings for terror tunnels. Palestinians are forced to stay in these buildings, even after Israel drops leaflets, calls Palestinians and drops warning noisemakers on the roofs to evacuate buildings before destroying them. Israel does not want to kill civilians, but Israel is forced to defend itself. Israel is a tiny country the size of New Jersey that is fighting to survive. Those who demonize Israel instead of Hamas just prolong the suffering of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
With so many people trying to prevent Israel from protecting its citizens, my second thought is how much the world would lose if Israel were destroyed. Israel is an oasis of medical, environmental and technological innovation. Trials are occurring on a cure for Ebola and ALS, among other diseases. Two teams of Israelis are now in Sierra Leone trying to help stop the spreading of the disease, setting up “eye camps” for people who would not otherwise have access to the technology and treatments. The Israeli organization, Save a Child’s Heart, treats children from all over the world who suffer from heart disease, providing free heart surgeries.
Israel developed drip irrigation, which has made it possible to turn a desert into agricultural land, not only in Israel, but also in developing countries of Africa. Israel is a pioneer in turning seawater into drinking water. Israel is home to thousands of high-tech startups. Just think how much more Israel could contribute to the world if it didn’t have to use so many resources to just survive. Hamas is a branch from the same poisonous tree as ISIS. The anti-Israeli forces need to stop justifying Hamas’ barbaric actions and help defeat them for the sake of the Israelis and Palestinians.
From the Oct. 15-21, 2014, issue