By: Tamar Adelstein
On Wednesday I spoke with my daughter Ayallah to see how she was holding up as the rocket war from Gaza and Arab rioting was surging.
Ayallah lives along Derech Hevron in Baka in Yerushalayim, a short bus trip from the Kosel. Her beautiful top-floor apartment is encased in windows and skylights, a bonus under normal circumstances but in conditions of terror and war, those windows leave no place for a safe room, and it is six flights down and then more to her building’s shelter in the cellar.
Ayallah described the anxiety she felt waiting on Sunday as text messages and alerts came in to be prepared for an attack at 6 pm. Minutes before the Tzeva Adom sounded alerting everyone to take shelter, my eleven-year-old grandson who had been asked (over and over again) to take out the garbage had finally gotten around to doing so. Just before reaching the landing and going out to the dumpster across the street, the rocket landed. Ayallah screamed, “Yosef, where are you?!” and heard him innocently reply, “Mom, I’m taking out the garbage like you said to,” clearly not comprehending the danger they could be in.
Ordering him to stay put as she flew down the stairs, Ayallah banged on her neighbor’s door to come out and go with her into the shelter. However, the poor woman was in shock and having a panic attack, frozen and unable to move. Ayallah quickly got her going and all three scurried down into the basement where the shelter door, as it turned out, was blocked by people’s stuff left there for storage.
All they could do was lean against the basement walls, pray and hope the building wouldn’t take a hit. Baruch HaShem, when the coast was finally clear, instead of coming up to see mayhem and destruction, believe it or not, there was the sushi guy waiting to deliver their order!
Warnings about pending bombings scheduled to begin every evening at six leave Ayallah and her friends and neighbors understandably on edge and exhausted. Just as things were beginning to wind down from pandemic restrictions and the kids back in school full time, the Arab uprising from “Palestine” and inside Israel has upended any chance for getting back to “normal.”
Punch-drunk on fantasies about peaceful co-existence in “mixed” cities, goodwill gestures — and clinching the deal of the century that would give Arabs a state in Eretz Yisroel in two places with connecting tunnels in between and bridges to Palestinian majority “friendly” Jordan — Israeli leaders seem to be finally sobering up. Thank G-d, so far, they are refusing to capitulate to the pressure to cease fire, which would resolve nothing and give the PLO/PA/Hamas conglomerate a hudna hiatus to acquire more weapons and training.
In our opinion, it really makes no difference if the rockets and rioting are the results of misinformation about the landlord-tenant dispute in Sheik Jarrah or because of a turf war between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for power – these enemies must go!
Like the Lubavitcher Rebbe said, again and again: “The entire Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation. It is forbidden to relinquish any parcel of real estate in Israel to a Gentile, no matter how small.
Any compromise on this is forbidden, even more so when we speak of a city on the border. Today, every single city in Israel has the law of a city on the border.
The one and only reason for this ruling is the danger [it brings] to Jewish lives, G-d forbid.” (Lubavitcher Rebbe, 1978)
In August this past summer, balloon bombs, care of Gaza, burst over Southern Israel for weeks without let up. During that time, Israel and the UAE signed the Abraham Accords. With the ink barely dry on the paper, UAE Foreign Minister Gargash had this to say: “there will now be leverage on Israel that will allow us to help the Palestinians and make it clear to Israel that it needs to compromise and pursue a more sensible policy vis a vis the Palestinians. The commitment we received from Israel not to annex is very clear to me. The presence of the United States as a mediator ensures that the freeze on annexation is real and long-term.” Apparently sensible to them means backing off whenever their brothers stockpile rocks and cement blocks in Al Aksa and elsewhere to throw at Jews.
But what irked us even more were remarks Brigadier General Nimrod Aloni made in September 2020 upon signing another meaningless cease-fire with Hamas. This official from Israel’s top brass admitted, “the agreement is only meant to last 2 months, more or less,” pathetically adding that he hoped “economic cooperation and Qatari money will postpone the next round of fighting.”
Still, that is nothing compared to how we felt after learning the following from S’derot Chabad shlucha Tzvia Pizem who spoke at our Solidarity in Support of our Sisters in Southern Israel event we held in early September just before Chai Elul in the hope that by uniting we would see fulfilled the Baal Shem Tov’s saying that “with one sigh of feeling for another person’s pain, even the most impenetrable barrier can be broken through.”
The hardships living under fire from terrorists in Gaza have gone on for decades. Jews living in S’derot and the Gaza “envelope” suffer not only trauma but also huge financial losses every time their homes, farms and equipment are hit and their crops burned by incendiary bombs. Applying for material and monetary relief from the government is a long and frustrating process. At the same time, Israeli leaders permit goods and services to cross over into Gaza without interruption, even when Hamas is actively firing on Southern Israel.
But there is another aspect to all this that Tzivia brought to our attention that left our blood boiling (to quote PM Netanyahu): the lack of effective shelter in local mikvahs. This means that a woman, in the midst of her preparations, has no way of reaching safety, even with 15 seconds, once the Red Alert sounds! Until each place can raise its own funds to either refurbish or build shelter-safe mikvahs, Jewish women risk their lives every time they go to Mikvah when Hamas is attacking.
The pressure from the UN, the US and other world powers to cease fire is going to be enormous but we in Chabad and others can encourage Israeli leaders to stand strong and not capitulate. We must remind them of the Rebbe’s advice: Do not stop until the operation is complete and the patient is well on the road to lasting recovery! See: The Lubavitcher Rebbe on the Way to Combat Terrorism (from the Year 1969) – Jewish News and Israel news – Breaking News
Let us pray Israeli leaders will adopt the following common sense and concise steps to restore security and bring true peace: Ultimatum – Attack – Siege – Defense – Conquer – Elimination – Sovereignty. See: My Outline for a Solution in Gaza – Israel National News and Zehut’s Peace Plan – Zehut.
May we merit seeing: “Kings with their armies will flee (from the Land of Israel) and the true land-homeowners (the Jewish People) will then divide the spoils.” (Psalms 68:13) Then says HaShem, “I will give peace upon the Land,” in preparation for the Geula Shleima. As Maimonides teaches, “and he, Moshiach, will fight the wars of HaShem and achieve victory and gather the dispersed ones of Israel.” (from a talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the last day of Pesach 1969)
Tamar Adelstein is the coordinator of the Crown Heights Women for the Safety & Integrity of Israel organization. The group’s mission is to unite Jewish women around the world under the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s directives of true peace