Hamas’s statement after the assassination of Ahmed Jabari said, among other things, that even in death he had won because he died a shahid (martyr). If that is so, it is not clear what they want to avenge. After all, a statement that they would avenge his death is tantamount to an admission of lack of faith, since if it was the State of Israel that enabled him to die a shahid, they should be grateful to the IDF.
Jabari, the commander of Hamas’ army, knew very well that if he did what he did, he would not die of old age. Hamas’ statement in response to his assassination was explicit confirmation of that. So what are they complaining about?
The following story illustrates the significance of statements that threaten imminent revenge:
An ignorant person had difficulty understanding the Passover customs. After consulting his wife, he sent her to peek in the neighbors’ window to see how they conducted the Passover seder. She went out, peeked through the window and was shocked: the blacksmith was standing in the middle of the house, his sleeves rolled up, beating his wife with a rake!
In terrible anxiety, she returned home.
Her husband asked her: What did you see?
She gave no answer. Her husband asked her again, and she remained silent, as if she had swallowed her tongue.
Her husband became angry, rolled up his sleeves, took hold of the rake and began to strike her with it.
The wretched woman bit back her protests and accepted her fate, saying only: Why ask if you already know the answer? (from a story by Alter Druyanov)
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Over the course of two days more than 130 rockets were fired at Israel. Before Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, 130 rockets wouldn't have been fired in an entire year.
At the beginning of the week we were bombarded with advice from the people who were either responsible for the 2005 withdrawal or supported it. Today, we are paying dearly for the insane policy that they themselves pushed forward. People posing as enlightened and intelligent — a pose that usually involves carrying a copy of Haaretz or Yedioth Ahronoth under one’s arm, a tormented expression and a tray of sushi — led an entire country to the false hope of peace. So now, it is only right to start the debate by saying that nobody is going to listen to them, and that even the babies who once lived in Gaza's settlement bloc, Gush Katif, had a better understanding of the Middle East than they did.
An Associated Press news report from last week told the story of a pizza delivery man in New York, a devout Catholic devoted to his church, whose wife had cancer. The man went regularly to his church to pray for his wife, who eventually recovered. The grateful man went to the heads of the church and told them about his wife’s miraculous recovery, which had occurred thanks to the church they headed. He wished to express his gratitude not only in word, but also in deed. So the church heads made an agreement with him that he would take on a project for the church — cleaning the large marble cross near which he had stood to pray for his wife’s recovery.
He began to clean the cross, but as he worked, the cross became unstable, swayed and fell on him. The man was injured. He is now suing the church.
This is our story, too. People who were on fire with messianic faith that the disengagement would save Israel found that the cross had fallen on them. The disengagement collapsed to the sounds of exploding rockets. But there is a difference: they did not pay the price.
Just in time
On Thursday, some of the front-page headlines in the Haredi newspapers were about the rabbis’ call to recite chapters of Psalms in order to avert an evil decree. They were not referring to a terror attack. They were referring to the draft of haredim (ultra-Orthodox). Without a doubt, the timing certainly proves the depth of insight of haredi “sages.”
Be careful what you preach ...
The Emunah national religious women’s group has begun enrollment for a course on becoming a kashrut supervisor. Yes, for women. It may seem insignificant, but this is how revolutions begin. It might also be said this way: a few wheeler-dealers in the rabbinate who preached that women should stay in the kitchen are about to be sorry.
Someone to rely on?
The resignation of the director of the CIA, General David Petraeus, after his extramarital affair came to light, raises several questions. The case calls to mind a statement by Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi after a Knesset speech by a former member of Knesset who had once been a high-ranking official of the Israel Security Agency. Tibi said that it was a mistake to let him give a speech because the organization lost its deterrent power thereby: if a man like that could climb so high in the ISA, there was no need to fear him. In the same spirit, if the head of the CIA is incapable of concealing an affair, can he be entrusted with secrets? Why did he never think to delete emails that could expose him? Was he really that unsophisticated?
An incident that took place several years ago can serve as an example. The CIA decided to train the perfect spy and plant him in Moscow. The best teachers taught him Russian language, culture and dress. After four years of preparation, he knew every possible detail of a Russian citizen’s life.
When the agent landed in Moscow, he told a police officer at passport control, in perfect Russian, “I’m happy to come home to Russia.” The Russian police officer answered in English, “But you’re a spy from the CIA.”
The agent left the airport, got into a taxi, and spoke to the driver in perfect Russian.
The taxi driver answered in English, “Ah, you’re a spy from the CIA.”
When they reached the building, the man spoke to the doorman in perfect Russian and got yet another answer in English: “You’re a spy from the CIA.”
This time, the man asked the doorman, “My clothes are from Moscow and my Russian is perfect. So why are people saying right away that I’m an American agent?”
The doorman burst out laughing. “You’re black and six feet tall.”
Minister Avi Dichter said earlier this week that the Gaza Strip needed reformatting. I can say from experience that before taking such a drastic measure, it’s best to try turning the power off and then turning it back on.