A Summer on the Brink of War

rocketA series of rocket barrages in July have brought Israel to the brink of war with Hamas on several occasions, averted only by fragile cease-fires at the last minute.

The threat from the south was mirrored by even more danger from the north as Israel is forced to shoot down a Syrian war plane that entered Israeli airspace. The following day, two errant “Grad” rockets landed in the Sea of Galilee, near a crowded beach. The rockets were reportedly fired by ISIS.

One day after that, a terrorist infiltrated the town of Adam and stabbed three people, killing Yatom Ovadia, a father of two children under the age of two.

In each case, Israeli forces were took decisive action to protect its people, including the first use of the new David’s Sling missile defense system in the north.

Unfortunately, threats from both fronts continue and show no sign of ending. Fighting in Syria remains perilously close to Israel’s border and constantly threatens to encroach it.

Meanwhile, terrorists in the south have unveiled a new weapon against Israel. Along with rocket attacks, terrorists introduced burning kites and balloons filled with explosives sent over the border. Since March, the kites and balloons have caused more than 450 fires destroying 8,000 acres of Israeli agricultural lands and nature reserves. The damage has been estimated at more than $2 million.

For residents of the south, the situation has rekindled the traumas of 2010, 2012, and 2014, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian areas. The number of rockets from Gaza in 2018 may exceed those figures as more than 400 have already been fired this year. More than 170 were fired over one weekend in July.

Even without all-out war, IDF soldier Aviv Levy, was killed in a sniper attack over the Gaza border. Although he was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was hit in the chest, the terrorists were using a caliber rifle supplied by Iran that was able to puncture through the protective gear. Another officer was wounded a few days later in another sniper attack.

And despite alarms and Iron Dome missile defense systems, the rockets from Gaza have caused casualties. Three members of the Buchris family, including two teenage girls, were hospitalized when a rocket struck their home in Sderot.

The house has been completely destroyed, and Aharon Buchris and his two daughters suffered wounds from shrapnel and broken glass in their heads and legs. Aharon needed surgery to remove the shards of glass from his face.

Israel has responded to the Palestinian aggression with strategic bombing attacks from the air, closures of crossings between Gaza and Israel, and political pressure on Hamas to halt the violence from the territory it controls. The current cease fire came about after the Egyptian government warned Hamas that Israel was prepared to go to war within hours if Hamas did not accept Israel’s terms.

With each new wave of rockets, the residents are forced to return to the nightmare cycle of Red Alerts and desperate flight to the nearest safe area.

“The children were born into trauma,” said Katy, who was injured in a rocket attack in 2014. “Each day, they ask ‘will there be an alarm today?’ as though they are preparing themselves for the possibility of more rockets.

“That’s how it’s been, and that’s how it will be in the future in Sderot,” she added.

 

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