Israel Update – Week of August 20, 2023
While Israel has known terror attacks since its inception, 2023 has been the bloodiest year since the second Intifadeh of 2002, when suicide bombers were blowing up hotels and restaurants on a daily basis. So far this year, thirty-five Israelis – men, women and children, have been murdered for committing the sin of living in Israel, and the year is only just half over. In the entire 2022, thirty-one Israelis were killed in terror attacks. I shudder to use the word “only.” The horror of terror is made more palatable when numbers replace names. To do justice to the victims, here are their names and the dates of their murders:
On January 27, a terrorist went on a rampage in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood, killing Shaul, Irina, Rafael, Eliyahu, Natali, Ilya and Asher Natan.
On February 10, in a car ramming at a bus stop in the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem, killed two brothers, Yaakov Yisrael and Menachem Asher, aged 5 and 7, as well as Alter Shlomo.
On February 13, a border police officer named Asil Soued was knifed to death at the Shuafat border crossing in Jerusalem.
On February 26, two brothers, Hallel and Yagel, aged 19 and 21, were killed by a sniper as they drove through the town of Hawara.
On February 27, Ilan, an American tourist, was shot as he was parked in his car at the Arava Junction.
On March 9, Or was shot at a nightclub on the busy Diezengoff strip in Tel Aviv.
On April 7, during the Passover holiday, Rina and Maya, two teenage sisters, were shot to death in their car along with their mother, Lucy, in the Jordan Valley.
On the same day, Allesandro, an Italian tourist was killed on Tel Aviv beach promenade.
On May 11, Inga was killed in her home in Rechovot when a Hamas rocket, indiscriminately fired from Gaza, exploded in her living room.
On May 13, Abdullah, a Gazan worker, was killed when another Gazan rocket landed in Shokeda, near the Gaza Strip. A decision by the Defense Ministry and National Insurance Institute entitles his widow and children to compensation by the state.
On May 30, Meir was shot to death while driving out his hometown of Hermesh in Northern Samaria, ten minutes from my daughter’s house. The killer is still at large.
On June 3, an Egyptian officer crossed the Sinai border and shot 3 Israeli soldiers who were sleeping in their bunks.
On June 20, two terrorists opened fire on a gas station and a restaurant near the town of Eli, murdering Elisha, Nachman, Harel, and Ofer. Another four were critically wounded. Elisha had just finished High School that morning.
On July 9, in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Neot Afeka, 9 people were injured in a shooting. Saada lost a 6-month fetus.
On August 5, on a crowded pedestrian mall in Tel Aviv, Chen, a security agent, was killed in the act of preventing a mass shooting.
On August 19, again in the town of Hawara, Shai and his son Aviad, were shot at point-blank range at a garage as they waited for their car to be repaired.
On August 21, Bat Sheva was shot by a passing car at the gate of her hometown, Beit Hagai. Her 6-year old daughter was riding in the car with her.
Meanwhile, the town of Jenin has become a lion’s den of terror. During “Operation House and Garden” in the first week of July, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) entered the Jenin Refugee Camp with the goal of dismantling the terrorist infrastructure. While the results were impressive, it is all but a certainty that many more operations will be necessary to uproot Jenin’s terror network. If we thought that things couldn’t get any worse, over the last few months, terrorists have attempted, so far unsuccessfully, to fire home-made rockets into Israeli towns near Jenin. A recent article (in Hebrew) in the Makor Rishon newspaper traces the initial reports of home-made Qassam rockets in Gaza in the late 1990s to the first successful rocket launch on the town of Sederot in 2002. It all sounds eerily familiar. We will never let the terrorists hold our towns hostage… In the opinion of this rocket scientist, it is only a matter of time until large towns in Israel’s mid-section – Netania, Hadera, and Zichron Yaakov – will be regularly targeted by rockets with ever-increasing range, explosive power, and precision.
It is not surprising that the country is in a funk. After all, one of the reasons that Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government was voted into power was to staunch this wave of terror. And yet, people feel that nothing is being done. Many feel threatened and unprotected. Many feel violated. Many feel that the leadership is helpless and that their words ring shallow. Worst of all, many feel that there is no end in sight.
Wishing you a quiet week,