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Notes from Jerusalem: Proportionality and Parents

By Rochel Sylvetsky
7/20/2014, 2:07 PM

Defining Proportionality

A good deal has been said in criticism of Israel's strong response despite the lack of success of Hamas rocket barrages in achieving their diabolical objectives. Israel has been accused of non-proportionality in its response, as (thank G-d)  not enough Israelis have been killed for the ratio to approach the number one.

I suggest we ask these critics to compare proportionality of intent instead of proportionality of results.

Hamas wants to eradicate the State of Israel and kill every last one of us. They announce it at every opportunity. They just haven't succeeded.

We want to stop the rocket launchers and eliminate the tunnels. We would be happy to do that without hurting a hair on any Gazan child's head.

Is anyone out there in the UN, EU or the White House willing to challenge Hamas on this new definition of proportionality?

Who are the Innocent Gaza Civilians?

Taking the children out of the equation, since after all, they don't register themselves for Hamas summer training camps, there is still the question of their parents.

Gaza residents have not protested the launching of rockets at Israeli children. That is a no brainer. They hate us and want to see us dead.

But why aren't hundreds of thousands of parents in Gaza filling the main square to protest the placing of launchers endangering their children in private homes and schools?

And don't tell me they are afraid of Hamas. If millions of Egyptians could get in touch with each other anonymously on Facebook, using Twitter and text messages and then go out to face Mubarak and later Morsi at Tahrir Square, braving superior armed forces, so could Gazan "civilians".

Things have changed in the cyber age. No one would know who had initiated the protest.

It hasn't happened. They don’t care. It seems that Golda Meir was right. They still don't love their children more than they hate us.

Israel's Mood Music

Israeli songs have a special beauty of their own, but they are rarely on the radio, except for the few specific hours allotted to them on one or two stations.

So if you turn on the radio in Israel and hear the much loved songs of Israel and the patriotic songs of the IDF on almost every station, you know that war has broken out or that something terrible has happened in that war or on a national scale. Everyone here knows that.

On Friday morning, that music is what told anyone who didn't stay awake Thursday night that there was a Gaza invasion.

This morning the national radio station was playing "Lemaan achay vere-ay adabra na shalom bach" – "for the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say may peace be within you", from Psalms 132. Then came a serious song by religious guitarist-singer Yosef Karduner. The knot in my stomach, the one that forms whenever IDF soldiers are fighting, tightened.

Several hours later, I tuned in again and heard the cheerful, popular song – actually written about a bad day with Israel's bureaucracy -  whose refrain is something of a national maxim: "We survived Pharaoh, we"ll survive this too."

And we will, with G-d's help.

But it is hard to breathe, especially when you already know that the other music will be on again soon.