For Sale: Mortar Umbrellas

Mortar umbrellas for sale? Is there really such a thing? No. But the concept has become a reality. Simply because, in Gush Katif, it is raining mortars.

Aliza Karp

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Mortar umbrellas for sale? Is there really such a thing? No. But the concept has become a reality. Simply because, in Gush Katif, it is raining mortars.

Many of us, whose lifestyles have never equipped us to be familiar with explosive devices, don?t even know what mortars and Kassams are. Let me introduce you. They are projectiles only a few feet long, but very dangerous. They whiz to their destination, sometimes crashing through rooftops, and explode when they land; the Kassam being more powerful than the mortar. They are common in areas where there is a ?security? fence. These little ditties go right over the fence to target the ?secure? people on the other side. The fence, of course, protects the ones sending the missiles.

Speaking of security fences, as the citizens of the Holy Land are worrying about the life threatening formation of a terrorist state and a devastating economic crisis, millions upon millions of shekels are being invested in a security fence that is being built at the speed of insanity. Gush Katif is nestled behind a security fence. When the mortars started vaulting the fence, someone got smart and made the fence higher. Ah-ha! But the next day, the mortars were aimed higher and the rain continued.

Between the time that Operation Defensive Shield began, a year ago Pesach, for about a year, the conditions in Gush Katif had stabilized as compared to the previous year and a half, beginning Rosh Hashana 2000. But now, with the new ?gestures for peace,? much of the army?s hard-earned efforts have been undermined, as the terrorists gain new self-confidence.

With daily or semi-daily regularity - occasionally as many as eight times a day - Arutz Sheva dutifully reports that bombs are falling. For example, one morning last week: reported at 6:30am, ?Arabs fired four mortar shells at Jewish communities located in Gush Katif?; at 9:00am, ?Arabs fire Kassam rocket in Gaza Strip?. As far as the general press is concerned, mortars and Kassams are such a regular occurrence, they are no longer considered news altogether.

Dear readers, try to imagine, in your own neighborhood, whereever you are, that you would hear a whiz followed by a crash and an explosion and then see your neighbor?s kitchen windows pop out. It?s hard to imagine. Even that it should happen once, is hard to imagine. Now, try to imagine that it happens a few hours later across the street and then on the next block. Houses are popping - and it?s not even news!

Absurdity or reality? Or both? But don?t worry. Anyone old enough to remember Frank Zappa, knows that ?it can?t happen here.? The terrorists are not terrorists, they are freedom fighters. Once they gain freedom they will self-morph into flower children. No worry to think they would use their new country as a base for world-wide terror. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you? or would you prefer a shipment of mortar umbrellas?

There is more to the Gush Katif Road Map trauma, and it actually involves the roads. These last few weeks, there is a predictability that on a daily basis, the main roads, the only roads in Gush Katif, will be closed for few hours? but which hours and which roads is not predictable. This is always an inconvenience and often costly, especially in an agricultural community where produce must get to the packing station and out to customers as quickly as possible.

To allow for Jewish traffic to flow without having to interfere with Arab traffic, there is an overpass adjacent to the Kissufim junction, the entrance to Gush Katif. The Arabs drive under the overpass, get out of there cars and climb up to make their ?gestures for peace.? Once spotted, all traffic ceases while our soldiers scan the area to clear the way so the ?extremist settlers? can drive home safely.

Recently, many of these extreme settlers spent the Shavuous holiday with friends and relatives in other parts of the country. When they arrived back at Kisufim junction, already late at night, it was closed due to ?peace? activities. Gush Katif activist Rachel Saperstein and her husband were amongst those stranded until 2am. She reported that everyone got out of their cars and shared Yom Tov stories. There was no all-night caf? nearby, so they also shared leftover cheesecake. They were not angry. They appreciated the dedication of our soldiers, and were once again reminded ?that the Guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.? (Tehillim)

The news can tell us about the number of bombs, mortars, Kassams, whatever their fancy names. And the news will tell us about fatalities, injuries, no injuries and damage to property. But it is also important for us to know the personal damage, the emotional damage, that the people of Gush Katif endure and confront with unusual fortitude. Via email, Anita Tucker of Netzer Hazani described a recent attack on the Arama home:

?Last night Oshrat and the 6 orphans were in their home. The very youngest children were sleeping and the older children were helping the younger ones get ready for bed. The shrapnel from the mortar explosion in their back yard caused the window in that very bedroom to shatter, perforated the shutter and dug holes in all the walls of the room.

?Thank God no one was physically hurt, and as the radio reported: ?only slight damage to property?.

?However, I have no doubt that in the hearts and minds of Oshrat and the six children, they relived the moment in their car when they witnessed their wonderful father murdered by these same cruel Islamic terrorists. How do we measure this damage?

?As always, we look forward to the God initiated, real peace.?
Aliza Karp writes about issues of concern to the Jewish world, including the Lubavitcher Rebbe?s perspective on defending Israel, with special focus on the Jewish community of Hebron.