Israel is too small for any area, any community not to be touched by the present war with Hizbullah in the north and Hamas to the south. Jerusalem is not (yet) in the cross-hairs of enemy missiles, but everyone feels the tension. Tel Aviv sits under Hassan Nasrallah?s televised threat that Hizbullah will give a one-hour warning before launching 500 long-range missiles in a massive singular attack to destroy the booming metropolis. Battle lines have once again been drawn in the north, but the ?front line? is every community in Israel.

International media attention is focused on the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, but there are two sides to every war. Israel also has a humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people are now homeless, with over 1.5 million Israelis living day and night in stifling hot bomb shelters with minimal food and supplies. Thousands are fleeing the north. Jews throughout Israel are offering homes, dormitories, yeshivas, apartments, even floors and sofas, to the missile-frazzled men, women and children trying to escape the daily, round-the-clock bombardment of hundreds of Hizbullah missiles fired upon our northern communities. Curiously, Israel?s humanitarian situation goes largely unnoticed by foreign media.

The voices of our afflicted citizens are not crying out to the international community. Instead, the country is rallying to provide the assistance needed. Blood-donor drives are on. Synagogues and organizations are receiving donations of food, books, candy, board games and money to help the people in the bomb shelters and to encourage our soldiers on the battlefront. Professional therapists and agencies are providing free stress and trauma counseling, while others offer emergency preparedness sessions.

Suicide-bombing attempts and terror threats in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have increased. Thank G-d, the terrorists are being caught and tragedies averted. Throughout the country, religious and secular Jews are now coming together with one resolve. A national consciousness seems to be breaking through.

The terror attacks have gone on too long. Too many of our people have been killed and injured. The national wound of the Disengagement still festers. Mockery and defilement of Jerusalem?s holiness by the antics of a World Gay Pride Week has been suspended, but not averted. The thorns in the collective flesh of the Jews of Israel are many these days. Are they stinging sufficiently that we want them removed?

Israel is a sovereign state. On July 12th, we were attacked. Eight IDF soldiers were killed and two kidnapped. Just weeks earlier, in Gaza, Cpl. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and two soldiers killed. No democratic country in the world would simply sit back and not respond. Even in responding, Israel holds back. The IAF has repeatedly air-dropped leaflets to warn Lebanese civilians of impending strikes, urging them to leave the area or seek shelter. Do other armies so diligently forewarn the citizens of their adversary state? Contrary to recent media innuendo, the value of human life is paramount among Jews.

Israeli forces are forced to engage Hizbullah positions, underground bunkers and munitions warehouses buried deep within civilian areas, surrounded by both willing and unwilling human shields. Reports from southern Lebanon tell of Hizbullah preventing Lebanese civilians from fleeing to safety. Meanwhile, the missiles slamming into Haifa are filled with pellets and ball-bearings that pierce metal and bodies, riddling flesh and organs with holes akin to swiss cheese - a signature Iranian missile design.

Walking along the streets of Israel, heightened security is everywhere. It is common to see cars pulled over, their occupants being questioned by the police. Edgy nerves and anxious faces abound, but with each new week, anxiety seems to give way to the steely resolve now genetic amongst Jews, infused into our DNA by centuries of persecution and attacks. Daily life goes on, and it will continue to go on. A wedding in a northern bomb shelter last week was a shot of adrenalin to Jews throughout Israel and abroad. Encouraged by the valiant spirit of the young couple, people nonetheless take measures to protect themselves.

Throughout the country, an increase in tension and diligence is evident on the part of security guards. There is a brittle edge to the levity and social banter of the many people on the streets at night in the commercial districts of Jerusalem. Voices are louder. Laughter is more pronounced. Physical gestures and actions seem exaggerated. Could it be societal anxiety diffusion?

Fighting hems us in from north and south. Televisions and radios blare in stores, businesses, on buses. Staff, customers and passersby are transfixed by the television screens and tuned in to the radio broadcasts. In homes, normal routines have run amok as people sit glued to the news reports. The war is everywhere in Israel.

In Jerusalem recently, a would-be suicide bomber was apprehended on his way to blow up innocent civilians at City Hall, in a plaza always populated by both Jews and Arabs. Suicide bombers are rather indiscriminate these days, not caring whether they murder their own people with their passion to kill Jews. A Hizbullah missile slammed into Nazareth, killing two Arab children.

Hizbullah?s leader, Nasrallah, claimed responsibility for the murders in a televised public apology, deeming the young victims to be martyrs for Allah. But it matters not who was responsible, the parents and community in Nazareth blame Israel.

The city of Haifa also has one of the highest Arab populations in Israel. Meanwhile, Hizbullah rockets and missiles continue pounding it day after day. The terrorists are murdering and injuring their own people and the blame falls on Israel. Black is white and white is black, just as the prophets foretold.

There is widespread support in Israel for our country?s continued response to Hizbullah?s attacks. Many Israeli citizens made Aliyah from North America or Europe; their respective former countries would not tolerate such attacks for a moment. For Israel to sit back, to rush towards an imposed ceasefire, seems ludicrous. Frustration has long been simmering on the back burner. Our country has been forced, or acquiesced, to exercise levels of restrain that far exceed the normal expectation in civilized Western countries.

Through it all, we have patiently allowed ourselves and our belongings to be searched each time we go to a restaurant, a bank, a public office, even to the store. All the while, we have cast a careful glance at others boarding our public buses, scanning for any visible signs of concealed explosives.

Israel has exceeded all normal parameters of restraint, at great personal cost to its citizens. Israel wants peace as much as anyone; in fact, Israel probably wants it most of all, but there is only so far a country can be pushed before it must take a stand for its people and its rights. The ?mark? has been exceeded.

It is time for Jews to stand up and be counted as Jews - one nation, one land; both appointed by G-d.