We are facing an unprecedented attack on nearly the whole country by rocket fire from Gaza, Lebanon and Sinai for the last 10 days. By great miracle, we have to thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu that we have had so few casualties by this onslaught. The iron dome has proved to be one of the most effective military defense systems.
This morning at 4:00 a.m., the army lookout spotted a group of 13 terrorists heavily armed, with RPGs, rocket launchers, grenades, guns etc. coming into Israel from an underground tunnel to try and carry out a major terror attack and possibly to capture some Israelis, and escape back through the tunnel. By miraculously spotting them immediately, the army prevented what would have certainly led to major casualties.
Right at the beginning of this war, the chief of staff and the general commanding the southern command suggested that we have a limited entry into Gaza for the very reason of discovering these tunnels.
There is apparently a whole network of tunnels from Gaza and other areas, leading into Israel. These tunnels hold food supplies and enormous amounts of armaments. They are between 20 to 30 meters underground, and are very well built. Their height permits a person to stand upright.
Before the airforce bombs any of the buildings housing terrorists or armaments, we issue a warning for the residents to evacuate in order not to be harmed, but the Hamas are now preventing these people from leaving, either to stop Israel from bombing, or to create major casualties, which afterwards they would use as propaganda in the world.
The heads of Hamas have gone underground since this operation. We do not see them or hear from them, and instead they leave it to the second rankers to handle the situation.
On Motzei the fast of 17th of Tammuz, Mizrachi (represented by Mottle Wolfe), together with a few other organizations delivered over 1,000 pizzas to the soldiers on active duty. These pizzas were ordered from 2 pizza shops in Ashkelon that worked around the clock to supply them, and who otherwise did not have any business because of the continual rocket downpour.
As of today, some 48,000 reserves have been called up in case the decision is made to carry out a ground operation. There is a groundswell of support from the citizens of Israel to undertake this operation, although knowing full well that it will lead to casualties on our side. Nevertheless, in interviewing many of the residents of the south, they are calling on the government not to stop until they have cleaned out the Hamas infrastructure and armaments, stating very clearly that if we don’t do this, we will have another round of rocket fire in a few months or next year, as has occurred four times now.
The Israeli government at the request of the UN has declared a ceasefire for 5 hours, to allow the people of Gaza to go outside, buy food, do banking etc. At the beginning of our ceasefire, the Hamas were still shooting rockets at us.
All this is taking place during the school holidays, and has effectively ruined what should have been a time of joy and fun for the kids of the south, and put enormous pressure on the parents.
As we approach another Shabbat under fire, we pray for peace and quiet and Be’ezrat Hashem we will bring this war to a good end with lasting security for our people.