In this article I wish to go back a few years to 2011 to shed some light on the continuing rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist government in Gaza against Israeli civilians. This backstory aims to inform about just one.
Since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have carried out hundreds of horrific suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings and ramming attacks that have killed and maimed thousands of Israelis. To those who advocate giving the Palestinian Authority a state in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank), there is a legitimate concern that, as in Gaza, a terrorist organization controlled by Iran, would overthrow any government.
For years, Hamas has been building up its military capacities, using funds intended for Gaza’s civilians and extorting the local economy to increase its weapons stockpiles and build cross-border attack tunnels. It is said that Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, to Israel’s north, has about 140,000 missiles supplied by Iran, ready to terrorize, kill, and maim, Israelis in the north of Israel.
In early May of this year, Israelis living in the south of the country woke up to yet another barrage of rockets from Gaza. Between Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups launched over 600 rockets and mortars at Israelis from Gaza (as of May 5th at 6 pm).
Hamas fires rockets deliberately into Israeli civilian areas, like Sderot, Ashkelon and Beersheba, all cities contained in the original 1948 borders of Israel; that is, they do not pretend that they are after only so-called “occupied” areas. Israel responds to take out the rocket-launchers, which Hamas deliberately puts in civilian areas, so that they can protest that the Israelis too kill civilians. The only difference, which is the whole point, is that the Israelis do not target individual citizens and take great pains to avoid that, while Hamas intentionally targets only civilians and does not bother firing at military installations.
After Operation Cast Lead, where Israel took military action against Hamas, there were outcries that the Israelis were morally equivalent to the Hamas operatives. These outcries were politically motivated and were not substantiated in fact. The United Nations chose to do a quick investigation headed up by a noted critic of Israel with committee members who had made comments indicating that they had pre-judged the issue under study, and the so-called Goldstone Report (named after the South African Judge, Richard Goldstone who headed it) indicated that Israel might have committed war crimes. However, after his report was shown to be erroneous, Judge Goldstone recanted that allegation in a recent piece in the Washington Post and stated that the Israeli army in fact took steps to prevent civilian casualties. (The Israelis used leaflets and even cell phone calls to warn civilians if they were targeting nearby Hamas rocket installations.)
In early April, 2011, Hamas fired a rocket that hit a school bus, critically injuring a 16 year old boy, Daniel Viflic, and less critically, injuring the school bus driver. Photos showed that the entire bus was destroyed (the rocket was of the type that can take out an armed tank). Fortunately, the boy was the last student being delivered and only he and the driver were on the bus when it was hit, or else many students might have died or been seriously injured. In fact a large number of children had only just been dropped off. To read about the life of the dead boy and the effect of his life and death upon others, his mother wrote a beautiful and sad eulogy which can be read here.
This was a yellow school bus, and as such was easily identifiable despite Hamas claims that it might have been a military vehicle.
The Israeli government has undertaken attacks on Gaza to try to stop these rockets. Of course, most newspapers in the world will report this story with a kind of moral equivalence – they will doubtless talk about reciprocal attacks and make sure to stress the number of Gazans killed or hurt, and then compare it to the number of Israelis killed or hurt. This moral equivalency builds on a failure to study the causes of the violence and understand who it was who attacked civilians – and who has an army that tries at tremendous cost to minimize civilian casualties, even though Hamas positions its rockets in urban areas intentionally.
This moral equivalency is the view of cultural and moral relativists, who hold that one cannot determine right and wrong or Good and Evil and that in fact every culture is as good and right as every other culture. The view often is accompanied by an anti-Westernism that holds that unempowered groups have a right to use violence against empowered groups, and that only the politically correct can decide who is powered and who is unempowered and therefore which side is justified and which side is to be condemned.
In my writings (such as my book, TOLERism: The Ideology Revealed, Mantua Books and The Ideological Path to Submission, Mantua Books), I have dealt in detail with the mischief brought to our western political culture by the moral and cultural relativists, and their hiding behind the concept of Tolerance, as a way to appease the Bad who are attacking the Good.
So, in order to try to clarify what exactly is behind the headlines – that applied a morally equivalent whitewash to the news from Gaza and the Israeli school bus and land nearby – I wish to provide some context. Most people know that Gaza under Hamas is an Islamofascist terror state, with no fundamental human rights for women, minorities, children, arrested persons or those who wish to speak out against breaches of human rights by Government.
What of the Israeli neighbors, who must deal with attacks on their school buses against their children – who are they and what do they stand for? Since I doubt than any mainstream media will be interested in this topic, I think it is important for me to write about it.
The bus bombing was just outside of Kibbutz Sa’ad. Although Israel is today largely a capitalist high tech nation, much of the country was settled in a communal framework, and there are still a good number of settlements which retain various communal aspects.
As such, these institutions are a form of socialism, and one would think that for American and European Leftists, this communal, socialist element would create some admiration; it is sad, of course, to see that the anti-Semitism (composed of the demonization, delegitimization and double standards applied to Israel) have superseded what should be an attraction to socialist ideals at work.
Kibbutz Sa’ad was established on June 30th, 1947 by a group of pioneers from the B’nei Akiva religious Zionist movement, whose dream was to start a kibbutz which would embody values of Torah and work. It was substantially destroyed in 1948 when the Egyptian army invaded to try to wipe out the UN authorized new state of Israel. It is now a blooming, prosperous community in the Northern Negev region just south of Ashkelon.
Kibbutz Sa’ad’s multigenerational population generates its income from agriculture and industry. Sa’ad members enjoy a rich religious, social, and cultural life.
The Kibbutz Sa’ad community is made up of 140 families, with a population of about 700. Members and residents are employed according to their occupation and career choice, either within the kibbutz structure or outside it.
Sa’ad’s members live according to many ideals and religious values, with an emphasis on contribution to Israel society as a whole. The kibbutz runs and participates in several unique educational frameworks such as Youth Education, a school and dormitory framework for teenagers from broken homes; Foster Family, for grade school children; Conversion Ulpan, for families and young people; and Nativ, a one year program in Israel for American teens.
In other words, this group of people, working in both agriculture and industry, have made it a priority in their lives to help others – especially children from broken homes. They are religious people who also make time for Torah study and prayer. They are a good example of how adherence to the values of Justice, both individual justice and social justice, can be translated into the actions of a community and the events of daily life, in a setting where everyone contributes to the financial viability of the community and the not-so-fortunate who the community helps.
Sa’ad’s crops include carrots, potatoes, avocados, almonds, citrus fruit, and more. Sa’ad has a large dairy farm and a poultry farm.
Sa’ad’s industries include Syfan, a plant that manufactures plastic shrink film for packaging, and Popli, which supplies popcorn products and pet food. Syfan supplies shrink wrap to the huge Swedish furniture chain, IKEA.
Kibbutz Sa’ad also has a fashion outlet called Kav LeKav, which sells clothes for men, women, and children; Ahinoam Jewelry where handmade jewelry in sterling silver is created; a graphic design studio “Kesem”, and an auto service center.
One of Sa’ad’s newest establishments open to the public is Beit Shikma, a beautiful convalescent and geriatric home where patients receive round-the-clock care.
One of the members of the Kibbutz is artist Joseph Bernhard. He has been a member of Kibbutz Saad since 1950. He graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art, Jerusalem, in 1976.
Among his works are internal and external wall facades made using various techniques such as mosaic, burnt brick, river stones, as well as murals of many kinds.
In 1995 Joseph Bernhard created the giant (3700 square meter) mural on the power station at the Dead Sea Works in Sodom, Israel. In recent years he has been developing and expressing an interest in environmental art.
Many of the Kibbutz members have advanced university degrees. For example, the accounting manager, Ron Weisel, has a B.A. in Economics from UCLA, and an MBA from University of Chicago.
The school bus bombing is not the first bombing to hit the kibbutz area. On July 7, 2006, Hamas hit the Kibbutz with a Kassam rocket, and there were numerous others up to the most recent incident.
It is clear to me that Israeli attempts to strike back at the rocket launching sites will result in deaths of Palestinians and the world media will report all of this as just the latest in what they term (as part of their moral relativism) a cycle of violence. So, hopefully, this short account gives a little knowledge about the Israeli community – that suffers from attacks on its civilians as part of an Arab and Islamist attempt to destroy the country of Israel and replace it with an Islamic state. It is up to the reader to determine whether the state of Israel and its people, both young and old, are really morally equivalent to Hamas and its ilk.