For the past several days, terrorists have been firing rockets into Israel. At least one person was killed, and several have been injured and traumatized. Today, rockets were fired at areas around Jerusalem. These attacks are linked to Israel’s Operation Shield and Arrow, a defensive military operation targeting the Islamic Jihad entrenched within Gaza. The Islamic Jihad is a terrorist organization inspired by the Iranian revolution of 1979 and is one of the groups responsible for the countless rockets fired into Israel over the years.
Rocket attacks have become part of life for Israelis living in areas around Gaza, even for those living in areas in and around Tel Aviv. Fortunately, Israel, with the help of the United States, has invested in the Iron Dome and David’s Sling, air defense missile systems, the latter being used to destroy mid-range missiles launched in Israel. Two days ago, David’s Sling made its first ever interception of a terrorist missile as it soared into Tel Aviv. This morning, it made its second interception – destroying a missile launched at Jerusalem. These mid-range missiles are funded by and even built in Iran, a sinister reminder of the dangers Israel faces.
I have always felt that every missile launched into Israel is an attack on Jews all over the world. I have an app on my phone called Red Alert that is a life saver for those living in Israel as it notifies you immediately when a missile is headed your way, giving you moments to enter a bomb shelter or protective space. I keep that app active on my phone to remind me of the threat Israelis face on a regular basis. It is a reminder that while we American Jews have our challenges, the threats we face are nothing compared to our Israel brothers and sisters. Soon after the 2021 Israel-Gaza war, I traveled to Israel to help those directly impacted by the missile attacks, visiting homes and communities that were destroyed by rockets. Every time my Red Alert goes off, I think about what I saw in 2021, that the missiles are trageting innocent people living their lives. My heart sinks.
This morning’s rocket attack on Jerusalem was different. It wasn’t just my Israeli brothers and sisters who were in harm’s way. It was my own kid, my daughter, who was in the line of fire. She is spending Shabbat in Jerusalem. We’ve taught her well. Within moments of the Red Alert sounding, she sent us this picture:
As you can see, she is praying at the Kotel (Western Wall). Look closely at her watch. You can see Red Alert notifying her that there is a rocket attack in Alon Shvut, an area south of Jerusalem, south of where she was standing. She called soon after she took this picture. “Everything is okay here, dad,” she said. “People are all acting normally.” She was one of them, rushing off to buy me a kippah and grab some rugelach at Marzipan Bakery in Machaneh Yehudah Market.
Menachem Begin, Israel’s sixth Prime Minister, once explained that “I am not a Jew with trembling knees.” To be an Israeli, a Zionist, and a proud Jews, none of us can have trembling knees. This morning, when I spoke to my kid, I took great pride in knowing that she doesn’t have trembling knees. Despite those attempting to annihilate life in Israel, thanks to the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, the IDF, and strong, confident, powerful Jews whose knees are anything but trembling, AM YISRAEL CHAI – the Jewish people live.
As always, as we prepare for Shabbat, join me in keeping the State of Israel in your thoughts and prayers. At the same time, ensure that your knees do not tremble. We are Jews. We are tough.
Yes, your daughter, my nephew, both in Israel. I pray for safety for them and for everyone.