This past couple of weeks hasn’t been an easy one for those of us living in Israel. The Premium Zone had all angles of Operation Pillar of Defense – and the subsequent ceasefire – covered, including the many acts of kindness that emerged from the conflict, such as Jerusalemites opening their homes to those in the line of fire.
We also had plenty of personal stories from those living in beleaguered areas, including a collage of experiences from suffering civilians and an exposé on fear written by a Beersheba resident. The bus bomb in Tel Aviv catapulted the conflict to another level, shocking Tel Avivians to the core and igniting the fear of a third Intifada.
Just before the Israel-Hamas war broke out, an International Homeland Security Conference took place in Tel Aviv, bringing together the world’s leading experts in that field. Still on the topic of homeland security, the Iron Dome emerged as Israel’s most valuable asset in the conflict, redefining the concept of war hero. In a complimentary analysis, Anthony Rusonik extols the Dome’s virtues, admitting that it exceeded everyone’s expectations. But not everyone thinks that the Iron Dome is the bearer of good news. Dan Reznik argues that the formidable defense system will only serve to harm Israel’s interests in the diplomatic arena and will ultimately generate contempt for Israeli retaliation against future aggressors. Giovanni Quer reiterates of why such retaliation is necessary, while Friday's editorial reminds us once again of Israel’s basic right to self-defense.
The cease-fire put a welcome end to the conflict – at least for now – but Premium Zone columnist Alan Dershowitz remains cynical that the truce will last. Evelyn Gordon comments that while the cease-fire is a sham, it may at least serve to enhance Israel’s position vis-à-vis an attack on Iran. Meanwhile, other Premium Zone contributors view regional players apart from Hamas as having played a part in instigating the conflict, including reformed Egyptian terrorist, Tawfik Hamid, who opines that the Muslim Brotherhood set the ball in motion. Egyptian diplomat and former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali famously predicted that the next major war in the region would be over water, and with the building of two dams in the Nile, that scenario no longer seems far-fetched.
The past month also saw water playing another major role on the global stage, when Hurricane Sandy wreaked chaos and destruction upon the lives of millions of people along the east coast of the US. As in the Israel- Hamas conflict, Israeli volunteers were once again on the scene to offer a helping hand to those who needed it. Sandy left many people wondering if there was a higher meaning behind it all, and in two-part exposition, Rabbi Nathan Cardozo attempts to answer that very question by probing God’s role in natural disasters.
Here’s hoping that by the next Premium Zone wrap-up, global catastrophes – whether wrought by humans or nature – will have abated enough to finally usher in an era of calm.
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The writer is The Jerusalem Post's Premium Zone editor.