Throughout the day this past Friday as the IDF/IAF carried out sorties as part
of Operation Pillar of Defense, I saw various Facebook posts from residents
throughout Judea and Samaria reaching out to their fellow Israelis under
These posts, half serious, have facetious, were directed toward
those living in the south and in the Gush Dan area, inviting them to come as
guests for Shabbat.
One such post read: “If anyone from Tel Aviv needs to
come to the shtachim [settlements] where it’s a little more safe, you’re welcome
to sleep by me.”
That sense of security ironically emanating from Judea
and Samaria, of all places, was abruptly shattered minutes after sunset Friday
evening as worshippers made their way to Shabbat services.
A siren which
was heard all the way from Gush Etzion to Jerusalem to neighboring communities
west of the city in the Judean hills along Route 1 sent petrified Israelis
heading for bomb shelters.
While 24 hours earlier Hamas had flexed their
missile capabilities by firing at Tel Aviv and Gush Dan, it was still believed
by many that the Jerusalem area, perhaps because of its large Arab population,
was immune from missile attack.
But that bubble was popped when at least
one missile, while missing Jerusalem, did land near an Arab village somewhere in
eastern Gush Etzion, causing a reverberating explosion heard throughout the
Reports confirmed one missile landing, with impact in an
open area, while some claim to have heard two explosions.
In one surreal
incident, an observant resident of Tekoa who serves on the community’s emergency
search and rescue team, and who doesn’t hesitate to answer his phone on Shabbat,
assuming the worst, was surprised to hear a frantic Arab acquaintance from a
nearby village on the other end of the line with panic in his
“Pinny, it’s Muhammad, what do I do? What’s happening? I heard
Pinny calmly explained that they were being fired upon from
Gaza and the best thing Muhammad could do was to remain indoors and stay away
from the widows.
“Thanks Pinny,” Muhammad said, profusely apologizing for
calling on Shabbat. “Shabbat Shalom Pinny – and be’emet todah [I’m truly
So with rockets falling on Judea and Samaria, a Palestinian
Arab calls a Jewish settler for help. Surreal indeed.
But even with that
example of neighborly coexistence, not all Palestinian Arabs have a problem with
missiles falling on or near their villages – as long as it means Jews are also
forced to flee into shelters.
As proof, the Arutz 7 Hebrew news website
reported that a new song has been gaining popularity this week on radio waves
and on YouTube among Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world, calling on
Hamas to blow Tel Aviv to smithereens.
Written by Kassem el-Najar and
Shadi el-Bureini, the lyrics include: “Blow up, blow up Tel Aviv, you occupier
you know... We Palestinians do not want a ceasefire, not a solution, we want to
bomb Tel Aviv, we want to bomb Tel Aviv.”
It’s no surprise then that last
Wednesday, a day before Pillar of Defense was launched, violent demonstrations
were organized by Palestinians throughout Judea and Samaria commemorating
“Independence Day,” declared by Yasser Arafat and the Palestine National Council
in 1988. Images from channel Two television news showed hundreds of Palestinian
Arabs marching and chanting, “With a million shahidim [martyrs], we will march
Both the song, which reeks of incitement, as well as the
chants by protestors, prove yet again that peace with the Palestinian Authority
is nowhere near a reality.
And finally, without even factoring in the
rockets, let’s not forget about the daily violence in the form of rock attacks,
fire-bombings, etc. still taking place on the roads throughout Judea and
Samaria. Due to the above-mentioned protests, according to the weekly report of
Arab-initiated attacks released by the emergency response organization, Hatzalah
Yehudah and Shomron, this week was particularly violent.
story, relegated to the back pages of newspapers, if mentioned at all, was an
attack by Arabs on Jewish worshipers outside Rachel’s Tomb in
According to reports, after launching a barrage of rocks,
which forced the worshipers inside, terrorists tried to set the holy site on
fire. However, thanks to the efforts of Border Police and area firefighters the
rioters were dispersed and damage was kept to a minimum.
So of course the
top story this week is the war in the south – I mean the south and the center.
Or rather, the south, the center and the Jerusalem hills (so far). But even with
the war, our realities in Judea and Samaria this week remained nearly
On behalf of the residents of our communities, our thoughts
and prayers are with the brave and moral soldiers of the IDF, as they put their
lives on the line each and every day defending our small country. And with their
success, and with God’s help, may the rockets and missiles which are now
reaching our communities as well be grounded for good.
The writer is a
media expert, freelance journalist, and host of Reality Bytes Radio, on