As you may well have heard, things have been far from “quiet” in Israel over the past couple of weeks.
In various parts of the country, we are witnessing an increase in terrorist attacks – especially in the Jerusalem area and Judah & Samaria.In the eastern suburbs of Jerusalem, rocks and fire bombs are just part of the gauntlet that Jewish residents have to endure on a daily basis. Neighborhoods bordering on Arab areas experience rifle fire that causes fear and concern as the sounds of bullets shriek through the air. Passengers on the Jerusalem Light Railway System that was designed to serve all the city’s residents, face a rain of stones and rocks as the carriages pass through Arab neighborhoods. In Judah & Samaria (the West Bank) rocks and petrol bombs regularly target vehicles with Israel number plates. Even as we celebrated the Jewish New Year last week a rock thrown by Palestinians at a car driven by 64 year old Alexander Levlovitz, caused him to swerve into a ditch and into a pole. Levloitz died from his injuries and two other people travelling in the car were slightly injured in the incident in the East Talpiot neighborhood of southeast Jerusalem. A tragic end to a family celebration of the New Year. At the same time as the murderous attack on Levlovitz’s car, the assailants, allegedly from the nearby Palestinian village of Sur Bacher, also attacked other cars on East Talpiot’s Asher Winer Street.In the south, a number of rockets have been fired into Israel targeting civilian settlements. Unconfirmed reports even suggest that some may have been directed towards Jerusalem. Snipers continue to fire, almost daily, at farmers in their fields and at Jewish villages along the border with the Gaza Strip. In the North, according to some security analysts, the breakup of the Syrian entity and the continuing civil war have reduced the risk of a direct confrontation with Assad’s regime. On the other hand, where there is a vacuum, something will always appear on the scene to fill it. Today, Syria no longer actually exists as one sovereign, political entity, but rather is broken up into territories.
A small region in the northeast is the Kurdish enclave. Half of the country, most of which is desert, mainly in the East, is controlled by the Islamic State. In northern Syria and in the South on the border with Israel, on the Golan Heights, control is largely in the hands of the Nusra Front (the al-Qaida affiliate that has been made more moderate by funding from Qatar). The rest, which includes Damascus, the center of Aleppo, Homs and the coastal strip with the ports of Latakia and Tartus, in which President Bashar Assad’s Alawite minority resides, remain in control of the regime. Soon, a new Druse enclave is also likely to be formed in the area of Jabal al-Druse in southeast Syria, near the approach to the Jordan border.
But whoever controls which area of Syria they all, apart from the Kurds, have one common enemy who they seek to destroy – Israel.On the political front, Israel continues to be the target for attacks. The UN recently approved the flying of the Palestinian flag at the General Assembly, Reykjavík city council in Iceland, recently approved a total embargo on all Israeli goods, the British Labor Party elected a new leader who is known for his anti-Israel and pro-Hamas sentiments and there is move to have Magen David Adom (the Israeli Red Cross) expelled from the International Red Cross.Add to this the soon to be ratified, so called, nuclear “non-proliferation” treaty with Iran then we can see that Israel continues to face tremendous security challenges on all fronts. So with the Day of Atonement almost upon us, this is a time of reflection for all. A time to consider our actions and deeds over the past year and a time to consider how we want our lives to progress in the coming year.