Fundamentally Freund: A farewell to indignation

Does anyone doubt what the reaction would be if a rocket fired from Kalkilya were to strike Tel Aviv?

twito kassam victim 224  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
twito kassam victim 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Did things have to come to this? This past Saturday night, a Kassam rocket fired by a Palestinian terrorist in Gaza slammed into a pedestrian street in the Israeli town of Sderot, tearing the leg off of an eight-year old Jewish child. The boy, Osher Twito, remains under heavy sedation as physicians battle to save his remaining leg from the threat of possible amputation. And so, while our politicians dilly-dally, and prattle on about how strong and powerful we are, Jewish children in southern Israel can not walk the streets safely for fear of being struck down by enemy rockets. So much for promises of peace and security. "I don't know how my son will live without a leg," Osher's grief-stricken mother told reporters, noting that his dream had been to play soccer. "He doesn't understand a thing yet, and he will have to understand that. Why does it have to be like this?" she said. The sad fact is that it didn't have to be like this. Young Osher will now struggle to walk for the rest of his life because of the iniquity of the terrorists, but also due to the scandalous passivity of those charged with protecting us. Something is wrong - terribly, terribly wrong - with how accustomed we have become to the violence being inflicted upon the southern part of the country by the Palestinians. It is almost as if we have said farewell to our sense of indignation, replacing it instead with static indifference. Remember the suicide bombing in Dimona a few days ago? It came and went, leaving an elderly woman dead in its wake. The blood was cleaned up, the wounded were taken away, and the country just couldn't wait to put it behind us as if nothing had happened. Some might view this as a healthy approach, but I beg to differ. The fact is that we as a society have become numb to the cry of Sderot and the south. The outrage we should all be feeling over the relentless rocket attacks has failed to materialize, and the government exploits this to avoid taking action. Indeed, it seems our leaders believe there to be two Israels - one that matters, and one that doesn't. How else can one explain their unwillingness to put an end to the daily, ongoing assaults against Sderot? Sure, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has repeatedly taken a tough verbal stand against the rocket barrages, vowing to do his utmost to stop them. As the Post reported, "Olmert promised that Israel would take harsher measures than ever against any parties responsible for launching Kassams. 'No one has immunity, no matter what he does or what group he's associated with.'" But that was back on June 21, 2006. And the rockets kept coming…. FAST FORWARD to May 17, 2007, when the attacks intensified. At a meeting with her German counterpart, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni vowed that Israel would "bring an end to the attacks." She later said, "We need to send a message to the Palestinians that terrorism has a price." But still the rockets came…. Five months ago, in September 2007 on the second day of the school year, the Palestinians intentionally fired Kassams at Sderot, timing them to hit when Israeli parents would be dropping their children off at school in the morning. The Prime Minister responded by promising that the terrorists would "pay a heavy price." Speaking at a press conference with the Austrian Chancellor, Olmert declared, "We will not compromise on this issue and we will hit at those who operate these systems and the chain of command. We will not hesitate to get to everyone who threatens the citizens of the south, whoever it is, wherever they are." Strong words. Too bad they were not followed up by strong actions. Does anyone doubt what the reaction would be if, God forbid, a rocket fired from Kalkilya were to strike Tel Aviv? Would the empty promises then proffered by our leaders still be deemed sufficient? And yet, somehow, when it comes to places like Sderot, another standard seems to apply, one that calls for restraint and self-control. Comfortably ensconced in our homes, we all think it couldn't possibly happen to us. The headlines from the south seem taken from some far away place, off in the distance. After all, the government would never abandon us, would it? But if we accept our leaders' decision to snub Sderot, abandon Ashkelon and neglect Netiv Ha'asara, then we are essentially lining ourselves up to become potential prey too. Were all Israelis created equal? As far as this government is concerned, the answer seems to be no. Sadly, it appears that some are considered more "expendable" than others. Which category do you think we fall under? Just hope and pray that we never have to find out.