From Israel: “Finding Our Way Through the Madhouse!!”

It is next to impossible to write a clear and definitive report on our current situation. There are conflicting reports (what else is new?), conflicting opinions.  While there are situations that make me ballistic, I remain optimistic that we will be all right, more than all right, in the end. When that will happen, I cannot say.

Below I provide a brief overview of our situation. But I want to begin with a request for funds.  


A fundraising campaign has just been launched for a unit of combat engineers working in Rafah: a unit attached to Brigade 14, Battalion 271.  They are reservists.

The combat engineers do the most dangerous work and have suffered the most fatalities – not only because their work is risky but because they are attacked by Hamas directly.  

Combat engineers are called upon to diffuse minefields, destroy weapons storage and rocket launching sites, and break through areas that are booby-trapped.  All of this makes it safer for the combat soldiers to operate, and, of course, for the Gaza envelope communities.  

Right now, this particular unit is engaged in blowing up tunnels – there are enormous number in Rafah, used by Hamas for surprise attacks on our soldiers – and houses. It is very necessary work, but, as I said, dangerous.

Credit: IDF (example of combat engineers)

Because there is now a refocusing of the IDF on Lebanon, these combat engineers find themselves in need of additional equipment that will increase their safety and effectiveness.  

Much of the equipment this unit needs in order to perform their work most safely and effectively is not IDF standard equipment. Some of it is confidential; other equipment can be purchased from high end manufacturers.

The needs include:  

– High quality protective headgear, ceramic vests, etc…

– Leatherman multi tool sets and other high quality field tools. 

– IDF authorized drones to scout out areas before sending in men

– Portable power tools and battery-operated heavy tools: heavy drills & mini jack hammers, etc…

– 20 high-capacity outdoor fans (battery operated)

– Generators

– Field Hats (for sun protection)

– Field-ready pantry for food and drinks. They work long hours in the oppressive Gazan sun.

– much more ….

I know the individual who set up this campaign – his son is in this unit.  It has been arranged so that all funds contributed go straight to the needs of the unit.  


I thank you for considering a donation.  This is one way to make a difference.


With regard to Rafah, we are doing extremely well.

Five days ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the intense phase of the war with Hamas in Gaza will be over soon.  This does not mean that the war is over, he cautioned.  It will not be over until Hamas is no longer in control anywhere in Gaza.



According to the Jerusalem Post on Thursday, citing IDF Col. and Nahal Brigade Commander Yair Zuckerman, it appears that Hamas actually may have evacuated many of the civilians of Rafah before the full IDF invasion there.  I did report on the fact that many civilians had gone to safe areas before the IDF moved in, but that this may have been Hamas-encouraged and not spontaneous is news.

Credit: AFP

Previously Hamas tried to block the movement of civilians out of a war zone because they were needed as human shields.  So why the change?

Zuckerman believes it was because Hamas understood that the movement of civilians out of Rafah was going to happen in any event and if they made it happen sooner, it would give them more time to lay booby traps for the IDF once they moved in.



The situation in the north, and the possible imminence of a full-blown war with Hezbollah, is, if anything, increasingly complicated.

I had cited in my last posting a statement from US Administration officials indicating that if Israel were to be engaged in a “comprehensive engagement” with Hezbollah, the US would be supportive of Israel, with the exception of supplying troops (something we would not want in any event).


This, I had written at the time, was reassuring.  Not just reassuring – it would reduce the chances of such a war developing if Hezbollah understood that the US was behind us.

Looking back on the statement now, however, I see that they spoke about providing “security aid,” and suspect they might have been referring to defensive assistance, not offensive.  We’ve heard about this before.  However, should we go to war in the north, we would require a maximum in offensive munitions as well.


Whatever was intended with that statement, it quickly became moot, as we saw the US walking this back by Monday.  Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Q. Brown Jr. warned that the US may not be able to help defend Israel against an all-out war with Hezbollah in the same way that it stepped in during the Iran drone attack in April.  It is more difficult to repel the shorter-range rockets from Lebanon, he explained.  Plus, Iran might get involved, and the US wants so part of that.


Credit: Doug Mills/Bloomberg


There is much speculation that if matters calm down in Gaza, and fighting there is less intense, Hezbollah might reduce its attacks on Israel. There is little question about the fact that our fiercest battles against Hamas have likely already been fought.  But I cannot help but wonder if Netanyahu was quick to announce that the intense stage of the war would soon be over because he had his eye on the north.


However, while reducing tensions may be good – may avoid a full-blown war – it does not solve the problem.  Let no one imagine that it does.

Hezbollah has fired 5,000 projectiles into the north of Israel since October 8 and more than 50,000 residents of the north live elsewhere, as it is unsafe to return home.  There must be no projectiles fired, and it must be safe for all Israelis. Any resolution short of this is not satisfactory and calls for Israeli action.

And here I will say, stay tuned…  

After Shabbat I will continue with a more extensive analysis.


Keep praying to Heaven for Israel. Pray that the tears might be lifted from our hearts.

Pray for the strength and wisdom of our leaders, for the safety of our soldiers, and for the rescue of our hostages.

Pray in a spirit of hope.


©Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.