So often these days, my friends, I track the news, and sigh. Again and again, I find myself thinking, “Damn, this just shouldn’t be!”
I persist, however. For what choice is there but to face the realities, expose them, and work to improve the situation? Ignoring a problem is not likely to make it go away.
The Jewish way: to believe in a better tomorrow. And to act for a better tomorrow.
I have not written for more than a week because I have been blessed with a series of visits from my grandkids. If anything keeps me going and strengthens my belief in a better tomorrow, it is these young people. But it seems to me appropriate now to get something out before Shabbat. This message will be brief – with more following within days.
Since I have last written, there have been two terror attacks. And this is part of what motives me to write without further delay.
The first was at the beginning of August, in Maale Adumim – a community in Judea just seven kilometers to the east of Jerusalem.
The attacker entered a burger restaurant and began shooting, then exited the restaurant and continued shooting in all directions. In all, six people were injured, one seriously but not critically. (Such are the times that I feel grateful when people are wounded but no one is killed and the prognosis for recovery is good.)
The terrorist was shot dead by an off-duty Border police officer who was nearby, getting a haircut.
He was identified as a Palestinian Arab aged 20, from the PA village of al-Azaria. As he was wearing an iridescent yellow vest, there was speculation that he had been posing as a security guard.
The terrorist had a permit to work in the Jewish communities of Judea & Samaria (but, as I understand it, not in Israel proper) and had been working as a cleaner in Maale Adumim for several years. After this attack, deputy mayor Guy Yifrach ordered the community closed to Palestinian Arab workers until further notice – many had been working at construction sites.
There are multiple questions raised by incidents such as this one: How did the terrorist acquire his gun, and how did the check that is done before a permit is issued miss signs of his potential for terrorism? There was no indication of an association with a terror group.
Grappling with these questions is not an easy matter. Yes, of course there are good Arabs. But which ones can be trusted and how can we know? Perennial questions.
The second attack took place in Tel Aviv this past Saturday night. Two municipal patrol officers saw someone who looked suspicious and came towards him on their motorcycles with intent of questioning him. As they got off their cycles, the terrorist drew a gun from his pack and shot.
Chen Amir, 42, was hit in the head and critically wounded. He was rushed to the hospital and subsequently died of his injuries. Chen’s partner went after the terrorist and killed him. There is no question but that the swift action of these two prevented a wider terror attack. In giving his life, Chen saved many other lives.
He was married and had three young daughters. His organs have been donated to save the lives of others, as was his wish.
Chen was laid to rest the next day, with thousands attending his funeral. He was eulogized by family as someone who was always ready to help. “He always knew how to get there first. He saved a lot of people, it was in his character,” said his father Shabtai. “He was kind-hearted. Always helping people.”
The terrorist was identified as a 22-year-old Palestinian Arab from the PA town of Rumannah near Jenin. A member of Islamic Jihad, he was wanted by Israeli security and, according to reports, had been hiding in Jenin for six months.
So how did a wanted member of Islamic Jihad go undetected from Jenin to Tel Aviv? That was the first question that came to my mind. He was known by authorities.
But then I saw this below, which provides a possible answer with regard to a porous fence.
This picture was taken near Rosh Haayin in 2022.
Then the question is, why aren’t there repairs to the breaches in the fence that is supposed to prevent illegals from getting into Israel?
What I would like to do here is touch base very briefly with regard to some of the issues currently of serious concern. The theme that runs throughout these issues, for me, is the question of whether we are protecting our own self-interest sufficiently. In each instance, I will be returning for a closer look:
 Israel and the US are negotiating a visa waiver for Israelis entering the US. But conditions require Israel to allow Palestinian Arabs with American citizenship free entry into Israel, and there is definitely a risk involved in doing this. Is it worth it?
 Hot in the news right now is the prospect of a US-brokered normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. On the one hand there might be enormous benefits, as the dynamic of the Mideast would shift. The catch is the fact that there are some major demands made by the Saudis – demands being made of both Israel and of the US. What are the Saudis demanding and how would these demands affect Israel and Israeli security? Talk is of concessions to the PA. Some risks might be worth taking because this deal would play against Iran, which is a far bigger threat than the PA. Might.
 The top issue is Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy. Hezbollah has been testing its limits (double entendre intended) by moving in very small increments into Israeli territory. Israeli response has been low key, as there is no desire to fuel a major conflagration with Hezbollah. But a very solid case can be made for the necessity of a significant response because every failure to act weakens deterrence. This week Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant seemed to get this when he declared that “We will not hesitate to employ all of our power and to attack every meter of Hezbollah and of Lebanon and return Lebanon to the Stone Age.” But words alone are not sufficient.
The Knesset is in summer recess and there is no activity at the moment regarding judicial reform. But that hasn’t stopped the “anti” people from continuing to go out on the street to demonstrate. They demonstrated during the funeral of Chan Amir, not stopping for a bit of respectful silence.
And this was their latest ploy:
Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife and younger son went for a vacation, to which they are entitled. They were at the Panda Boutique Hotel in Moshav Neveh Ativ in northern Israel.
Demonstrators pursued them there, refusing to allow them respite. I believe they were permitted on the property of the moshav. But worse, they proceeded to trash the hotel by posting negative reviews to punish them for hosting the Netanyahu family.
People who like the hotel began posting positive reviews to counter this ugly gambit.
Commentator Hillel Fuld tweeted: “Tell me more about how this isn’t about Netanyahu and they’re really protesting some judicial reform. Tell me more about how they’re fighting for democracy while destroying a small business by making up vicious horrible lies about it. ‘Democracy and free markets’, right?”
Mark this well, as this is what we are dealing with.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.