Monday July 31, 2006 - We’re the Good Guys
July 31, 2006Shalom,
I am writing this note on Monday afternoon. Yesterday was the unfortunate incident in Kfar Kana.
I am feeling a little calmer now. You should have seen me last night and this morning. It has to do with the bombing in Kfar Kara and the 48 hour "no air strike" truce we agreed to and Condoleeza's last press conference.
It's like we Israelis are stuck in some Greek tragedy or some movie that has a sad ending with the hero dying. And no matter how many times you see it, the ending is always the same. It seems no matter who Israel is acting/fighting with on the stage, we always end up being the bad guy and the crowd hating our guts. The true villain walks off with the girl and the money. The play is cut short before we get to finish the job we set out to do. I mean haven't we been in this situation before, in 1996 in Lebanon. In 2002 in Jenin [the "massacre"].
Have you seen the air force clips that were aired last night? Benay, my wife, has linked them at the bottom of this e-mail.
Hizbollah fighting in residential areas
Hizbollah fighting in residential areas
They show how the Hizbolla shoot rockets from behind civilian apartment buildings and then, my friends, you watch as the truck carrying the rocket launcher drives into a car park under a house! How the heck does anyone expect us to clear out these rockets without bombing the house??? The local Lebanese population was warned by Israel to leave the area three days in advance. Some locals stayed because they couldn't afford to leave. I read that Lebanese taxis charge $1000 to go to Beirut. So someone please explain to me why these locals didn't hide in a building where there were no rockets or any ammo dumps?
This morning the reporter on Sky News asked our former foreign minister why the Israeli army didn't go house to house in Kfar Kana and confirm, room by room, just who is in that room and then determine if that person is a civilian or a combatant. For God's sake! Give me a break! Kiryat Shemona was shot with 100 (one hundred) rockets in less than 1 hour yesterday. Did the Hizbollah go room by room looking for civilians? If they had the chance, yes they would. They would find the kids and make sure they shot each one. I know it. You know it . We just lived through it. It was called suicide bombers.
Targeting Afula Hospital
Afula Hospital (Emek Medical Center) prepares for War.
Anyone who has toured with me knows I love maps. But I probably have never pointed out or mentioned Afula. It is a small town dead in the center of the Jezreel Valley. It's famous for "Golani Falafel" and until "Golani Falafel" is publicly traded on NASDAQ, most of you will never hear of Afula.
Last week Afula hospital was targeted by Hizbollah long range missiles. How do I know it was "targeted"? 5 rockets of the 5 shot landed near Afula hospital. Take a look at one of the attached photos. There are no army bases or sensitive facilities in Afula. Hizbollah targeted the Afula hospital. Should you be surprised that Hizbolla targeted a hospital? Well, they've already targeted Rambam hospital in Haifa and hit the hospitals in Nahariya and Tsfat. So they intentionally target our hospitals and the world expects us to go room by room looking for civilians in Lebanon. But we covered this topic in the first part of this email.
Benay volunteers in the ER of Afula hospital.
She has prepared 300 files for a mass-wounded situation. The ER is in the basement of the hospital and it is built as one huge bomb and chemical warfare shelter. Funny how there isn't a single hospital in the Arab world that would even consider the necessity to build a hospital in a bomb shelter. Why? Because they know we would never target a hospital.
Yesterday the hospital decided to empty out its top floors and bring all the patients down to the lower levels. Lets think what this entails. Cancel all unnecessary operations. Kick out any patient you can. Double up on bed space in the lower floors and have the staff and patients live and work in 1/3 of the space they are used to. Wards are now intermingled. Patient beds are doubled up. Have I mentioned about privacy, sanitation, confusion...
Here's a quote from the instruction sheet given by the hospital's director to the various wards:
- Dept. heads will do their utmost to lower the number of patients in their departments.
- Social Services will encourage patients to go home.
- The operating rooms will perform only cancer and emergency operations.
But how does the head of the hospital end her directive?
And here's the part that keeps me going:
"In this war we will be tested as a society, as an organization (hospital) and as individuals.
Working together, in full cooperation, we will complete the very complicated task before us:
- to clear the wards
- work in very tight surroundings
- give the best service that we can
- be prepared for a mass-wounded situation."
So what's the part that keeps me going, that makes me proud of being an Israeli and a Jew? It's the fact that Afula Hospital, that same hospital being targeted by Hizballah, is used by Arabs and Jews. It is staffed by Arabs and Jews. 17% of its Department Heads are Arabs, proportionate to their percentage in the total population. The Moslems and Christians and Druze and Circasians all work together and treat all their patients equally... and guess what? That won't change no matter how many rockets Hizbollah drops on the Afula Hospital. That's what makes us different from our enemies. That’s what's makes me proud.
So you see, we are the good guys. And we have to win.
We're all in this together,
Go to http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/ and click on the right column
1) IDF Video: Hizbullah missile fire from within the village of Kafr Qana
2) IDF Video: Hizbullah use of civilian shields
Benay Katz is an Israeli who made aliyah from Milwaukee, Wisconsin 31 years ago, and co-authored the book, Waiting for Peace - How Israelis Live with Terrorism with Liza Wiemer. Jeff Katz is an Israeli who made aliyah from Toronto, Canada 34 years ago. He is a licensed tour guide and a civil engineer. Jeff and Benay lives in the hilltop community of Timrat overlooking the Jezreel Valley. They have five children.
Benay and Jeff have agreed to write of their experiences during these trying times, as Benay says, "I know it's important for your constituents to know what is happening and I know your constituents support and love Israel. I'm sure many of them have family and friends here too."