Illustration: Kassam rocket (Image Credit: Boaz Mesika/Government Press Office of Israel)
Today Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, was woken up at 3:35 a.m. to the crashing sound of a giant rocket shot from Gaza.
Very luckily, one mother used the few seconds she had between the siren warning and the direct hit on her home to whisk her three children to safety. Needless to say, their lives will never be the same again after this horrific trauma.
But it is safe to say that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is finally vindicated.
Twenty-three years ago Rabin guaranteed us that once we took a “bold” step for peace and withdrew from Gaza, delivering it to the PLO and its chairman Yasser Arafat, Katyusha rockets would most definitely not be fired at Israel from there. He vowed in a July 24, 1995 radio interview:
“They promised Katyusha rockets from Gaza as well. For a year, Gaza has been largely under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. There has not been a single Katyusha rocket. Nor will there be any Katyushas.”
Thousands of rockets have of course been fired at Israeli population centers over the decades, causing death, destruction, and lifelong trauma.
But now, finally — they are no longer firing Katyusha rockets. Today they have more advanced lethal projectiles that they fire at Israel with ever increasing range. Better late than never.
The increasingly sophisticated arms industry in Gaza, of course, uses the very materials that enter Gaza with Israel's permission and blessing. The prophet Isaiah talked about a day when "they shall beat their swords into plowshares" (Isaiah 2:4). Israel has been complicit in helping Hamas turn our benevolently supplied "plowshares” into “swords" to be wielded against us.
Rabin was right — the Katyusha days are over.
Then there was former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, the spirit behind Rabin’s facade in creating "the new Middle East."
As we left parts of Gaza in 1993-4, before the region’s total abandonment and the expulsion of all Jews there in 2005 by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, our “peace partners” began shooting homemade Kassam rockets into Israel.
This represented the earliest stage of the local terror arms industry.
They were unsophisticated and cheap to make, but lethal when they found a target. These simple rockets have succeeded in killing Jews and destroying families in the neighboring town of Sderot.
Then Vice Prime-Minister Peres thought that "the right-wing" was making too much of a big deal about this threat. He famously derided them and scoffed, "Kassams — shmassams." They were simply afraid of “peace” and trying to scare the public!
Peres has since been proven right as well. No more Kassams or shmassams — now we have something much more serious to fear.
If you had told Rabin or Peres that starting six months ago large portions of the Negev forests and farmlands would be burnt down by incendiary balloons from Gaza, they would have assured us that this was simply a product of the vivid imagination of alarmist, paranoid, anti-peace fanatics.
The same answer would undoubtedly have been given by Ariel Sharon, who completed the dastardly work of Rabin and Peres. He too promised us — with the smug certainty of the security expert that he, like Rabin, was supposed to be — that Gazan missiles were not to be feared once we had expelled 10,000 Jews and abandoned their homes and synagogues to the terrorists.
Of course, the motives of these shameful politicians were different and yet similar — similar in that they all apparently thought it would advance their political careers.
Peres pinned his huge ego and hopes for a legacy on this extremely dangerous gamble, which hitherto was only advocated by the extreme left in Israel. He was going to be the man who finally brought peace to Israel; and if he failed, he would always find someone to blame.
Rabin was convinced by Peres. Sharon simply wanted to keep himself and his sons out of jail as investigations into their corruption closed in around them menacingly. They needed a sympathetic left-wing, in both the media and the judiciary, to stay out of jail. In this, they calculated correctly.
Meanwhile, the rockets come over in their thousands and are continuously getting bigger and more sophisticated. The Negev is burning. Children do not sleep at night and can not function in school the next day. Parents sleep with one eye open and their shoes on.
But hey — Kassams shmassams.
Maybe it was not such chutzpah on my part to have questioned our “great leaders” after all.
So what now? I don't exactly know, but perhaps it is time to think about making Israel great again.
Contact Shalom Pollack, veteran licensed tour guide, for upcoming tours at Shalom Pollack Tours: Personalized Tours in Israel. Click here to read more of this author’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.