Operation Protective Edge — Day 28

The 50th day of fighting between Israel and Hamas brings incessant rocket fire toward Israel’s south and Israel’s center. So far more than 100 rockets have been fired at Israel today, some causing major damage.
One of the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in Ashkelon while the family was still a sleep. The 15 seconds of warning the family had to find shelter saved their lives, but not their home. The rocket fell through the roof, completely destroying two rooms. Some 50 neighboring houses were damaged, and many residents have been lightly wounded, among them six children. 
This afternoon a rocket hit a kindergarten playground in Ashdod causing damage to the property.
Israel accepted the Egyptian ‘open ended’ cease-fire, scheduled to begin sometime tonight. There has been a lull since 7 p.m. here, but before that, Hamas furiously rained missiles upon us. The day has been filled with constant sirens and alerts, and more rocket strikes than there has been on most days of fighting. Salvo after salvo has targeted southern Israeli communities. One rocket hit a kibbutz, killing one Israeli and severely injuring two more.

A direct hit to the living room of an Ashkelon home

A direct hit to the living room of an Ashkelon home

Fifty days of attrition, 50 days of miracles. As devastating as the above pictures are, and as tragic as 66 soldiers and civilians dead is, without Iron Dome the thousands of rockets Hamas has fired at Israel since July 8 would have wrecked much more damage. There would have been significantly more civilian deaths. Operation Protective Edge marks Israel’s  third longest operation/war (the other two were the 1948 War for Independence and the 1969-1970 War of Attrition). But it has been also one of this country’s miraculous wars. So many times Hamas rockets have hit homes when the residents were out. Too many times the rockets have hit schools, playgrounds and kindergartens that were not filled children because of summer vacation. So often the rockets have been launched at major cities with the potential to cause tremendous disaster, only to be thwarted by our Iron Dome, which saved so many innocent lives.

But sadly, a miracle didn’t protect four-year-old Daniel Tregerman, killed by Gazan mortar fire on Friday, just before Shabbat. Daniel was killed immediately, when a mortar exploded outside his home in kibbutz Nahal Oz. The kibbutz residents have only three seconds from the time they hear the alert siren to find shelter. Daniel, who had been playing in a tent inside the house, was killed by the blast.

Four-year-old Daniel Tregerman

Four-year-old Daniel Tregerman

During the early days of Operation Protective Edge the family left the kibbutz, located so close — too close — to the Gaza border. They had returned home during a lull in an attempt to restore some kind of normalcy for their three young children, of whom Daniel was the oldest. Shortly before Daniel was killed, the Tregermans had been planning on leaving again for the center of the country to escape the constant missile barrage. The entire Jewish world cried for Daniel, an innocent four-year-old who just wanted to keep on smiling!
Daniel’s death is a nationwide loss. His smile is the smile of all of our children. It is the smile that the innocent children living in Gaza dream of having. It’s a beautiful, bright, universal smile. It is the smile of people favoring life, joy and freedom. Daniel’s smile will stay with our nation forever, marking Protective Edge’s most precious price, the price of life.
Leah Garber

Please note:

As Operation Protective Edge is still far from ending, and as the situation in Israel continues to be complicated, I have set up a second briefing for JCC leadership and staff. Knesset member Dr. Nachman Shai will join me for this call. 
The call will provide an opportunity for a truly up-to-the-minute, insider briefing.
Dr. Nachman Shai, deputy speaker of the Knesset, and a member of the 19th Knesset on behalf of the Labor Party, has served since 2009.

Prior to his election, Nachman held diverse positions in the military, the media, and in the diplomatic and public arenas. He holds a doctorate in political science and communications from Bar Ilan University and his thesis on “Public Diplomacy and Low Intensity Conflict,” was awarded the 2012 Tshetshik award for national security research by Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies

In 2013 he published “Media Wars Reaching for Hearts and Minds.” The book deals with the importance of the public diplomacy war taking place between terrorist organizations and democratic countries.
The call is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 3  at 12 p.m., EDT. The call-in information is below.

Dial: (605) 562-3131
Participant Access Code: 178657#
Exit conference: *3 key
Press: * 3 to exit the conference call
Instructions: *4 key. Plays a menu of touch tone commands.
Mute: *6 key. Press *6 to mute your line. Press *6 again to un-mute the line.

A large number of people will be on the call. We ask that you mute your phones so that everyone will be able to hear clearly.

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