Operation Protective Edge’s 17th day brings more rockets fired into Israel, hard-fought battles in Gaza, and the discovery of more deadly tunnels, which have been exposed and destroyed with explosives. So far 31 tunnels have been exposed, preventing terrorist attacks and the many tragedies and civilian deaths that go with them.
For more than two weeks now millions of Israelis have lived their day-to-day lives under the threat of rocket attacks. It’s an unbelievable reality, and it’s awful to think that we are almost used to it. You hear the siren, stop doing whatever you’re doing, run into the shelter, wait for 10 minutes and carry on…..This is not a reality anyone wants to get used to.
Our strength is our ability to continue with our normal daily lives as much as possible. We all know that the show must go on! And so you might think things are glum and tense 24/7, with all that is going on, tonight is a relatively festive one here in Israel: We have a new president!
Just a few hours ago, with little pomp and circumstance, Israel held an inauguration for Reuven Rivlin, the country’s 10th president. Known as Rubi, Rivlin is a Jerusalemite, and known as a warm, low-key mensch.
Politically, President Rivlin right wing and opposed to a Palestinian state. But under his new title, he has already declared that, “The depth of the conflict demands of us to find ways to communicate.”
He believes that Israelis and Palestinians have the shared need to build trust — not just between the leaders, but also between the people living here. And trust can only be based on open and ongoing dialogue, and mutual understanding and acceptance.
Because the inauguration took place amidst fighting, the ceremonies were respectful and not as flashy as usual. But they set just right tone and provided a bit of uplift for Israelis’ spirit. The ceremony took place at Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, and included past and current Knesset members, current Israeli delegates, judges, rabbis and foreign diplomats. This year southern towns and cities’ mayors were invited as well, representing their communities strength, having born the brunt of the missile strikes going back several years.
They urged Israel’s Defense Force (IDF) to continue the fight against Hamas, knowing they are suffering daily through the battles. They do not want our troops to stop before eliminating all tunnels, rockets and terror threats. Only then can we restore peace to the south. Southern Israelis are strong; they are fighters, but they are tired. They want to end the 14 years of Hamas violence. They want to restore peace and security. And they have been patient. These mayors have led their suffering communities through the terror of the past 17 days. Some have led them through years of missile attacks. But they never forget to inspire hope and offer a brighter future.
By inviting them to President Rivlin’s inauguration, Israel paid them, and their communities, respect and thanked them for their leadership.
May President Rivlin’s term be associated with Israel’s success, prosperity and peace.
Earlier today, JCC Association hosted a conference call inviting Gil Hoffman to debrief JCC leadership around the country on the continuing situation in Israel. Gil Hoffman is the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post. Well-connected to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hoffman has interviewed every major figure across the Israeli political spectrum, has been interviewed by top media on six continents and is a regular analyst on CNN, Al-Jazeera and other news outlets.
Hoffman, who was raised in Chicago, graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and wrote for the Miami Herald and Arizona Republic before moving to Israel. A reserve soldier in the IDF’s spokesman’s unit, Hoffman lives with his family in Jerusalem.
To listen to the call you can download the audio here.
To learn more about Gil Hoffman please visit his website: www.Gilhoffman.com
We encourage people to follow him on Twitter @gil_hoffman.
He has agreed to address your question directly, so please feel free to contact him at: [email protected]
JCC Israel Center