My Dear Friends,
I just heard the news of the capture of Cptn Hadar Golden by Hamas, by means of a tunnel that was dug be them into Israeli territory, on a day that was designated as a period of cease-fire.
It should be clear to all of us that this war is taking on a brand new coloration. It should be clear to all of us that no matter what Pres. Obama and the UN leadership would say, Israel cannot allow ANY Hamas tunnel to remain functional. It should be clear to all of us that our enemy is a bloodthirsty enemy who has no concern for its own civilians, puts them up as a purposeful shield for its own rocket launchers and arsenals, and is totally dedicated to Israel's destruction. Above all, it should be clear to all of us that Hamas is convinced that after the last shot will be fired, the world will hasten to pour billions into its territory to rebuild it nicer and better and stronger than they were before the conflict started, whereas Israel will stand isolated and condemned before the tribunal of mankind for its so-called "disproportionate" reaction.
This is turning into a war of endurance and nerves. So, as we are about ready to wring our hands in the face of Hamas' temerity, arrogance and -- yes -- unexpected strength, DON'T ALLOW YOUR SPIRIT TO COLLAPSE!!! Bite your lips, shed a tear (by now we shed gallons of them in Israel), lift your chin up and straighten your back. You must be fortified by the conviction that we, the People of Israel, are entitled to our sovereign Land in the Land of our Fathers, no matter what the world says, and no matter to what an extent the world is ready to throw us into the sizzling fires built by Quatar's petro-dollars.
Sisters and brothers, be proud of our unparalleled army. Embrace our wonderful boys and girls who are fighting our battle of survival. Embrace the bereaved families and show them that their pain is our collective pain and the memories of their loved ones are etched in our minds forever. Buy the products of our men and women who -- despite all the dangers -- remain in their border settlements to maintain a Jewish productive presence, though they have no market, no buyers, no backers. I am deeply thankful to you and infinitely proud of you who came today to our absolutely fantastic sale of flowers at Shearim, delivered to us with the generous last-minute help of "Soda Stream" from settlements in the South. As so many of you requested, if the conflict continues we shall repeat this extraordinary experience in the near future.
However, even if the conflict ends very soon -- which is beyond my expectation at this moment -- please join us this coming Monday in our demonstration of solidarity at the holiest place of our People, at the Kotel in Jerusalem, where we shall stand arm in arm and hand in hand, united with the Jewish Past and praying for a Jewish Future of Peace and Security in our one-and-only beautiful Jewish Homeland.
With fervent prayers for Peace, for consolation to our bereaved families, for the wellbeing of our brave soldiers I wish you and your loved ones a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum