“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuteronomy 30:19) 

The IDF, is Israel’s army, the Israel Defense Force, or in a more accurate translation from Hebrew – the army for the protection of Israel. Protect. Defend. Not attack.

Contrary to the image commonly portrayed image of Israel as the aggressor, the essence, core goals and values are about protecting and preserving lives. Over and over Israel is pushed beyond the limits any other nation on earth would tolerate and over and over Israel makes the same choice – life.

Ironically this choice is often to our detriment. Our enemies know us well. They know the extent to which we uphold life and they use it against us. They too have made their choice.

We choose life for ourselves as well as the innocents amongst the Arab population. Our enemies choose death – for us, for themselves and for their own people (by using them as human shields and by teaching them to hate, terrorize and murder).

The current Operation Protective Edge was implemented in order to put a stop to the bombardment of missiles Hamas in Gaza is aiming at Israeli civilians. For a week Israelis have been hit with barrages of over 100 missiles a day, threating the lives of half the population.

Operation Protective Edge, geared to protecting civilians. This easily could have been called ‘Operation Smash Hamas’ or ‘Annihilate the Threat’ but that would be very un-Israeli. That’s just not how things work here.

As we have seen so many times before, the international media is broadcasting from Israel and Gaza, with no context. They are showing images without asking “why?”, or perhaps more maliciously, holding back the context and the reason why.

Every house and public building in Israel needs a bomb shelter or protective area to go to during bombings. What other country in the world needs a bomb shelter for every home?Brilliant Israeli minds invented the best missile defense system in the world called the Iron Dome.  They have spent years refining the system and are continuing to fine tune it, even while the country is under missile attack, in order to further improve its accuracy. The Iron Dome is practically infallible with a 90% success rate and the ability to calculate the trajectory of missiles thrown at Israeli civilians, shooting down only those that would land on homes or cause other damage. Those that will land in open spaces are not shot down.  In this tiny country the ability to calculate so finely is truly miraculous.

Brilliant Israeli minds created a technological miracle to save lives. In Gaza, creative minds are figuring out ways to hide missiles and implement attacks under the watchful eyes of the IDF, in order to take lives. Two sides, two opposing choices.

The international media likes to portray Israel as the aggressor. They compare statistics of injured, killed and property damage. The Israelis that would have been hurt and killed if we had not invented the Iron Dome are not counted. The Israeli homes and infrastructure damaged by Hamas attacks seem minimal compared to the damage of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. No one mentions the fact that if missiles were not being shot from Gaza there would be no airstrikes and no damage to people or property. Israeli attempts to protect the lives of the innocents in Gaza are glossed over, if they are mentioned at all. There is no outcry over the crime of Hamas using innocents as human shields or the child abuse of raising generations to believe that the highest accomplishment they can achieve is to become a murderer of Jews. Where are the human rights activists? The humanitarians? Why do they not cry out to stop this horror?

Not to speak is to speak. Not to choose is to choose.

The State of Israel cannot allow her people to be attacked, to be held hostage by terrorists who can rain down hundreds of missiles at will. The difficulty is in stopping the terrorists while they are hiding amongst a civilian population. Hamas leaders stockpile weapons and missiles in their own homes, directing terror activities from the same place their children live. It is not a child’s fault that his father is a murderer. But how do you separate the terror masterminds, the weapons stockpiles that must be irradiated, from the innocents that live alongside them?

Why should we care? Why should we bother to separate? After all, the most important thing is to eliminate the threat to the people of Israel.

But we do care. We choose life. Not just for ourselves but also for the children of those who would try to kill us. For their neighbors who don’t want anything to do with the jihad against Israel. For all innocents.

Israel has come up with an amazing compromise. The Air Force is blowing up weapons caches and targeting terrorists. At the same time Israel is providing electricity, food and aid to the residents of Gaza. In addition the IDF is providing directions to the residents of Gaza in order to protect them from the airstrikes against Hamas. At the same time Hamas is commanding the residents of Gaza not to obey the IDF instructions and is using people, particularly children, as human shields because they know that the IAF will not bomb innocents.

In the last few days residents of Gaza have complained that IDF warnings came to slow or too late. They want the protection of the IDF. Theyare familiar with the precision of the Air Force. In Gaza there are some that want to choose life. It is the terrorists amongst them that are leading them to death.

The video below struck me as it explains the Israeli warning protocol called “A knock on the roof” from the perspective of some of Gaza residents. The woman interviewed was warned to leave her home “for the sake of your children.” The people in the house left and then came back and were killed. The video does not explain exactly what happened, possibly the Hamas forced them to come back to serve as a human shield. Notice how the reporter mentions that the woman wouldn’t say whether or not she and her family are part of Hamas but that Palestinian sources say that the house belonged to a Hamas leader. If the IDF directive had been obeyed no one would have been hurt in the airstrike.

When Israel hurts innocents we consider it a mistake and a tragedy. When our enemies hurt innocents they consider it a heroic act, worthy of imitation and a cause for celebration.

Life and death – we have made our choices. Now it is left to the world to decide what choice is the correct one to uphold. There is no moral equivalency; it is a black and white decision. There is no “staying on the fence”, no room for being impartial. Ignoring the issue will not make it go away.

Not to choose is to choose.

Heaven and earth are witness to the choice you make.

A Knock on the Roof – the IDF is providing directions to the residents of Gaza in order to protect them from the airstrikes against Hamas