Michael Boyden

Bibi’s War

Once again, we find ourselves in the middle of a military conflict with Gaza terrorists following the targeted assassination by Israel of a top Islamic Jihad commander, Baha Abu al-Ata.

Educational institutions within 40 kms of the Gaza Strip have been closed and many workers have been told by IDF’s Home Command to stay at home.

Train services have been cancelled in the south of the country and the stations at Sederot, Netivot and Ofakim have been closed.

Industry and social services have been disrupted and those living in villages and kibbutzim close to Gaza face the stress of having to try to find a bomb shelter within 15 seconds of hearing the air raid sirens sound. What kind of a way is that to live?

The financial cost is also tremendous. Hollandia International’s warehouse in Sederot was severely damaged following a rocket attack and its owner and CEO, Avi Barsesat, says that some 70 million shekels worth of mattresses have been destroyed.

Shraga Brosh, former president of Israel’s Manufacturers Association, is reported as stating that every day of the conflict results in a loss of 900 million shekels to the Israeli economy. But that isn’t the end of the story.

Each Iron Dome Tamir missile that Israel fires — and usually two are sent up to intercept each descending rocket — costs at least $50,000.

Apparently, the cost of operating a jet fighter amounts to some 200,000 to 250,000 shekels per hour. And the military faces many other costs….

However much the assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata may be in Israel’s military interests, one cannot help but wonder whether the resultant human and economic cost justify it.

Any chance of Benny Gantz forming a minority coalition government with the Arab Joint List supporting from outside is no longer on the cards. In that sense, the current military conflict is Bibi’s war. It has cost our country dearly and is likely to ensure that Gantz will not be Israel’s next prime minister.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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