Arlene Bridges Samuels
In Essentials, Unity

Hamas adds Balloon Bouquets to its “floating Intifada” turning joy into terror

Terror balloon bouquets are capable of carrying heavier explosive devices. Fortunately this “gift” landed in an open, plowed field.

Using balloons as a tool of environmental and economic terror against Israeli citizens in the Gaza envelope is another reprehensible twist. I am likely more well-acquainted with balloons than most people. When I lived on Hilton Head Island, SC in the 1980s, I founded a business called “Southern Onion Singing Telegram and Balloon Company.” I-and my employees-delivered hundreds and hundreds of balloon bouquets for birthdays, anniversaries, baby births, and Valentine’s Day. Hamas terrorists are now turning a joyful symbol into a tool of destruction and potential loss of life. In my telephone interview with Elan Isaacson, Security Chief of the Eshkol Region,(60% of the Gaza envelope) he describes a far different experience with balloons than the joy I delivered with a song for special occasions. Elan expressed increased worries saying, “In the last three weeks Hamas has attached actual explosives, hand grenades to the balloons. No one has been injured yet but I’m worried someone could lose a hand.”

We and the IDF are the ‘physical’ Iron Dome of the state of Israel. Everyone in Israel has a good life because we are stopping 2 million Palestinians from infiltrating. We will get slaughtered if we are not defended.”
Security Chief Elan Isaacson

The Security Chief went on to say that in the last 2-3 weeks he and his 33-officer security team have faced 6-10 fires a day. An estimated 9,000 acres have burned thus far in the area of the 32 kibbutzim which they oversee. I asked Elan about the IDF’s method of stopping the balloons. All he could say is that they have “instruments” which have prevented more than half of the balloons to reach their destructive destination. In our conversation he mentioned our mutual friend Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, Executive Director of Operation Life Shield. “When the fires began and increased, I contacted Shmuel about our need for Fire Trailers. His organization was the first and the quickest to respond.” Operation Life Shield (OLS), an emergency campaign dedicated to saving innocent lives, has provided Israel’s threatened communities with bomb shelters and then Fire Trailers to combat Hamas’ latest terror invention.

Bowman has led OLS during its ten year history raising funds and awareness to provide 350 bomb shelters and now more than 23 Fire Trailers in the region close to the Gaza border. The Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command has approved the shelters’construction and design adhering to strict guidelines. Built in Israel, shelters protect schools, kindergartens, synagogues, parks, sidewalks, bus stops and senior day centers. Rabbi Bowman is a personal friend who has provided excellent briefings in Sderot to many of the American Israel Education Foundation’s Christian Leadership tours I’ve staffed. He speaks frequently to tours of Christians and Jews and has traveled all over the United States, Canada, and Europe telling the stories of Israeli citizens living under 24/7 terror threats. Due to his suggestion, many of us now have the Red Alerts downloaded on our mobile phones. When it sounds it reminds to pray and remain active in our efforts.

Rabbi Bowman stands next to a bomb shelter donated by Solid Rock Church in Columbus, Georgia
The award-winning Birmingham, Alabama Jewish Federation donated this bomb shelter located in Sderot, Israel

Recently, OLS has added another item to its life-saving list. Security Chief Isaacson discussed their newest necessity: all-terrain Skid ATVs. The ATVs are mounted with specialized fire extinguishers which contain water bolstered by a fire retardant solution. Obviously, ATV’s are far more mobile and quicker in all kinds of terrain. Operation Life Shield cannot keep up with requests from municipalities asking for shelters and fire related equipment which are donated by individuals and organizations from around the world. They include both Jewish and Christian groups which have responded, understanding that the shelters and Fire Trailers are saving lives and livelihoods. And yes, I’m requesting that all of you reading my blog donate whatever you can. A generous South Carolina Christian friend of mine recently wrote ONE check for ONE Fire Trailer. Christian friends and organizations like,, and have raised funds from many donors to buy one of three bomb shelter sizes. Now you, your church or organization can be an important part of raising funds for ATVs! Save lives!Save Livelihoods! Donate to Operation Life Shield

While “Palestinians” have been enthusiastic to burn and destroy this land they claim to own, Israelis are determined to protect and defend our beloved homeland by whatever means necessary.”

Rabbi Shmuel Bowman

Isaacson echoed Rabbi Bowen’s sentiments saying, “We have no intention of moving one meter from where we live. In 1950, the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan designated the Gaza / Israel international border.”

One of 23 Fire Trailers donated since Hamas’ “floating Intifada” began.
About the Author
Arlene Bridges Samuels is a pioneer in pro-Israel Christian advocacy for more than two decades in positions with Israel Always and Earl Cox, Israel's Goodwill Ambassador to Christians and Jews, SE Region Outreach Director at American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA's project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Since 2020, she is the weekley featured columnist at The Christian Broadcasting Network Israel, and frequent Guest Columnist for Allisrael News and The Jerusalem Connection Report. Arlene co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited. Traveling to Israel since 1990, by invitation she attends the GPO Christian Media Summit and serves on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina.
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