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This week’s letter from Israel – December 29, 2023

December 29, 2023

My dearest friends,

This bloody conflict is now 84 days old. The job is getting done but it’s going to be a long business. According to Israeli military sources, 167 soldiers have been killed and 874 soldiers have been injured since the start of the ground operation. Our young soldiers are paying the highest price to fight terror and protect our country. Our nation is in mourning.

Ori continues his service on the Lebanese border. As the father of two young children, being away from home at this time isn’t easy. Not for him. Not for his wife. Not for his children. Not for his parents, his brothers, his sisters or for his grandparents. But like so many young people in Israel at this time, Ori is proudly serving his country in her hour of need.

The fighting along the Lebanese border is primarily focused on anti-tank missiles being fired by Hezbollah and the retaliatory artillery shelling. The damage caused to the farms and villages along the border has been extensive. Nearly 100,000 Israelis have been evacuated from their homes. The clashes have increased in frequency over the past few weeks and could so easily escalate into a full-blown war.

Omer picked up a bad infection at the base of his back. Unfortunately, the infection hasn’t responded to antibiotics. He’s been evacuated from Gaza, been treated and remains under medical supervision. He needs to be in a sterile environment. It’ll take a few weeks until he can rejoin his unit. He’s scheduled to be married in two weeks.

Israel’s problems aren’t limited to Gaza and Lebanon.

The Houthis, Iran’s proxy in Yemen, have launched a series of attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea. This has resulted in a major disruption to the maritime route linking Asia and Europe through the Suez Canal. Container costs have soared as shippers are forced to use longer routes to deliver goods to their destination markets. The economic implications for Egypt, Israel and Europe are serious.

These attacks constitute a gross violation of International Law. Unfortunately, none of this bothers the vast majority of the UN member nations. Feeding their obsession with Israel-bashing is much easier than taking concerted action against Iranian sponsored piracy on the high seas.

US efforts to assemble a coalition of nations to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea were dealt a major setback following refusals from Spain, France and Italy to join the coalition.

The Houthis have also taken to firing long range missiles at Israel. Fortunately, Israel has the air defense systems to intercept these missiles, but such systems aren’t invincible. We could so easily find ourselves in a situation fighting a war 2,000 kilometers from our shores. That’s quite an order for a country with just under 10 million inhabitants and surrounded by hostile neighbors. We’re talking about a regional war which would certainly include Iran with her nuclear capabilities.

Hamas continues to hold 129 hostages in the most appalling conditions. We don’t know who’s alive and who’s no longer with us. The Red Cross still hasn’t visited them. Not even one Red Cross official has resigned in protest.

Please give the hostages a thought and include them in your prayers.

It’s so difficult to fathom the level of cruelty and sadism displayed by Hamas. Children, badly injured people, elderly folk, living on borrowed time and dependent on live-saving medication. Even dead bodies. They’re all bargaining chips for the cynical and corrupt Hamas leadership.

I’m an accountant by profession. Numbers talk to me.

In my last letter, I quoted a credible source who claims the top three Hamas leaders, Haniyeh, Abu Marzouk and Mashal, have amassed a cumulative fortune of $11 billion.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was established by the United Nations in 1948 to provide essential services to those Arabs displaced in Israel’s War of Independence. UNRWA’s annual budget is $1.63 billion.

In other words, the three Hamas leaders who dedicated their lives to commercializing terror and derailing any compromise solution to the Arab-Israel conflict, have the resources to finance UNRWA for another 7 years! That’s right. They live lavishly off the suffering of those they claim to represent.

Let’s put this into a different perspective by considering the fortunes amassed by three of the greatest all-time sports personalities. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Their cumulative sports and multi-million endorsement careers span more than 75 years. Yet these sports greats have only been able to accumulate a combined net worth of $4.7 billion.

You might argue that revenue earned from terror is tax-free. So, too, is the free, luxury accommodation provided to them by courtesy of the Emir of Qatar.

No matter how you roll it out, terror is a much more lucrative business than sport.

Michael, Tiger and Roger have retired. They gave us so much pleasure. They were role models. But Haniyeh, Abu Marzouk and Mashal aren’t going anywhere. Neither is their legacy of terror. Retirement isn’t an option for them. It’s simply not worth their while. They’ve shown the world that crime pays.

It beats me how the leaders of the free world allowed this to happen. How do those who elected them to power, continue to tolerate the moral bankruptcy of their leaders?

My condolences to those mourning their nearest and dearest. My wishes to the injured for a complete and speedy recovery. May God protect our brave soldiers.

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and better times ahead.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Harris Zvi Green

About the Author
Harris Zvi Green was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Aged 77, he made Aliyah 53 years ago. An accountant by profession, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for a number of Israel based hi-tech companies. He is married to Phyllis. They have 3 married children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Harris Zvi Green is a founder member of Truth be Told, an organization engaged in public diplomacy on behalf of Israel.
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