Written by The Lekarev Report
June 27, 2008
The Lekarev Report
Two mortar shells were fired from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel on Friday morning. One landed near Kibbutz Kfar Aza in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, and the second one hit an open area. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Fatah's military wing, claimed responsibility for firing the rocket. Sources in Gaza say that the truce violations are intended to embarrass Hamas and harm the efforts to maintain the truce with Israel.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni addressed the launching of a Qassam rocket from Gaza towards Sderot on yesterday with sharp, stinging rhetoric aimed at differentiating herself from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
"I don't care who fired. There must be an immediate military response to every violation," said Livni upon the commencement of her meeting with Norwegian Jonas Gahr StÃ¸re."I have made my position clear to both the prime minister and the minister of defense after the first infringement. And I intend to make this clear to my foreign counterparts as well."
Halutz: We Must Release Kuntar
Former IDF Chief Staff Dan Halutz has expressed his firm support for a prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah, which would include the release of murderer Samir Kuntar in exchange for kidnapped soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.
"I believe unequivocally that we must carry out the deal, including the release of Samir Kuntar," Halutz said in an interview with Nahum Barnea published Friday in Yedioth Ahronoth.
The prisoner swap deal will be discussed by the government during Sunday's cabinet meeting, and a vote is expected.
The former IDF chief added that he believes the two kidnapped soldiers are dead. "Make no mistake - the two are not alive. The price Hizbullah is asking for is in exchange for bodies," he said.
"Kuntar has been sitting in jail for 30 years. Even if he sits there for five years more, we won't receive any additional benefit from him. I would naturally prefer to see him end his life in a locked cell, but if the result would be having the Regev and Goldwasser families hanging in the air, we must release him."
And isn't the price too high? According to Halutz, "Our nation is not like all other nations. Let's face it, we have different sets of values, which I believe are the right values. In returning the soldiers we must act from the Jewish place. Redemption of prisoners, mutual guarantee.
"Sometimes the sentiment must dictate a decision. And the main thing is that the soldier and his family should know that we will do everything for them - because we have been sentenced to many more years of hostility."
Addressing the issue of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Halutz said, "We must reach an agreement with Hamas."
As for the heavy price such a deal would entail, the former chief of staff said that "it is not enough to look at the external price. We must also look at the internal price - what captivity does to the Israeli mother. The value of the soldiers' parents increases over the years. We can like it, we can dislike it, but we can't ignore it."
Typically U.N. - Accuse Israel, Ignore Hamas
According to the United Nations, since it went into effect last week, at least eight violations of the new ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel have been recorded. Fine - so far.
But the spokesman went on to say that SEVEN of the violations are Israeli and only ONE is the fault of Hamas.
Only ONE???? There have been several Qassams launched into Sderot and the Negev since last week. But the UN turns a blind eye. What's new?
The UN report does not include the Qassam fire launched towards the Negev during the day. "It is important that both sides honor the ceasefire, in order for it to be the first constructive step towards a wider and more extensive peace process between the sides," the source said.
Israeli "violations" are listed as "provocations". What were they? The IDF has fired at Palestinians approaching the border fence, obviously in an attempt to prevent infiltration and/or further launching of Qassam rockets.
Worldwide Prayer for Schalit's Release
Wednesday, July 2 (29th of the Hebrew month of Sivan) is the actual second anniversary of Gilad Schalit's abduction according to the Hebrew calendar.
A call has gone forth for united prayer on that day around the world at the same time to beseech the Holy One of Israel to intervene and restore Gilad to his home and family safely.
We are being asked to recite PSALM 121 at the following times:
8:00 am Pacific Standard Time (USA)
11:00 am Eastern Standard Time (USA)
4:00 pm UK (England) Time
5:00 pm Paris Time
6:00 pm Israel Time
If you do not live in one of these time zones, I urge you to determine what time in your location coordinates with the times given above so that an unbroken chain of petition can be made around the world together on behalf of Gilad.
United prayer is extremely powerful. I urge you to pray as if this were your son, your grandson, your nephew, your brother. Let us all participate with genuine and childlike faith that Avinu Malkenu, our Father and our King, will hear and answer us swiftly.
Please mark your calendars and have Psalm 121 ready for your particular time zone.
After a meeting this morning with the local mayor, we can give you some further particulars about our goals with Operation Issachar.
In our area of concern, there are 16 bomb shelters that are uninhabitable. Underground water seepage has damaged walls and floors and destroyed electrical wiring. The enormous strain on the military and defense budget here in Israel means there is no budget to cover these needs.
The mayor has done his homework and was able to explain that to repair and refurbish all 16 shelters is a $300,000 project. The budget per shelter, therefore, is $18,750. That includes draining the shelter and renewing the concrete walls and floors, which would need to be done by cement workers, re-wiring the shelter which requires a certified electrician and after that, volunteers can jump in for painting and equipping the restored shelter.
The photo above shows you the entrance to one of these shelters. Below you have the staircase down. I could go no further as it was completely dark a few steps down and the mayor was concerned that it would not be safe for me to do so because of deterioration.
The last photo shows two additional entrances to the same shelter which underground is actually quite large. Multiple entrances are provided to facilitate quick movement of the residents into the shelter in times of attack. In the photo to the right below you can also see the ventilation stacks protruding up from the flooring which is very thick concrete protecting those inside.
I hope these photos give you at least some sense of the huge undertaking.
I am optimistic that the 7000 + Lekarev family will be able to repair, refurbish and equip at least two of these shelters.
Consider: $18,750 divided by 7000 subscribers means a $2.68 donation from every subscriber - and presto, one shelter is covered. Put in those terms, do you see why I am optimistic that we could manage at least TWO SHELTERS!
Everyone who has thus far donated has certainly given more than $2.68.
Therefore, I appeal to those of you who have not yet contributed, please do your part. Let's make a seriously concerted effort - all of us - to make this happen.
The lives of many families - husbands, wives and children - depend on it.
This Shabbat, I thought you might like to see my pomegranate tree!
It's growing beautifully in my garden and as you can see has several pomegranates which will be fully grown and ripe for the fall High Holidays. At present, there are about 20 pomegranates on the tree and several more flowers which will in time produce more fruit.
In this week's Torah reading, we have the sobering account of the rebellion of Korach, Dathan and Abiram who rose up against Moses, but in reality were rebelling against Hashem. Their interaction with Moses provides an abundance of material for our meditation this week. Is it always wrong to question those in authority over us? Why were they so severly punished? What is the message to us today?
Click below for this week's Torah meditation.
Shabbat Shalom and blessings,