Friday, July 14, 2006

As many of you might be aware, Lebanon's Hezballah (meaning Party of G-d) terrorist group kidnapped three Israeli soldiers: Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser, and Eldad Regev two weeks ago. Supposedly they are still alive and being held somewhere by the Palestinians that kidnapped them, which means that they are either dead or suffering unamable torture. Shalit is 19 years old. One more Jew, Eliyahu Asheri, not a soldier but an 18-year old living in the settlment of Itamar was executed by being shot in the head.

Anyway, Hezballah made Israel a "generous" offer; in exchange for 9,000 prisoners in Israel (terrorists), they will give Israel information on where to find Shalit. It's not even 9,000 to 3, it's 9,000 to some information on the three. Unless a miracle occurs, Hezballah has no intent on returning Shalit back to Israel because he is a such a valuable playing card. Their hope is that Israel give in to their demands, either wholly or partially, so that Hezballah can continue to make demands from them. Not once, I believe, have terrorist groups returned a kidnappee to Israel alive and there is not much chance that they will return Shalit alive either. They'll keep demanding from Israel, and in the case that Israel begins to take military action against them, they will most likely just kill Shalit.

Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, has begun bombing Hezballah and Hamas infrastructures in Lebanon, the country north of Israel and which has not had a technical war with Israel since 1982, which by some definitions might not have been a real war. Lebanon is the country in which Shalit is being held and in act of foolishness, Hezballah is taking Shalit further and further north into Lebanon, which means that Israel is faced with the reality of entering areas further and further north into that country, which no Lebanese or Israeli wants. As a "response," Hezballah has begun firing Iran-provided missiles into northern Israel, which reach as far as the city of Haifa. Haifa, by the way, is a city with a population of both Arabs and Jews, just a sign of the indiscriminate tactics of Hezballah strategies in which Arab casualties are labeled "martyrs."

A personal aside -- I once visited Haifa where I have friends, and I and my friend Gali went bike-riding up farther north, a 20 or so minute drive from the Lebanese border. Some amount of years before that Israel had to shut down the higher portion of the hill (on the Israeli side) because Hezballah operatives would stand on the Lebanese side of the border and fire into Israel and succeeded in killing some Israeli's. Haifa is even farther away from the border than that hill, about a two hour drive.

You can see a map of the Middle East here and a picture of Haifa here

Iran provides Hezballah and Hamas with the finances they need.

Anyway, in addition to that bit of news, here and here are two interesting accounts of things that occurred in the pages of the Torah that fit in quite strangely with the contemporary politics in the Middle East.

Enjoy, have a good weekend and a good Shabbos. Yaniv...


anonym00kie said...
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Estase said...

Ever think about middle east struggle as it would be lain out in a Jane Austen novel? See "A Fine Romance" at Denique Fossor