PEACE with Penny: Penny S. Tee interviews Rabbi Shaul Judelman, co-founder of Roots-Shorashim-Judur. This has been a sad week. Jerusalem hasn’t been bombed like this since 2014, during the war when we were there on a family vacation that I wrote my book about, “BLASTED
from COMPLACENCY: A Journey from Terror to Transformation in Israel.”
Hamas has fired over 3,000 missiles into Israel but 90% were stopped by Israel’s military defense system, Iron Dome, before they had the possibility to land and hurt people. You also should factor in the fact that sirens go off and Israelis must run to bomb shelters—it’s traumatizing as I can attest to.
I wish any death or casualty from either side didn’t happen, but what would the Israeli death and injury toll be if the Hamas missiles were allowed to land?
As the conflict entered a second week, the Israeli strikes in Gaza were blamed for almost 200 Palestinian deaths, including 55 children and 33 women. More than 1,200 have been injured. The rockets launched from the Gaza Strip by Hamas militants have killed eight people in Israel, including a young boy and a soldier.
It’s always pointed out that Israelis suffer significantly less casualties and have more hi-tech equipment, and therefore are the “bullies.” It makes convenient press, but it is not an honest depiction of what’s happening. They expect Israel not to retaliate after being attacked. Israel takes extraordinary steps to avoid Palestinian casualties, not expected of other nations, but unfortunately, they still happen. Even when caused by Hamas, Israel can be blamed. In fact, at least 17 of the Palestinian deaths came from misfired Hamas rockets but these statistics are reported as being blended into the deaths attributed to Israel. Oy.
And before Israel lets their rockets destroy Hamas terror tunnels and buildings Hamas intentionally places amongst civilians as human shields, the Israeli Defense forces text, call and drop leaflets warning the inhabitants to leave because they are going to bomb the location in x amount of time. The civilians are told by Hamas to stay because their deaths make sympathetic press. Oy.
There also have been Palestinian terrorist attacks with drive-by shootings, incendiary balloons which have started many fires causing significant damage, car rammings and stabbings. Hamas’ former Minister of the Interior Fathi Hammad said in a speech “we want you to cut off the heads of the Jews with knives,” as he instructs them where to put the knife and that it merely costs 5 shekels to buy a knife.
Finally, the convergence of so many events didn’t help with the potential to spark violence with Ramadan ending, the potential evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem Day – the annual celebration of Israel’s acquisition of eastern Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war, Israel’s May 14, 1948 Independence Day and the commemoration of the Palestinian Naqba coinciding didn’t foretell a Peace-filled atmosphere.
Well, enough talk of the ugliness! To let you know, PEACE with Penny will be taking a break from live interviews to enjoy a brief hiatus. This was planned and not a reaction to the current conflict. When we return on June 8th at 11am Pacific Time, we hope the violence will have stopped. We have an exciting round up of people we will be interviewing starting with the famous Peacemakers Robi Damelin and Laila Alshek of Parents Circle-Family Forum. These Peacemakers in this organization all have lost loved ones in the conflict and say enough is enough, and work on Peace. Their human hearts are formidable!
During this break, we’ll be playing some previous Peace-filled interviews at our regular Tuesday 11am Pacific Time period. The first we played today with Rabbi Shaul Judelman who was our first PEACE with Penny interview at the end of January this year. He is a co-founder of Roots-Shorashim-Judur with Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger an incredible organization that I’ve grown to love over the years. Roots is located in the West Bank—what many people call occupied territory.
Roots’ members are made up of Israeli settlers who meet with Palestinians to forge a better more cooperative life with their neighbors. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is part of their day-to-day life. The rest of the world thinks Israelis and Palestinians are enemies and yet these Peace makers foster a grassroots movement of understanding, nonviolence, and transformation among Israelis and Palestinians.
Especially during this latest time of violence, don’t you want to hear about Israelis and Palestinians who work on Peace? I know it brings me comfort.
Maybe our listeners will want to say some prayers tonight for both the Israelis and Palestinians to be safe and stop the useless loop of violence. I know I will be. Killing and maiming one another won’t solve anything and only exacerbates the problems. If only both sides would just follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you would have them treat you.
My prayer for everyone is that you May You Live in Peace, שלום and سلام.
Penny S. Tee
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