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Rega Lifney Shabbat: Hasbara. It's up to all of us

This week, I am changing my habit and posting a "Moment before Shabbat" in English, so those of you who wish – in Israel and overseas – can spread it to whomever wherever you see fit. Hasbara is up to all of us: feel free to share


Dear friends,

Sitting at home, between alerts, running to shelters and watching news, while our nearest and dearest IDF soldiers – our fathers, husbands, sons and daughters – are doing whatever they can to keep us safe from harms way, is quite frustrating. So we do whatever we can: those of us who live in safer areas host those who live under heavier fire; others support businesses that are suffering from the situation; educators, healthcare givers, therapists and other professionals are already working with children and families to minimize trauma and harm; and many of us send packages filled with basic necessities, treats and letters to our troops. Less than 24 hours after I sent out a message that I am collecting packages for our soldiers, my house is already full. They will receive it tomorrow, and although I hope I won't need to send more next week, chances are I will.

In addition, we try to explain to the world what's going on. It has never been an easy job, especially since we "aren't bleeding enough": so far, our Iron Dome is doing exactly what it has been designed to do and giving us the shelter we need. The thought of what we would be forced to endure without it is frightening. So we try to explain in a variety of ways, many of them can be found on facebook and twitter that are filled with posts. Here's one I posted a few days ago:

One of the central debates we witness whenever Israel retaliates to Hamas attacks, regards the fact that Hamas is operating from the midst of Gaza citizens, creating a situation where whatever Israel does, there are always civilians in Gaza who pay the price, leading to the demand from Israel : "react within proportions". Michael Bloomberg already called the bluff on this demand, asking: when an armed terrorist knocks on your door claiming he is there to kill you, should you call one policeman to catch him – the "proportionate" reaction – or use all your might to defend yourself? The answer is obvious to anyone who wishes to live.

But there is one more claim that should be revisited.

Politicians, reporters, Interviewers and others tend to claim that "the civilians of Gaza are caught in the middle, between Israel and the Hamas", giving the impression that Hamas is an alien entity that flew into Gaza from outer space (or, namely, Iran) forcing the poor, innocent people of Gaza to live not only as their captives, but as their living shields, without any choice of resistance.

Well, here's a newsflash: The Hamas terrorists aren't from any other place but Gaza itself. They are part and parcel of the people of Gaza – fathers, husbands and sons of the families that are so-called "caught in the middle". furthermore – they have been DEMOCRATICLY ELECTED by the people of Gaza, who continue to support them and celebrate their horrendous acts of terror.

We, too, have extremists amongst us. What did we, the Democracy of Israel, do when faced with the horrendous, unacceptable terror attack on an innocent Palestinian boy, inflicted by our extremists? We denounced them, without any excuse or doubt, sending out a very clear and sharp message: this kind of culture is completely unacceptable, and we will treat it with zero-tolerance. One can argue what this treatment should include, but no one will celebrate it with candy, support or try to find ways to excuse it.

The civilians of Gaza aren't "caught in the middle" between Hamas and Israel. If they are caught in anything, it's the culture on which Hamas grows and thrives. Claiming that they are "caught in the middle" is exactly what they want us to believe, because let's face it – It's an easier concept for us to stomach than to understand that they have a completely different perception of the meaning of life than we do. More than anything else, that is the true tragedy.

And the truth remains this: if Hamas stops attacking us, there will be no fire. If we stop defending ourselves, there might be no Israel.

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