Eco-Warriors MIA as Gaza Terror Kites Torch Southern Israel
by Dave Bender
This enrages me. You don't burn and destroy what you claim to "love."
This is eco-terrorism, pure and simple, perpetrated proudly, loudly, en-masse by rank and file Gazan Arabs, and with the express intent to cause havoc and losses to Israeli farmers, their communities, and the surrounding towns and villages.
Millions of shekels in crops, equipment, warehouses; endless hours of year-round time and often backbreaking labor to - literally - green the arid desert, all now gone up in flame and smoke.
Hundreds of acres of once verdant national parklands and wildlife areas have been decimated, with who knows how many thousands of creatures being incinerated alive in the maelstrom of smoke and embers.
And the monsters, young and old, carrying out such evil deeds, are daily declaring from the rooftops and on every possible media outlet their intent to continue the horrific campaign of fire and destruction.
Contrast and compare national and religious attitudes towards caring for the land:
In the powerful words of the "Chatam Sofer," planting and growing crops in the Land of Israel is halachily equivalent to donning tefillin. In this very week's Torah Portion, "Shlach," read twice during the week and on Shabbat in synagogues across the Jewish world, the Children of Israel are told of the Land they would be entering.
In the thoughtful words of educator and commentator Sivan Rahav-Meir, "'The land is an exceedingly good land,' the Portion states, and reminds us that this is 'a land flowing with milk and honey.' This is an optimistic, constructive answer, full of devotion and determination to build and develop the land out of the destruction..."
I was a kibbutz member on Yahel in the southern Arava back in the 80s, where I worked on the then - nascent date plantation, vineyards, and as a landscaper, and I know in my own bones what it means to "green the desert."
The arduous, sometimes around-the-clock physical labor; the planning, hopes and pressures, and prayers, for a successful yield; and if all goes well - finally tasting, sharing, marketing, and reveling the luscious results.
While such despicable acts have been perpetrated in previous decades, going back to the fedayoun in the 50s and 60s, the latest twist is to use kites (donated to Gazan children by Japanese children, by the way, according to a recent reliable report, noted below) helium balloons to loft firebombs and even timed or otherwise fused lightweight explosive payloads to send the devices upwards of dozens of kilometers into Israel.
Adele Raemer, a 40-year resident of Kibbutz Nirim, writes:
"This kite was retrieved in Kibbutz Beeri's field yesterday. A kite that originated in Japan, as a gift to the children of Gaza, went through Kerem Shalom crossing, no doubt, to get there, and now being 'repurposed.' Some carry incendiary devices to destroy our fields and forests, others, like this, carry messages. This one says:
'Be'eri we have returned just like we promised we would, and we will reduce you to ashes.' This is NOT about the American Embassy in Jerusalem. This is NOT even about the “embargo”. This is about a terrorist group that wants to reduce us all to ashes.
'The Great March of Return' - they have been saying it all the time, why isn't the world listening?"
Where is Greenpeace? Where is PETA? Where is the World Wildlife Fund?
Where are the Green Parties, so concerned with the environment and well-being of animals?
Where are the impassioned hordes of a thousand and one international organizations always one telephone call, email, tweet, Facebook post and social media campaign away from protesting, hounding, shaming and naming, picketing, boycotting, and suing the perpetrators of such acts when they're done anywhere else on the face of the planet?
But, then again, we all know the reason, don't we?
Because - as one 19-year-old Gazan flying a swastika - scrawled incendiary kite told National Public Radio on May 15, "This is actually what we want them to know, that we want to burn them."
US-born Dave Bender is a seasoned professional photographer with extensive experience in digital photography and multimedia production. He has resided in Israel for almost four decades, raised a family, served in IDF infantry and artillery field units, and now makes his home in Safed in the northern Galilee.