While the United States is trying to make sense of the news that the Obama administration handed billions of dollars, many of them in cash, over to the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, Israel is conducting a nationwide emergency readiness exercise this week. The purpose is to test Israel's ability to handle rocket attacks, terrorists infiltrating communities and other emergencies related to an all-out war scenario.
According to the Israeli army, Israel's enemies have aimed some 230,000 rockets of various sizes and warhead capacities at Israel. Prominent among those enemies, as it happens, are two of Iran's proxies in the region, Hamas and Hezbollah. Both organizations are more than likely to benefit from the Obama administration's generous payments to Iran.
The Israeli army's projected scenarios are markedly grave compared to the last war with Hezbollah 10 years ago. According to Maj. Gen. (reserve) Yitzhak Gershon, home front command chief during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, "If in the Second Lebanon War the record was 160 rockets in a day [fired] at the northern region, we need to expect up to 1,200 rockets in a day – it will be a completely different scenario from anything we've known."
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How do you think the terrorists of Hezbollah managed to increase their stockpiles of rockets so dramatically in the last 10 years? Did they win big in the lottery? No. Iran sponsored them, because sponsoring terrorists is one of Iran's main foreign policies. Now, if Iran was capable of sponsoring terrorist organizations while it was subject to international sanctions, imagine the terror fest it will be able to launch with the billions of dollars bestowed upon it by the Obama administration.
While the consequences of Obama's policies may still seem dim and mostly theoretical to most Americans, in Israel the implications hit very close to home. Emboldening Iran and lining the mullahs' coffers with billions of dollars can have dire consequences for the Jewish state. Nationwide drills testing Israel's preparedness for all-out war are not conducted for lack of better things to do. Iran and its proxies constitute very tangible threats to Israel. Every Israeli is aware of this, even small children.
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Every year the Israeli Ministry of Education holds a nationwide exercise in kindergartens and schools to test the preparedness of every educational institution in Israel in the event of a rocket or missile attack. In Israel, as opposed to the U.S., the term "safe space" does not denote a space for spoiled millennials to hide themselves from reality: It is literally a physical place to seek shelter from rockets and missiles.
During this week's exercise, children will practice running to their "safe spaces" in schools and kindergartens, and families will practice running for shelter in their own homes. Every house and apartment in Israel contains a "safe space" – a room with reinforced doors and windows.
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How would you explain to your children the reason behind these preparedness exercises? How would you communicate to them that there are enemies out there, state-sponsored terrorists such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, who wish to kill them only because they are Jewish?
Israeli parents do not have a choice, because this is the reality they face. It is a different reality than that of most American and European parents – at least for now.
After September 11 – and indeed after all the subsequent mass terrorism attacks around the world – Israelis hoped that the international community would finally understand Israel's predicament. So far, that understanding has not been forthcoming. Instead, Israel continues to suffer abuse for daring to defend itself against terrorism. It is subjected to insane scrutiny by a hostile U.N., NGOs and human rights organizations, with everyone voicing their opinions on how Israel must "show restraint" in its efforts to prevent its citizens from being killed by Arab terrorists.
Would the United States accept having rockets fired on its cities without retaliating? Of course not. No country would suffer such violations of its sovereignty. Yet Israel suffers attacks on a regular basis, for example, when Hamas sends its rockets down on the Israeli city of Sderot on the border of Gaza. Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets and mortars on Sderot, disrupting life there and creating something like a permanent state of emergency. Who sponsors Hamas? Iran.
While all this is still happening far away from the United States and therefore feels less urgent to Americans than it does to Israelis, Americans would be well advised to recall that in Iran "Death to America" is still chanted in the streets. If anything, Iran thinks even less of the United States than it did in the past. In the Middle East, respect is everything, and Obama squandered it all when he bowed to the mullahs. There will be a price to pay.