Oren and Hadar and the Unfinished War

Oren and Hadar and the Unfinished War

What of Oren and Hadar? On Friday, Operation Guardian of the the war ended and Israel returned to normal very quickly, except for one major question. What of Oren and Hadar?

After almost 28 years in Israel, I’ve lost count of the number of wars, operations and near-wars I’ve lived through. Some have faded, others are as fresh as the day the first rockets were fired. Operation Cast Lead was my first as a soldier’s mother. My oldest son was released the day before my youngest son’s bar mitzvah. He’d been away from home for 6 weeks and the minute he told me he was cleared to go, I set out with a bottle of chilled ice tea, tray of homemade brownies, some clean clothes and a full tank of gas.

After biting into one brownies, grabbing another in second hand, he asked if he could leave them with the soldiers who had not yet been cleared to go home. We climbed back into the car (he insisted he wanted to drive) and we set off for home. “Ima, they didn’t let us finish.” I can’t tell you when he said those words but it was very early in the conversation. They didn’t let them finish. “They” were the Israeli government, and the world.

Less than four years later, there was another war. And, two years after that one, yet another. After that, we had a 7 year run with peaks and lulls until this latest one, Operation Guardian of the Walls. On Friday morning, a ceasefire was declared. And, immediately there was the question, after all this destruction and pain, what did we accomplish? Netanyahu says the Israeli military worked through its checklist of urgent Hamas targets and is satisfied. We have set Hamas back years and the unspoken message was that the world has had enough.

Oh, the Palestinians are magicians at PR and the world doesn’t really care if 2 million Jews come under fire. Repeatedly through the years, they have looked into the television cameras and lied. A rocket could be launched right behind them and they would say the reporter was imagining it. Fearing for their lives, many journalists in Gaza simply accept the Palestinian side, go where the Palestinians tell them to go and report what the Palestinians want them to report.

Some are honest enough to admit this once they leave Gaza. Most do not. That’s how it was in the last war, that’s how it was in this one and yes, that’s how it will be in the next one. As a result, Israel immediately starts verifying all Palestinian claims and in time releases carefully documented evidence showing how many of the “uninvolved” were Hamas operatives or known affiliates in other terror groups. Israel knows exactly what buildings came down and the military reason for each.

Hamas has nothing to do, nothing to explain. No one will ask why they hit a kindergarten, family homes, a hospital. Only Israel has to justify each missile.

This past Friday morning,  Israel and Gaza declared a ceasefire. Several things happened at once. In Gaza and around Israel, the Arabs started celebrating. Isn’t in fascinating how they went from claims of utter desolation and destruction to celebrating a victory? And, once again Arabs are rioting on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem; Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that the Israeli military worked through its check list of urgent Hamas targets and is satisfied.Petach Tikvah Israel

Yes, we have set Hamas back years.  Though this was his message, there was another. Unspoken, Bibi was telling us that the world has had enough. Of course, Washington wants peace or the image of it. And the Europeans are fearful of more rioting and violence in their own streets.

Once again, anti-semites are attacking Jews in Europe and the United States and hate crimes against Jews have sky-rocketed by 483%. But the world focuses on the Palestinians, because, in truth, the world doesn’t really care if 2 million Jews Jews are beaten in LA, NY, London, Paris or attacked by missiles in Netivot or Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Ashdod.

So this war stopped on Friday and the world, and Israel, breathed a sigh of relief. Everyone will go about rebuilding. We will fix the destroyed homes and try to comfort the families who have lost their loved ones. The world will flood Gaza with sympathy and donations, much of which Gaza will squirrel away to re-arm for the next battle. They will dig out the bodies of those buried in the terror tunnels, and as they do that, they’ll spend more time and money focusing on the tunnels. The sun is shining, the air is cool and refreshing in Israel. The schools are all open; roads filled with traffic. A regular day as if last week we hadn’t been hiding in bomb shelters, listening for the next alert.

From my living room window as I try to work, I hear birds and an occasional buzz. Someone is cutting their  lawn nearby. It’s all so terribly normal. Except in two houses in Israel today. Two houses that have no grave to visit, no body to mourn. No end to their agony, no closure. Two beautiful young men who died in the last war. Barbarians, ghouls grabbed their bodies and for 7 long years have tormented their families by not returning them.

Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin. In the end, says Netanyahu, we did what we had to do in Gaza. Once again, we hit hundreds of targets, miles of tunnels. We knocked out so much, accomplished so much. But for all the success, there was one major failure and it because of our soldiers. “Ima, they didn’t let us finish.” Bibi, you didn’t finish. We didn’t bring Oren and Hadar home.Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin

With broken hearts, we have to tell their mothers they still have no real grave to sit beside as all bereaved parents should have. For goodness sake, anyone who knows anything about Hamas knows they were desperate for a cease-fire. Sadly, we wasted our opportunity. There can be no ceasefire without Hamas returning their bodies.

Now, look their mothers in the eyes, Bibi, and tell them you did everything for them? Tell them we hit every target? Yes, we all know there will be another war. Maybe, a year from now? Perhaps, two years? Five years? Oh yes, we will all rebuild the homes and office and roads. And of course, we’ll all replenish and re-arm. AP will find a new headquarters from which they can broadcast Hamas’ lies.

Probably, Al Jazeera will place symbolic rocks from their decimated broadcasting station on the desks of newly built offices with fancier equipment than before. And already, countries are lining up to pour money into their pockets and the money will flow underground into new tunnels as the IDF and Intelligence Agencies begin compiling their new lists of targets for the next war.

But what of Oren and Hadar? And what of their mothers? Their families? Tragically, Oren’s father died never seeing his son’s grave. But Hadar’s father often appears beside his mother begging for his son’s return. What of Oren and Hadar, Bibi? What of Oren and Hadar?

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