A letter from our correspondent, Boaz.

"Wow, 17 days into the conflict. I was wondering if we were not going to have another 6 day conflict or something of the like.. I have to admit our leaders said that it was going to be a long and drawn out conflict. With all the reserve soldiers in Gaza at the moment it is impossible to even guess how many soldiers are fighting at this time. Suffice it to say that it is well in excess of 10,000 fighting men.

During negotiations between the Egyptians and Hamas, The Egyptians have told the Hamas to be prepared to sign or loose Gaza. This is a difficult situation to deal with as one the one hand we have a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to deal radical Islam a severe blow and yet we have to be merciful to the innocent caught in the crossfire as well as humane to our enemy. I am reminded of Yeshua’s teaching of the Beatitudes " Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of Elohim". I prefer a direct translation from the Dilitch Hebrew translation, "Blessed are those who pursue peace for they will be called sons of Elohim". The Hebrew word used is ‘rodef’ which literally means to run after or chase, a far more accurate reflection of what our attitude to peace should be.

Ariel Rubenstein, A writer for the ‘Yediot Hachronot’ wrote a very interesting article which I have edited to keep the content relevant. The article was called ‘The Three Questions of Confusion’ and I have taken content from his 1st question.

1: In all of Israel’s wars, most of Israel’s soldiers maintained "purity of arms" and moral conduct, though some ‘irregular acts’ occurred. Is it possible that the IDF soldiers of this current conflict are of an even higher quality? Could it be that Israeli society is plagued by violence at nightclubs, in the streets and on the roads, yet the young Israelis in uniform are all "different"? Is it possible that the pressure, the fear, the feelings of vengeance and the chill of night have not led some of them to deviate from the army’s orders? Could it be that a society that does not excel in respecting others has, nonetheless, raised a generation of soldiers who all maintain strict respect for the dignity and property of Palestinians when resting in their bedrooms?

If the lack of reports about exceptional incidents reflects the actual conduct on the ground in the Gaza Strip, then it shows that Israeli society has indeed improved and constitutes a source of pride for all of us. However, because the IDF has been so effective in implementing the lessons of the Second Lebanon War, we are unable to confirm that this is not a mere fantasy. In order to enable us to confirm our moral greatness, would it not be best to return the cell phones to the IDF soldiers in Gaza and allow journalists to accompany them and file reliable reports from there, without the Military Censor preventing them from publishing "irregular" news?

In closing, I would like to include a quotation sent to us by a dear friend. It goes to show just how long this conflict between us and the Arabs has been going on.

"We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us." (Golda Meir)