by Shifra Hoffman

P.O. Box 32103. Jerusalem. Israel

The Guardian Of Israel

The general mood, or as it is known here in Israel -matzav ruach- is far from joyful.

But then again, how could it be otherwise?

A pall of depression generated by the unprecedented succession of Arab terrorist attacks has left its indelible mark on the entire country. With the current, aggravated situation in the North, and the non-stop shelling of Katyushas in Kiryat Shemonah, the usual happy faces spawned by the advent of spring which one traditionally would spot among the bustling crowds of Jerusalem, have been replaced by sombre countenances and slower paces.

In addition to the myriad activities of Victims Of Arab Terror International Organization (VAT), we have been inundated with desperate calls for assistance. Additionally, there are still many wounded who require lengthy hospital stays and are in need of personal visits to offset the feeling that they have been forgotten and abandoned. Baruch Ilashem, VAT managed to be at their bedsides and made condolence calls to countless families who lost loved ones for which or outreach efforts were noted in innumerable letters received from these grateful families.

It is also noteworhy that for the first time, the heretofore not-so-friendly-to Israel media such as Time Magazine conducted interviews with us in an attempt to follow up on stories of how these victims survive their trauma.

Shortly after the first bus bombing in Jerusalem, a leading Hebrew language newspaper prominently featured an article entitled "Where Is The Guardian of Israel?" Its author, Ephraim Sidon, bitterly lamented the irony of Jews being killed, davka, on Bus 18- the symbol of Chai or Life. It is easy to dismiss Sidon's angry query as sacrilegious, at worst and gross ignorance, at best. To do so without attempting to respond, I believe, does grave injustice to the sacred teachings of our Torah which admonishes Jews to correctly answer the scoffer.

As I ponder and ask myself, if - after the wanderings of our people over two millennia and the incredible ingathering of the remnant after the Holocaust; after the miraculous victories in five Arab-instigated wars where our armies were often outnumbered 100 to one; after the fall of the once-mighty Soviet Union which was forced to open its Iron Gates to "Let Our People Go" -Sidon, an Israeli Jew, living in a Jewish State, is living on the same planet as I.

It is a tragic fact that Hashem's beneficence to Jews is often more appreciated by non-jews.

Just recently, a convention was held in Jerusalem by Christian Zionists. Among the delegates who came from countless nations throughout the world and stopped to view our display of the more than 200 victims murdered since the Oslo so-called "Peace" Accords, were several representatives from Norway.

Profusely apologizing for the action of their country in initiating this suicidal process, they could not stop castigating the ongoing capitulation of ceding sacred soil of Eretz Yisrael to Arab enemies.

'Why are you giving up your precious inheritance which God gave to the Jewish people to mass murderers such as Yasser Arafat and other Arab despots? Have you Jews forgotten the bitter lesson of the Holocaust? Where will you go when the Arabs launch their 'Palestinian" State and overrun Israel?"

I think about the acute irony of an Israeli - no, more accurately, a Jew in Israel - launching a journalistic tirade against the "Guardian of Israel" while remaining mute to policies of our Priine Minister which are leading the Jewish state and the Jewish people, chas v'shalom, to disaster.

I think about a Jewish State which daily becomes less desirous of being Jewish and opts to be a "nation like all the others," regardless of the consequences.

And finally, I think about the blessings of many Christians who assure us constantly, "Be not afraid, for God is with you, Israel."

Yes, I unequivocally agree. But is Israel with God?

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