Monday, July 7, 2003

How Many More Ariels?

How Many More Ariels?
July 7, 2003


Early this afternoon I opened the newspaper and saw a little boy, smiling, wearing a leather helmet on his head, waving at the camera. The article alongside the picture, in big white letters on a celebratory blue background read, “Ariel returns with a smile.” I stopped my other activities to read the article, and when I was finished, brushed a few tears from my eyes.

Ariel Yered, on April third, 2001, then only 14 months old, was playing on the porch of his home in the Atzmona community, in Gush Katif, in Gaza. At that time he had just learned to say ‘Imma’ and Abba’ – Mommy and Daddy. Suddenly, an awesome explosion – a mortar fired by Arab terrorists landed right next to him. Ariel’s mother Lia was wounded in the arm. But another mortar fragment hit Ariel, striking him in the head, penetrating his brain. Two other fragments hit his spine. At the time many of the doctors trying to save his life didn’t expect little Ariel to live much longer. He was brought to the hospital without any pulse and wasn’t breathing. However, one of the doctors reported a ‘slight movement of the heart,’ just enough to try and save him.

In order to prevent pressure on his brain, surgeons performed unique surgery, by removing a piece of Ariel’s skull and then storing it in deep freeze. Since then Ariel wore a special helmet on his head, protecting his open skull. 

After an initial recovery period Ariel underwent intense rehabilitation in Jerusalem. The right side of his body, including his arm and leg, were partially paralyzed, as a result of his injuries. Now, the 10 by 7 centimeter bone, removed from Ariel’s skull almost two years ago was returned to his head, and finally, Ariel can remove the helmet from his head. Ariel’s mother, Lia said, “He was dead, and it’s like he’s been reborn.”

Thank G-d for miracles. Ariel Yered is a living miracle, living proof of the wonders of the L-rd. The question is, how many miracles must we wait for?

Yesterday the Israeli government decided to release hundreds of terrorists from prison.  Many of them were convicted in courts of law. Others are being held under administrative detention, having been apprehended with the help of first-class intelligence information. They have killed, wounded, and maimed. Maimed both physically and mentally. I know a young man who was actually sitting next to the terrorist who exploded on Ben Yehuda Street one Saturday night, a couple of years ago. For reasons he cannot even understand he stood up and walked away, only seconds before the terrorist detonated his bomb. His friends were killed and injured. Exploding body parts flew by him, some hitting him. I can assure you, an event like that leaves its mark, despite that fact that he wasn’t physically wounded. Anyone anywhere near the vicinity of a terror attack asks, maybe for the rest of their lives, ‘why was I saved’ and ‘what if…?’

Is a terrorist who “only wounded” people any better than a terrorist who killed? Is the Arab terrorist who “almost killed” but “only wounded” Ariel Yered any better than the terrorist who shot and killed Shalhevet Pass? Their intentions were identical - one succeeded in fulfilling them and the other ‘almost, but not quite.’ Is there any reason in the world to grant him freedom, allowing him a ‘second chance to try again?’

And for what – for a three month hudna – for a three month ceasefire? For promises – which can be classified as ‘virtual’ – in the mind of the beholder only. After all, the Americans are demanding that all terror organizations be dismantled – i.e. destroyed. But Abu Mazen and Dahlan, despite their seeming agreement to the ‘road map’ and its obligations have publicly stated that they will not try to disarm Hamas or the Islamic Jihad or take apart their terror infrastructure. Rather, they will use the ‘power of persuasion,’ which is, in other words, ‘wait a few months, regroup, take a breather, and when the time comes to start again, we’ll let you know.’

And then, Israel will have to deal with another 1,200 terrorists or so, who received at least an MA in advanced terror tactics while in Israeli jail.

A few days ago Hebron community leaders learned that the Israeli army has, for all practical purposes, already withdrawn from the H1 – Arafat-Abu Mazen controlled side of Hebron, that being about 80% of the city. True, Israeli forces are still in the hills that surround us, but for how long? Dahlan will meet with Mufaz, Abu Mazen with Sharon, Bush and Condelezza will make a couple of phone calls, and, bingo-presto, we’ll be back where we started. Sitting ducks in a pond, waiting for the sharpshooters to take aim and pull the trigger. The last time the IDF pulled out of the ‘other side of Hebron,’ the result was the November 15th Friday night massacre, leaving 12 men dead. That continuing bloodbath has left 27 people murdered in and around Hebron in the past eight months. But, so what? After all, Condy was reported as saying, a few days ago, that the US expects Israel to restrain itself and not react, even in the event of a terror attack, because a harsh reaction would ‘damage the peace process.’

Arik Sharon is acting as a dictator – forcing his will, not only on his ministers, but also on the entire Israeli population. He refuses to hear anyone – when Minister Benny Elon asked to discuss the ‘roadmap’ in the cabinet, he was told to mind his own business, that of the tourism ministry, and to leave ‘other matters’ alone. Sharon, together with Bush and his team, are forcing Israel to participate in its own execution. According to recent reports, Sharon has ordered the destruction of another so-called outpost community tomorrow, Beit-El East. If the roadmap continues on schedule, other, larger communities will be uprooted before the end of the year, including Tekoa and Beit Hagai.

And so I ask, Arik, Condy, George and Shaul, what will you say to the mother of the next Ariel – how many more children will need Divine miracles? And what will you say to those mothers and fathers who aren’t so lucky – to the Ariels that don’t make it?

How many more Ariels?

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

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