Israel still under siege, needs support, Mishmeret Yesha ops director says
June 25, 2012 | Dave Gordon - Correspondent
TORONTO?– Terrorists are attacking Israelis on a day-to-day basis, said Israel Danzinger, the director of operations of Mishmeret Yesha (MY), who is turning to the Diaspora for help.
He spoke Sunday at the Toronto Zionist Centre on his North American tour, about how vulnerable Jewish communities are in Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank).
Firebombings, drive-by shootings, carjackings and sneak attacks into neighbourhoods have been a regular occurrence, he said.
Since 1988 his organization has been involved in training and equipping the Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) – thus far 4,000 volunteers who have prevented countless attacks.
What they are in need of most are bullet proof vests and medical equipment. Unfortunately, the IDF does not have a lightweight armoured combat vest for infantry, Danzinger said. His organization fills the void and is actively fundraising in the Diaspora to keep up with demand.
“Truckloads of money come from NGOs and the entire world for the Palestinians, but we have to look for money on our own just to buy vests,” he said.
After the Second Intifada began in late 2000, specific types of armoured combat vests were required. For cost efficiency, MY sewed, designed and manufactured these vests, unique in their design, comfort and protective level. About 150 communities and institutions have benefitted from them. So too, for Israeli soldiers, as some 500 vests had been loaned to infantry during the Lebanon War.
Danzinger is often taken aback at how generally unaware Diaspora Jews are regarding the safety of Israelis.
“What I hear is, ‘things are quiet there, right? That’s the impression we have.’”
Last year alone, he said the IDF made about 2,000 arrests of terrorists – one every few hours – and some 750,000 Israelis have been in and out of bomb shelters. Once a Code Red alarm rings, citizens have about 15 seconds to run to a shelter. While there, Israelis miss long stretches of work and school, and supplies cannot reach in or out.
Many are afraid to shower, he said, lest they not hear the siren. Children, he said, live in terror.
“The government has no answer. Even if they had an answer, they’re not comfortable giving it,” he said, adding the insult to injury when the Israeli government has chosen to set free thousands of terrorists from prisons in prisoner exchanges, while some return to the West Bank ready to attack again. He credits various peace initatives and agreements such as the Road Map and Oslo Accords for paving the way to Israel’s arming of Arabs in the West Bank, in an effort for them to police themselves. But he believes this backfired.
Today, a group of armed infiltrators can enter a community in just a few minutes, “rushing in like a football team” – as has happened on “countless occasions.
“Don’t take anything for granted,” said Danzinger. “Don’t say you didn’t know, because you could have known. You can have a big effect. We want to be prepared for Intifada 3. It’s just a matter of time.”
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