Hamas is launching every type of mortar shell and rocket in its arsenal against Southern and Central Israel. Its missiles now include longer range rockets supplied by Iran. For the first time, those rockets have hit communities in Central Israel, including Kiryat Malachi (above) and Tel Aviv.
The photo above is from an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi. Three civilians were killed. The victims were Mirah Scharf, 25, Aharon Smadja, 49, and Itzik Amsalem, 27.
Ironically, Mrs. Scharf and her husband are Chabad emissaries to New Delhi, India, and she was visiting Israel for the memorial service of Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg, the Chabad emissaries who were killed in the Islamist terrorist massacre in Mumbai. Thursday was the fourth anniversary of the massacre, on the Hebrew calendar. Mrs. Scharf was the mother of three children, and the Chabad website reported that she was pregnant and planned to have her baby in Israel. Her husband, Shmuel Scharf was wounded by Thursday’s attack.
In 1976-77, my wife and I have lived in Kiryat Malachi for some 4 months, doing volunteer work. I know this neighborhood and this building. The neighborhood is Nachlat Har Chabad, the second largest community of Lubavitcher (Chabad) Chasidic Jews in Israel. Laura and I lived in an adjacent building. We had friends who lived and may still live in this building.
Hamas and Egypt say that these attacks were in retaliation for the targeted killing by Israel of a Hamas military leader. Egyptian politicians are demanding retaliation atttacks on Israeli civilian targents. But Israeli civilians were already under attack from Gaza. The the air attack by Israel, aimed with precision to avoid civilian casualites, came after weeks of rocket and missile attacks from Gaza aimed at the civilian communities of Southern Israel, and after many warnings to Hamas that it had to stop those attacks. Egypt's position appears to be that Israel is committing aggression when it defends itself after a terrorist attack.
Dry Bone's Yaakov Kirschen
once observed that the Hamas and Hezbollah concept of a "ceasefire" was "We (Israel) cease, they fire." Apparently Egypt agrees.
Oh, by the way, Kiryat Malachi is a sister city of Los Angeles. Kiryat Malachi means "City of the Angels."