The outgoing ombudsman for the Israeli army made parts of his final, yearly report public.
It was not pretty.
Basically, he said that the real reason Israel is unwilling to commit to any full-scale assault on Gaza is not for a fear of not being able to handle the North as well, or for international reasons, etc., but rather because the Israeli army is simply not up to it. Their fighting strength and quality is at the lowest ever. They are not the Israeli army everybody grew up to love and respect. He blamed many things for the weakening of the army; but one of the main issues is how the most motivated soldiers, the Religious Zionists, are being chased out by left-wing organizations. Many who have successfully forced the army to lower their standards so more women can join combat brigades, mix genders as much as possible (and let's not go into the issues that the army has admitted with THAT problem) have done their best to squash what little support the religious soldiers get.
One well respected officer, the Givati Brigade commander was attacked viciously during the last "war." His crime? He’s a Religious Zionist, and had the gall to hand out “Orders of the Day” to his soldiers, exhorting them to fight well and to trust that Hashem will fight with them. He included (gasp!) “Shema Yisroel." He also said anti-Jewish statements such as “Torah study is the best protection."
His lack of natural movement in the chain-of-command, has not gone unnoticed by his fellow religious officers. This is a huge loss for this country. You WANT religious soldiers like this. THEY, unlike most, have the motivation to defend the country. They believe it is a mitzvah to do so! And they will give their lives for it. But alas, it’s not politically correct for those living in Tel Aviv.
This is yet another sign that this country is not being protected by the “amazing army,” but clearly, by “Somebody” else.
(P.S. I’m not attacking individual soldiers. While, obviously not a Zionist myself, I have no problem admitting that Israel probably has the most moral and self-controlled soldiers on the ground.)
On to more important stuff.
It’s an interesting feeling in the air at this time of year. On one hand, there is fear. Rosh Hashanah is around the corner. What will be for next year? What will be with our children? Our families? Our health? Our income? Our spiritual and physical state? Have we prepared enough? On the other hand, on Rosh Hashanah, we are to “Eat rich foods and drink sweet beverages” (Nechemiah 8:10). So, too, on erev Yom Kippur, we sit down to eat a proper meal. And it’s a mitzvah to eat a good one! Rabbeinu Yonah explains, “It is because he shows his joy as the time of his atonement approaches, and this testifies to his anxiety over his offense and his deep sorrow over his transgressions. ”
The Mishnah teaches, “Says Rebbe Akiva, Fortunate are you, Yisroel! Before Whom do you purify yourselves, and Who purifies you? It is your Father in heaven!”
During the weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, we live with some fear and trembling. Are we doing what we are supposed to be doing? Are we living up to our potentials? Have we grown? Where have we failed and how can we fix that?
Yet, once Rosh Hashanah (and Yom Kippur) comes around, we go into it with happy and joyful emotions. We realize that WE are not the ones who ultimately clean us up. It is Hashem! We must do our part to show that we want to be clean, but in the end, Hashem cleans each of our souls.