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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

March 9, 2008 Reactions to the Terror Attack on Mercaz Harav

Israel has not recovered from the shock of Thursdayís shooting in Jerusalem. The televisions screens over the weekend were filled with scenes of the funerals, the blood splattered library, and the students and Rabbis trying hard to make sense of what no sense can possibly be made. There were stories in the papers of a level of resentment that the country was not as grief stricken as they would have been if the killing had taken place in a university, but that reflected more a sense of isolation that the National Religious community has felt since the pullout from Gaza then the reality of the reaction. This tragedy took place in the heart of Jerusalem, and as such, most Israelis have certainly identified with the horror that took place.

There have been almost no attacks from Gaza in the last two days, one rocket today and two yesterday. The feeling is that Hamas was worried about the Israeli reaction. Hamas has not taken responsibility for Thursdayís attack, but has justified it. Their justification is that all the students serve in reserve duty. It is clear that Hamas desperately wants a long term Hudna, a cease fire. Israel should not consider giving them anything they desperately want. A ceasefire, where they will not be killed and they do not fire is ok, but Israel cannot agree to an arrangement that would solidify Hamasí long term position.

Israel is in a difficult position and once upon a time I might have said any action it might take will backfire and will certainly not help lead it to its long-term goal of peace. However, there can only be peace if the ideological basis of Hamas is undermined. The only way to do that is to continue to fight them until they are undermined. They believe that their religious beliefs have led them to victory after victory, if that is allowed to continue, they will continue to strengthen, and any willingness to make a permanent compromise by the Palestinian people will completely disappear.

In the coming days I will be anouncing ways to help the people of Sderot- but in the meantime a friend has sent me this link to buy products from Sderot.