“Who shall live and who shall die?…Who by fire and who by water?” This is the ultimate and central prayer recited on Yom Kippur. The prayer remains theoretical for most Jewish people in the world, as they pray and hope for the best in the New Year. But for the people of Israel who live in Sderot and the Western Negev, no prayer could better portray their fears and their reality.

The Gaza militias openly use these months of the supposedly agreed upon cease-fire – known as the “calm” or tahadiya in Arabic – to accumulate and broaden their lethal arsenal of weapons, which everyone knows will soon be aimed in the direction of our communities inside Israel. The Israeli Intelligence Research Center confirms that the Palestinians in Gaza will soon have 10,000 anti-personnel missiles at their disposal.

Meanwhile, many armed private armies in Gaza have openly embedded their fighters in the teeming housing projects of their villages and United Nations refugee camps. They are armed with these missiles and mortars, knowing full well that when they start shooting Israel will shoot back in defense, and this will cause civilian casualties for them to proudly display to the foreign press. Their goal is to make it look as if Israel is breaking the Israel Defense Forces code of ethics by “indiscriminate” fire at seemingly civilian targets. Experience has shown that the militias fire from populated areas explicitly for this heinous goal.

And, most recently, the Gaza militias actually held a press conference to show off the hundreds of women and children they are training to be suicide bombers, to blow themselves up in the next round of fighting.

When the Gaza militias do launch their next round of attacks, they will use their sophisticated public relations system. They have trained misinformation specialists planted the world over to spread the specious message that the Hamas regime in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis, because of all the people there who they will claim suffer and starve, with the blame placed on Israel. There will never be any confirmed cases of any Gazan dying of starvation, but rest assured the media will report it anyway because the Palestinian propagandists will tell them so.

The media will remind you regularly that Hamas is the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. But the media will not keep reporting in their stories that official Hamas policy is to never negotiate with Israel and to never make peace with Israel. Nor will they report that Hamas considers firing missiles at civilians to be justified, while Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both issued reports calling it what it really is – crimes against humanity and, most likely, war crimes.

Now, with the onset of the Jewish New Year, it is the Gaza guns that are aimed to terrorize and kill Jews in Sderot and the Western Negev. Despite the supposed ceasefire, dozens of rockets continue to be fired at unarmed Israeli civilians, who have suffered under this rain of terror for over seven straight years.

This is where the real humanitarian crisis is unfolding.

This is where the untold human interest story is that the Jewish people – let alone world opinion and the media – need to know about in the New Year.

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Noam Bedein is a director of the Sderot Media Center. It is a media advocacy center which portrays the human face of Sderot and southern Israel under siege, to the international media and public. Noam, a native of Tzfat, grew up in Efrat, Israel. After finishing the Beit El Yeshiva High School, Noam learned at a pre-Army training program in the Jordan Valley and then served for three years as an IDF sergeant for an artillery scout unit along the Lebanese border. After the army, Noam served as an emissary for The Jewish Agency in Boston, Massachusetts and then traveled for a year in the Far East. Upon his return to Israel, Noam relocated to Sderot and pioneered the “Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev Ltd", which has spawned the Sderot Media Center. In this position, Noam is a photojournalist, lecturer and gives briefings to foreign government officials, embassies, foreign press and student groups from around the world.


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