When Toronto couple David and Karen flew to Israel 10 days ago they figured finally — after their daughter had to cancel her wedding plans twice during COVID — that they’d be three times lucky.
After all, as of May 13 56% of Israelis have been fully vaccinated, COVID cases are down to about 30 a day and almost 90% of the country is open, David says.
David, who spoke to me Friday morning from Jerusalem, said everyone is very nervous and can’t believe they got through COVID only to go through “this craziness.”
The missile fire “really started taking off” on Monday, he said, adding this past week the Hamas rockets have been hitting the entire Israeli coastline from Eilat and towards the middle of Israel.
Luckily, Jerusalem has been pretty peaceful so far, he added.
His daughter, Beca, who was originally supposed to get married last August, had to cancel her wedding twice because of lockdowns in Israel. She is now scheduled to wed on Wednesday, violence or no violence.
“Either way it’s going through,” said the Toronto health care professional, who didn’t want his last name used. “We’re not postponing this again.”
Some 2,000 missiles have been fired from Gaza during the past week, and on Thursday night more rockets were fired from Lebanon, he said.
David is as upset with the international media coverage — which he says have given a variety of reasons for the outbreak in violence, all of them untrue.
I would add that the anti-Zionist sentiments have ramped up, even here in Toronto.
Foodbenders owner Kimberley Hawkins, who is scheduled to appear in court this month to fight the possible loss of her city business licence after being charged under the Municipal Code for her inflammatory anti-Zionist Instagram and Twitter posts, has been posting Instagram messages non-stop including calls Friday for other businesses to boycott “apartheid” imports (her words, not mine).
David said the Hamas terrorist organization, which rules Gaza, doesn’t need a reason to strike and have been “preparing for this” for a while.
Even the rocks thrown from the Temple Mount were brought up “secretly” days before the skirmish, he contends.
“This was all planned out,” he claims, adding Hamas hasn’t been getting enough attention because of the peace deals and diplomatic relations enacted with the UAE, Soudan, Bahrain and Morocco under the Trump administration.
He said he “gets sick” reading what most of the international media have reported because he insists it’s a “bunch of lies.”
In fact, a Palestinian living in Israel, Bassem Eid, wrote in the Times of Israel on May 12 that this has nothing to do with a reported court battle over rent money for four houses in east Jerusalem — that the (Hamas) “fanatics” who rule Gaza “cannot resist the opportunity to stir up anti-Jewish violence for their own political gain.”
Israeli author and speaker Dr. Daniel Gordis, speaking from Israel Thursday night during a UJA Federation virtual protest attended by 8,000, said the peace deals between Israel and some Arab countries left Hamas “feeling irrelevant” and it was time for them to “prove this conflict is far from over.
“We find ourselves in a conflict which is agonizing,” he said, noting the missiles have been volleyed at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod and other cities, and there have been a “number of casualties.”
Meanwhile, David said now that he’s in Israel he realizes how depressing it has become with the prime minister, the lockdowns and the vaccine situation — made worse by the fact that 90% of Israel is open.
They were lucky with the blood test they took at the airport in Tel Aviv because even with only one vaccine in Canada, they had enough antibodies and were out of quarantine in two days.
“I’m enjoying this freedom while it lasts,” he said, noting for those who can’t attend Beca’s wedding they will livestream the proceedings.