By Arlene Bridges Samuels, CBN Israel—
For generations, toy balloons have been a source of fun and joy. That was certainly true in Israel—until Hamas turned these instruments of amusement into implements of terror.
Beginning in 2018, Hamas terrorists in Gaza began tying explosives to balloon bouquets, hoping the winds would blow them toward Israel’s civilians in nearby kibbutzim. Those winds also began carrying balloons to nearby fields—burning thousands of acres of thriving crops that provided food, fruits, and flowers—thereby destroying farmers’ livelihoods.
In the most recent balloon arsons that occurred this past week, three acres of lemon trees burned down in one location, as did an acre of clementine trees. Along with wheat fields and tangerine orchards, a total of 30 acres went up in smoke on this occasion alone. Ashes replaced vegetables, charred land replaced green leaves, and blackened fields replaced fertile soils.
Who but terrorists could concoct such an idea?
These deadly balloon bouquets—marking the first conflict since Hamas initiated the war that ended just last month—are being met with a clear policy response from the IDF: air strikes. Newly elected Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has declared repeatedly over the years that incendiary balloons would be considered on the same threat level as rockets and therefore would require the same swift response. The most recent balloon Intifada (uprising) set 26 fires in southern Israel—all aimed at civilians.
Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, Executive Director of Operation Lifeshield, observes, “While Palestinians have been enthusiastic to burn and destroy this land they claim to own, Israelis are determined to protect and defend our beloved homeland by whatever means necessary.” Operation Lifeshield is an emergency campaign dedicated to saving innocent lives in Israel by providing portable bomb shelters. Since its founding, the organization has provided hundreds of bomb shelters, fire trailers, and ATVs with international assistance—from individuals, churches, CBN Israel, and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.
Although arson generates economic damage and frustration, undeterred Israelis begin replanting once again. Nevertheless, the longterm mental and emotional toll on residents is considerable—and undeniable. Continue Reading….