Hey everyone, today’s post is going to be a bit different than what you’ve come to expect from me and CNA Finance as a whole. However, I think that it’s something that really needs to be talked about at the very least. So, here goes nothing…
My Client/Friend Is In Danger
As a freelance writer, many of my freelancer/client relationships evolve into friendships. In this case, I’ve got a client living in Israel that over the past month or so has really started to become my friend. We talk just about every day via Skype and for the most part the conversations are get to know you conversations more than get this done conversations. Anyway, I was trying to chat with my buddy yesterday, but I wasn’t getting a response. So, I naturally asked…”Are you around?”.
After not getting a response for a while, I thought everything was fine. With the time difference, maybe he just called it an early night. Then I heard the Skype sound and read a message I would have never expected. Here’s how the beginning of the conversation went.
My friend – things are hectic in Israel now
My friend – chance for a war
Me – I’m sorry to hear that.
Me - It’s been getting worse over there, I’ve been watching the news…
Me - Is everything OK with you and your family
My friend - Yes.. thank you
My friend - Not sure if i get drafted or not
The conversation went on sporadically for quite a while when he had a moment to respond. Through our conversation, I learned that like many others, I was absolutely oblivious to what is actually going on. So, I asked my friend if we could do an interview and I could share with you the story from inside the danger zone. Although he personally couldn’t answer the questions for me, he had his friend (An American citizen by the way) answer them for me.
Before I publish the answers, it’s important that you know grammar and punctuation isn’t perfect. The person I had the pleasure of interviewing was both working his day job, and under fire at the time of the interview. So, I’m happy to excuse the errors. However, I don’t want to skew the overall picture, so I will not change anything in his answers…
My Interview With Avishai Is Coming Up Right After This Video
What started the conflict and when?
The majority will say that the conflict started since the independence of Israel in 1948, Hamas has declared that their sole mission is to demolish the state of Israel. The rocket fire by Hamas has reached the international news and media channels just a couple of years ago. Hamas has been around since 87′ and they have multiple times attacked us with suicide boobmers and shooting incidents. In June 2007 Hamas took by force complete control of Gaza strip and then the rocket fire really started becoming permanent problem affecting 3.5 million Israelis who have to live underground because of the terror. This week what started the conflict was the killing of 3 Israeli boys who were kidnapped and brutally murdered by Hamas militants.
Who is Hamas? Are they as strong as ISIS?
Hamas are one of the two main factions in Palestine, Fatah is the opposing party which is considered more moderate and they control the west bank. Hamas are known for using lethal force against their own people and they took Gaza by force. The organization is categorized by the United States, Europe and even by Egypt and Jordan as a Terrorist organization. The majority of their funding trails back to the Republic of Iran which supplies them with weapons and military training as well. If you compare them to ISIS I can tell you that without a doubt they are much more organized and stronger than ISIS, they are at least double in Military size personal and they have much more advanced weapons and units which include their underground military brigade that fights in tunnels and a navel commando unit. In the bottom line Hamas can teach ISIS a thing or two about organized terror.
How has the conflict affected your life?
It has affected mostly my work life, I work at imonomy an in-image advertising startup that works with international companies all over the world. Our office is in the middle of Ramat Gan and it’s challenging to work when sirens go on and off. In a moments notice we need to run to the safe room, I am constantly distracted by the thoughts of what might happen next. I do my best under the circumstances to keep focused and although the situation isn’t normal I am managing with a lot of effort to keep a normal lifestyle while staying alert at all times.
What are your fears about being drafted?(Question originally to my friend, an Israel citizen)
I am a advocacy volunteer so I an not in danger of being drafted, but my fiance who is a Military Hummer driver has already been called urgently to the front lines so I am afraid for her. Around 60% of Israels army are reserves and they are all in jeopardy of having to leave their families behind to go and stop the terror.
Do you live in fear of what may happen from day to day as a result of the terrorism?
Yes, Hamas is known for their specialization in blowing up buses and firing rockets at Israels civilian population, innocent people all around including me have to pray that we will manage to make it today from point A to point B.
Have you ever witnessed any displays of brutality as a result of the conflict?
When I was young I found myself 300 feet away from a suicide bomber, that was carried out by the The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades a group with similar ambitions to ones Hamas have.
As an Israeli, and US Citizen, what would you like to see the United States do to help your people?
No It’s not a US fight, I only want symbolic support and zero criticism because Israel is only defending itself, no nation would accept having an Al Qaeda equivalent in their back yard. Would you be willing to live under a constant threat of rockets? The US called all it’s allies to fight half way across world in Iraq and Afghanistan, we never call for help because Israel has always been and will always be alone in the fight against terror on it’s boarders. If I could request from the US government one thing it would be this: Stop Iran, there are talks going on that can lead to a much more worse outcome and that is a Nuclear Iran.
— I would be happy to supply images of our safe room — (I’ll share them with you when I receive them)
Avishai Sam Bitton is an American living in Israel, he is the VP of Marketing at imonomy and a Volunteering Manager in the IDC Herzliya situation room which runs the Israel Under Fire Facebook and Twitter accounts.