Israel has a distinct rainy season in the winter and is dry, with hardly a chance of rain in the spring and summer. Because of the agrarian nature of the Land of Israel Biblically and the centrality of agriculture in reviving the Land in modern times since with the restoration of Jewish sovereignty, where agriculture has played a significant and prophetic role, rain in the rainy season matters. Even with Israel leading the world in the desalination of seawater and recycling wastewater, rain is considered a blessing from God for the crops and to fill the lakes and aquifers.
This week, it’s supposed to be rainy in much of Israel, even with flooding. We thank God in our daily prayers for the rain in its season and pray that it will be a blessing, not a curse, meaning that people should not lose their lives due to flooding, slick roads, etc.
Ironically, the beginning of the rainy season, according to the Biblical calendar, coincided with the day of the horrific massacre of some 1200 people, the injuring of thousands, and the kidnapping of some 250 people by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Since then, it’s been a blessing in a way, NOT having rain. Until this week.
Rain and cold make combat much more challenging for infantry combat soldiers, my son being one of them. The “best” is being outside and getting drenched while in combat, not having a place to dry off, dry one’s clothes, or escape the cold at night. I don’t know what my son is doing at this moment, but as huge claps of thunder and lightning accompany the rain as I write, I am mindful that it’s making his job, and that of thousands of Israeli troops, that much harder.
At the same time as I heard the thunder, my Red Alert app blew up (pun intended) with notification of barrages of rockets being fired from Gaza (yes, they still have and fire rockets at Israeli cities daily) and from Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. Not that they need an excuse, but the Iron Dome is sometimes less effective in bad weather, so they’re trying to beat the system.
In war, weather matters.
Speaking of flooding, there are reports that the IDF is considering using Mediterranean seawater to flood the hundreds of miles of Hamas’ vast network of terrorist tunnels. It’s clever risky, but not new. By flooding the tunnels, the terrorist leaders hiding in them like rats in the sewer will be flooded out or drowned. If they run for cover, they will become easier targets. Either way, a win-win.
However, if hostages are being held in these tunnels and underground bunkers, it risks killing them as well. No doubt, based on what we know from the horrors related to hostages who have been released, the Islamic terrorists will make their deaths as painful as possible. How many of the hostages are still alive is anyone’s guess, but it’s a risk all the same.
Because Gaza is rich in sandy soil, it is porous, and water will flood beyond the tunnels. Doing so might very well cause environmental damage to the soil, to the drinking water, and to the foundation of apartment buildings, schools, mosques, hospitals, and more, whose structural integrity is weak anyway and made all the more so by the very tunnels under their foundation, and which risk bringing them crumbling down.
It's outrageous but not surprising that Israel has already born international condemnation just for the idea of flooding the tunnels. Imagine the outcry if Israel actually does it. However, anyone complaining about Israel today needs to pause to consider their own toxic lack of credibility.
Did any of them complain for a moment about Hamas’ damaging the environment by building their network of hundreds of miles of terror tunnels to begin with? Or for compromising civilian structures by building these tunnels underneath them and making their inhabitants human shields? Did anyone complain that when Hamas was building its tunnels, they did so at the expense of proper sewage, making Gaza a teeming environmental and health disaster? Did any of the people who rush to criticize Israel now utter a peep in 2015 when Egypt did exactly the same thing, flooding thousands of terror tunnels under their border with Gaza to preserve their national integrity and stop the smuggling of arms and other contraband? Not a peep then, and it should stay that way now.
One more thing related to the environment for those actually concerned and not just using it for another round of antisemitic blaming Israel for everything. Gaza is littered with rubble. Hundreds of thousands of tons or more of concrete that used to be buildings. Videos of Israel destroying one that’s a strategic threat and legitimate target right next to another that remains standing are astounding in their precision. One day, when the war ends and Hamas is destroyed, Gaza will need to be rebuilt. To do so, the rubble will need to be cleared.
My plan is that it be loaded on barges and dumped into Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to build an island that can be used for new housing, business, and more, adding waterfront space and opportunities for prosperity: literally building a new Gaza on the rubble of the old Gaza. It's inspiring, as long as it’s a new Gaza with no Hamas or any other threats to Israel.
And even if flooded, one day, with the rats out, there may be some terror tunnels left intact. These should be made open to the public, like an experience in a terrorist Disneyland, evidence of the past under the very feet of two million Gazans in a rebuilt, peaceful Gaza. Like the Germans after the Holocaust, Gazans need to confront this reality and come to terms with it, repent from it, and acknowledge that they were complicit. The remaining tunnels could become a tourist attraction to bring people to see the evil of their past, just like in Germany and Poland, with former death camps becoming pilgrimage sites. Like the Ground Zero memorial, it should be a message for all about the evils of Islamic terror. For Gazans to reform themselves and for the world to never accept or become complacent with it. Ever.
Using the rubble of Gaza as a foundation to build a new Gaza and open the tunnels to people to help them see how breaking their past is critical as the foundation for their future. Without this, there will be more rubble and many more cold nights for Gazans.
Photo Courtesy: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Noppharat05081977
The beliefs expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes regularly for a variety of prominent Christian and conservative websites and is the host of Inspiration from Zion, a popular webinar series and podcast. He can be reached at [email protected]