The Story Behind the Story

News stories are — or at least are supposed to be — factual, straightforward descriptions of a recent event, and the primary mission of a newspaper and other media outlets is to tell its readers what happened.

Yet, in the process, all too often, readers — and often the reporters and editors — get so caught up with the details that they fail to realize the story behind the story. That is why it is so important to frequently stop and read between the lines and contemplate not only what occurred, but also what didn’t.

As readers of Hamodia are well aware, the past few weeks have been most eventful ones for residents of Eretz Yisrael. Regardless of how high one ranks the practical importance of the opening of the American Embassy in Yerushalayim or whether one agrees with the decision of President Trump to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, there is no doubt that in many ways, the ramifications — both in the short- and long-term — of these steps are substantial.

Along with the heartfelt gratitude felt by many towards the Trump administration for the president’s genuine gestures of friendship and fairness, there were — and continue to be — very legitimate concerns over how these developments would affect an already volatile security situation.

Independent of any steps being taken by the Americans, the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza had long planned massive protests to mark the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. While the dictatorship known as the Palestinian Authority continues to promote incitement and vile anti-Semitism, it also continues to have security cooperation with Israel, and as a result, the Palestinians living in areas under its jurisdiction enjoy the economic benefits of being able to work within Israel. In many cases, this alone serves as a convincing deterrent for local Palestinians not to commit acts of terror.

In contrast, the residents of Gaza, ruled by a vicious terror group whose primary goal is to murder the innocent, have nothing to lose. Unwilling, at least thus far, to rise up against Hamas, who are their true captors and the real cause of their plight, they instead willingly go along with Hamas’ fiendish plans.

For Hamas, it is also a matter of the survival of their reign of terror. Eleven years after they seized power, their popularity has decreased dramatically as it becomes increasingly evident that they are at fault for the rampant unemployment and pathetic living conditions in the territory they rule with an iron hand. Distracting the Palestinian populace by goading them into attacking Israelis is a favorite and highly successful tactic of Hamas.

Raised in a culture in which the lives of their own people are expendable and “martyrdom” while killing the innocent is the ultimate honor, the terrorists of Gaza — like ISIS and al-Qaida — are among the most dangerous creatures on earth.

Most of the news stories of the past two weeks focused on precisely what transpired at the Gaza border: The repeated attempts by the terrorists to breach the border, the response by the Israeli forces, the death toll among the terrorists, the international reaction, and how Hamas appears to have for now taken a step back, which has led to the IDF withdrawing much of its forces from the area.

Other stories focused on the dangerously escalating tensions in the Golan area, the missiles fired by Iranian forces at Israel and the Israeli aerial missions over Syria.

As important these news stories are, even more important is what lies behind them. It does not take much creativity or imagination to think how differently these events could have, R”l, concluded, and one does not have to be a security expert to recognize the miracles that occurred. It is incumbent on every government — and individual — to take steps in self-defense, and we must recognize and appreciate the valiant efforts of the soldiers who risk their lives to undertake the requisite hishtadlus at the border area. However, as every unbiased observer would invariably conclude, it is only the constant, infinite kindness of Hakadosh Baruch Hu that has protected His children.

Each time a handful of Gaza terrorists manage to cross the border fence and enter Israel — as they did on Tuesday near Kibbutz Kissufim — and no Jewish blood is spilled, it is an open miracle. How much more so when tens of thousands of terrorists try to storm the border and no Jews are hurt.

The miracles are not limited to border areas. On a regular basis, Arab rioters attack soldiers and civilians in areas near the Kosel and in other cities throughout Eretz Yisrael, and new plots for acts of terror are discovered and averted. The various details of the hishtadlus involved in these incidents notwithstanding, it is the protection by the Shomer Yisrael that is the ultimate source of our salvation.

In these days of tension and danger, we must focus both on a deep sense of gratitude to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for His Kindness, and a heartfelt tefillah that we should merit continued protection.