This e-mail is going around in Hebrew. It is all true.
The soldiers in Gaza are switched out with other units in order to rest. This
story was told by one of these soldiers.
"I and my friends captured a number of Hamas terrorists. When they were
interrogated, we asked them, if you have so many tunnels that come into Israel,
and that are built 25 feet under the ground and reach to Beer Sheva, why until
now have you never used any of them for terrorist attacks? To kidnap or kill
And this is what he answered:
“For twelve years we have been building these tunnels and waiting for the right
moment, when we were trained and ready. We decided that the time would be this
year on Rosh Hashana, 2014. We chose Rosh Hashana because most of the soldiers
get leave to go home and there aren’t a lot on guard duty, and it’s a two day
holiday. All of Hamas would go through the tunnels we’ve built over twelve
years and capture Israel. In every tunnel we’d send two, three dozen armed
terrorists and kidnap civilians, women, children and bring them back to Gaza
through the tunnels. And then Israel couldn’t bomb the tunnels because of all
the Israeli civilians inside them. And in this way we would occupy the entire
country and rule Israel and kill all the Zionists. For years we were planning
this and it was going to happen in two months. Your attacks on Gaza destroyed
To Save Gaza, Destroy Hamas By AMOS YADLINJULY 25, 2014
TEL AVIV — AFTER nearly three weeks of fighting — notwithstanding the 12-hour pause announced early this morning by Israel — it is time to revisit some basic assumptions about Hamas. Until now, Israel assumed Hamas was the “devil we know,” capable of attacks that were mostly a nuisance; accepting its rule over the Gaza Strip was preferable to risking a vacuum of governance like what we see in Somalia and Libya. But Hamas’s reckless violence in the current round of fighting severely undermined this thinking.
Continue reading the main story Related in Opinion Palestinians.”
The latest round of warfare showed that Hamas had become more dangerous, and its offensive capacity stronger, than we had known. Its ability to threaten Israeli towns through its tunnels and to rain rockets on Israeli cities raised what had been a nuisance to a challenge of strategic proportions.
For these reasons, Hamas’s rule over Gaza must be brought to an end, its military wing disarmed, and Gaza’s people given the chance to elect new leaders.
This can be done in three stages:
First, Israel has every right to intensify its campaign until Hamas’s leaders agree to a cease-fire. Israel’s forces must step up the pressure on Hamas, so that its leaders feel the encirclement tightening. (So far, Israel’s incursion has destroyed more than two dozen offensive tunnels, reduced rocket fire at Israeli civilians and collected important intelligence.) Second, any cease-fire must carry the condition that Hamas cannot rearm. Third, the Palestinian Authority must regain a share of power in Gaza, so that new elections can be held.
These measures could clear the way for Gaza’s reopening to the world, so that its people could at last prosper in peace.
All of this can be achieved because of a fundamental change in Middle East politics: For perhaps the first time, there is a true convergence of interest among Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and Israel in limiting the spread of Islamist extremism.
Remember that it was the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, that governed Gaza following Israel’s complete withdrawal from the territory in 2005. After a divisive election a year later, Hamas seized sole power in Gaza in 2007. For an enduring peace, Israel should quietly promote a resumption of control in Gaza by the Palestinian unity government, with international support. If Israel succeeds in tying a cease-fire to an immutable ban on rearmament by Hamas, government by a unified leadership of technocrats— as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas agreed to on July 3 — should be encouraged for Gaza.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Such a government could, at minimum, govern the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, and provide basic rule of law. With continued support from Arab countries, this would allow for more economic growth in Gaza and for a gradual lifting of the Israeli-Egyptian blockades. It could even open the way for a long-term, post-conflict “Marshall Plan” for Gaza, led by moderate Arab states and supported by Israel.
Continue reading the main story Recent Comments Dean Yesterday As this crisis has continued, I've seen a gradual change in the thoughts of New York Times commentors from the initial knee-jerk response of...
m.anders Yesterday I think that General Yadlin's ideas for a way to achieve peace have merit. This is mainly true because they very much resemble the Easter...
Peter Schaeffer Yesterday The cease fire that existed before the current Gaza war lasted for a long time. It was Israel who used the murder of three teenagers as...
Before this round of fighting, Hamas had been weakened by two years of political and economic setbacks for its supporters in the Middle East. It had to leave its base in Syria because of the civil war there. Its Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt were ousted. Its popularity among Palestinians was declining. A June poll showed that 70 percent of Gazans wanted to continue the cease-fire with Israel then in effect; 57 percent wanted the newly established unity government with Fatah, the Palestinian party that governs the West Bank, to renounce violence against Israel; 65 percent said the Palestinian Authority should send officials to administer Gaza.
Opinions have no doubt changed, given the heat of battle and the anguish of Palestinians over the hundreds of civilian casualties. But Gazans know that Hamas is to blame for their staying in neighborhoods about to be bombarded, for hiding rocket depots in their children’s schoolyards, for digging tunnels under mosques. Gazans may hate Israelis, but I suspect that a similar poll, if taken today, would show even less support for Hamas than in June.
Israeli military officials know there is no simple solution — but that a political solution is always better than a military one. But to achieve that political solution, Israel must first arrive at cease-fire negotiations from a position of strength. For that, a significant price must be extracted from Hamas.
Amos Yadlin, the chief of Israeli military intelligence from 2006 to 2010, is director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 26, 2014, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: To Save Gaza, Destroy Hamas. Order Reprints|
The soldiers in Gaza are switched out with other units in order to rest. This story was told by one of these soldiers.
I and my friends captured a number of Hamas terrorists. When they were interrogated, we asked them, if you have so many tunnels that come into Israel 25 feet under the ground they reach Beer Sheva, why until now have you never used any of them for terrorist attacks? To kidnap or kill Israelis? And this is what he answered:
“For twelve years we have been building these tunnels and waiting for the right moment, when we were trained and ready. We decided that the time would be this year on Rosh Hashana, 2014. We chose Rosh Hashana because most of the soldiers get leave to go home and there aren’t a lot on guard duty, and it’s a two day holiday. All of Hamas would go through the tunnels we’ve built over twelve years and capture Israel. In every tunnel we’d send two, three dozen armed terrorists and kidnap civilians, women, children and bring them back to Gaza through the tunnels. And then Israel couldn’t bomb the tunnels because of all the Israeli civilians inside them. And in this way we would occupy the entire country and rule Israel and kill all the Zionists. For years we were planning this and it was going to happen in two months. Your attacks on Gaza destroyed our plans.”
The person who sent this to me added this:
“Many religious people asked after our three boys were found dead what happened to all our prayers? So you see, this is what happened. God heard us. And because of these three martyred boys, all of Israel was saved from a terrible massacre. All the things that we have seen this summer are one miracle after the next. Continue to pray and strengthen each other. And give thanks to God who watched over the Jewish people in the land He promised them.
A letter from a soldier in Gaza
Today our hearts are pounding in fear.
Who of us will die? And who will return safely?
We are your messengers in fighting.
We are fighting so you can live peacefully with your children.
So you can stay alive. We are your protection.
Will you be ours?
We are going to this dangerous mission knowing some of us
will not come back, but will rise to their next position
in a storm to heaven, as Eliyahu the Navi did.
We are going with devotion and dedication.
We are asking you to be our protection with your prayers.
Protect us by going above and beyond yourselves
through Ruchniyus and good deeds.
Pray for us.
Pray that you won't see another mother burying her son.
Pray that you won't see our wives as widows raise our children in tears.
Pray that our children will grow up knowing who their fathers are.
Pray that we will eliminate the terrorists who aim to destroy us,
and that we will not injure innocent women and children.
Please, we are begging you, as you are reading this,
don't just go on to the next thing you are doing.
Say a chapter of Tehillim.(Pslams)
Wake up Dovid HaMelech to ask Hashem(G-d) for full Geulah
and peace for the all world.
Take upon yourselves another good deed.
And please pass this on.
I'm certain that your prayer will make a difference.
Remember, we are in it together.
We are on the front lines carrying the weapons
and you are fighting along with us in your prayers.
Each word of your prayer gives us strength,
protection and success!!!!!!
Moral clarity in Gaza
By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, July 17, 2014
Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.
"Here's the difference between us," explains the Israeli prime minister. "We're using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."
Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d'etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.
Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.
And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.
The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel's desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.
This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.
And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.
Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Why? The rockets can't even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: "What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?"
It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday's Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.
This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.
To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world's treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.'s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel's legitimacy and right to self-defense.
In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity's worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.
It's to the Israelis' credit that amid all this madness they haven't lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.
For years now, Hamas has been building sophisticated underground terror tunnels beneath Israel. It has invested millions of dollars in rockets and war equipment. Why is no one asking why they--or the Palestinians themselves, for that matter-- have never built shelters to protect their women and children? The Israelis are safer than the Palestinians because they look after themselves, because Israeli leaders protect their citizens-both Arabs and Jews. Israel is at war to protect its civilians from enemy rockets--and, now, to rid itself of the treacherous terror tunnels.This is war, not social work. We don't want to kill Palestinians, we are devastated at the loss of innocent lives. It is the job of the Hamas and the PA to protect the people of Gaza by constructing shelters for its civilians, by stopping their attacks on Israel, and allowing Israel to exist. Palestinians: start demanding more of your leaders. It is they who should be protecting you!
An artist and a dear friend, Doni Simon, shared the note posted here, which was written by an Israeli artist, friend of hers. It is so poignant, so honest, so sad, so important, that I had to share it. Please find it below.
I feel like I weigh 500 pounds.
Everyone I know feels like they are walking through water.
And sad. We are all so very, very sad.
This is what I know right now, today:
The ugliness, the venom and sheer, violent hatred you are seeing in Paris, London, Berlin, LA, Boston, Denver…. this is just the beginning.
We Jews are the canaries in the coal mine for all of humanity. Today, they are throwing bricks at synagogues and smashing chairs and saying “Kill the Jews.”
Tomorrow it will be someone else.
Do the French really think these people will protect and safeguard the treasures of the Louvre?
Do Londoners really think these people will cherish the symbols of the British Empire?
Does anyone really think this is only about Israel and the disputed territories?
Today it is Israel, tomorrow it will be you.
Maybe that is why everyone gets so disproportionately annoyed about this conflict. Because everyone knows after us it gets real personal…
Seeing these violent protests, hearing the sickening screams for death we Israelis understand better than ever we must fight for every square inch and with all we have.
It matters not how much better our military is, how much more precise our targets can be.
It only matters that when the smoke clears Hamas is disarmed, destroyed, disabled and defeated. Forever.
Hamas. NOT the people of Gaza. I feel so very sorry for them. Sorry they were misguided and elected these lunatics. Sorry that in their desperation they allowed Hamas to fill the empty bedrooms next to their children’s room with rockets. Sorry that their leaders have mansions and swimming pools and are sitting in air conditioning in another city while they are sweating and wondering where the roof over their houses went. (If not their house itself.) Sorry that they have been brought up with no inkling of who Israelis are nor what compromise is.
Defeating Hamas will be a big problem for the power brokers because shame and honor are all that matter in this part of the world.
Honor in the Middle East does not come from whether your children are literate, how successful you are, how much money you make, how civilized your community is, nor how many paved roads you have, and whether or not you have garbage collection and recycling.
Here in this part of the world- for Hamas, honor comes from getting revenge.
For them revenge is everything.
For them revenge is the only thing.
Remember we left Gaza. There was no blockade. They were free to build a model democracy- the first successful shining, taste of the new, proud Palestine. But they didn’t want that kind of success…
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
We will not be fooled again.
We have nowhere else to go. And the rockets won’t stop.
The folks in Ashkelon cannot shower, have a bowel movement, get more milk or walk a dog without wondering if they are taking their lives in their own hands.
There is another Gaza underneath Gaza.
Hamas could have built hundred of schools, paved thousands of roads, build hundreds of kindergartens with the cement and iron they have used to build these underground bunkers and tunnels.
( and you wondered why Israel put a blockade on bringing building supplies into the Gaza strip?)
These tunnels to hell are filled with ammunition.
And no women or children, not a single elderly person is brought to safety there.
They want them on the street- on the roof, standing right behind- nice and close to the terrorist firing the rocket.
Hamas has refused to let journalists out of Gaza.
They need them to take pictures and record the carefully staged piles of bloody children and women. If the journalists leave they have lost the vehicle for distributing their bloody ad campaign.
Hamas asked for a cease-fire.
And they broke it.
They break every single one.
Israel is setting up a massive field hospital to treat our enemies. From 8 pm on tonight there will be a working maternity ward, an operating theater…a working hospital. For… our enemies.
We are going to lose more boys. Last night we lost 13. With each day we are going to lose more.
But everyone here now understands this is a fight to the death. It is them or us.
They cannot compromise and they don’t want peace or to share or to negotiate. They want revenge even if it means killing their own people.
So we have to go in there and do things none of us want to do, but we have to.
So this is why we are all so sad.
Israelis want peace so badly.
But we also desperately want to live. We love life and we are not about to let anyone, let alone a bunch of deranged thugs take it away from us.
So yes, this is a fight to the death for both sides.
Remember, if they win, you are next.
If we win those symbols of civilization that everyone takes so for granted will remain standing and everyone will criticize and complain about disproportionate responses and war crimes and all kinds of other irrelevant nonsense, but secretly I think everyone will be heaving s sigh of relief."
Batya Casper <firstname.lastname@example.org> 7:53 PM (0 minutes ago)
to Doni Doni,
Thanks so much for sharing this.Can I share it further? Can I post it on my blog page? It is so poignant, so sad, so honest and so important. I will wait for your response. Much love,
Bill Clinton: Hamas’ “Crass Strategy” is to Kill Palestinians by Paul | 07.17.14 10:13 am
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton laid the blame for Palestinian civilian casualties squarely on the heads of Hamas leaders, saying their policy was designed to kill Palestinians. Interviewed on India’s NDTV, Clinton was blunt in his assessment:
Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets into Israel. They fired one thousand and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them.
They (Israel) know when Hamas attacks them that Hamas has set up a situation which politically it can’t lose, because they (Israelis) can say ‘well if I attack them back they always hide behind civilians and I’ll kill civilians, and if I don’t we’ll look like fools letting somebody shoot a thousand rockets at us and not responding.’
In the short and medium term Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage by forcing (Israel) to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas. But it’s a crass strategy that takes all of our eyes off the real objective which is a peace that gets Israel security and recognition and a peace that gets the Palestinians their state.
Clinton is just the latest world leader to publicly support Israel and condemn Hamas, following statements by U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
[Photo: NDTV Screenshot]
By Jeffrey Goldberg Mahmoud Abbas, the sometimes moderate, often ineffectual leader of the Palestinian Authority, just asked his rivals in Hamas a question that other bewildered people are also asking: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”
The Gaza-based Hamas has recently fired more than 500 rockets at Israeli towns and cities. This has terrorized the citizenry, though caused few casualties, in large part because Israel is protected by the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.
In reaction to these indiscriminately fired missiles, Israel has bombarded targets across Gaza, killing roughly 100 people so far. Compared with violent death rates in other parts of the Middle East, the number is small. (More than 170,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war to date.) But it is large enough to suggest an answer to Abbas’s question: Hamas is trying to get Israel to kill as many Palestinians as possible.
Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.
The men who run Hamas, engineers and doctors and lawyers by training, are smart enough to understand that though they wish to bring about the annihilation of the Jewish state and to replace it with a Muslim Brotherhood state (Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood), they are in no position to do so. Hamas is a militarily weak group, mostly friendless, that is firing rockets at the civilians of a powerful neighboring state.
The Israeli military has the operational capability to level the entire Gaza Strip in a day, if it so chooses. It is constrained by international pressure, by its own morality and by the understanding that the deaths of innocent Palestinians are not in its best political interest. The men who run Hamas -- the ones hiding in bunkers deep underground, the ones who send other people’s children to their deaths as suicide bombers -- also understand that their current campaign will not bring the end of Israel’s legitimacy as a state.
I’ve been struck, over the last few days, by the world’s indifference to Gaza’s fate. Perhaps this conflict has been demoted to the status of a Middle East sideshow by the cataclysms in Iraq and Syria. Perhaps even the most accommodationist European governments know that Israel is within its right to hunt down the people trying to kill its citizens. Regardless of the cause, Israel seems under less pressure than usual to curb its campaign.
There is no doubt that Hamas could protect Palestinian lives by ceasing its current campaign to end Israeli lives. The decision is Hamas’s. As the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said yesterday, "We face the risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza, with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable -- and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing."
I understand that this latest round in the never-ending Israel-Gaza war was, in many ways, a mistake. Israel was uninterested in an all-out confrontation with Hamas at the moment, and Hamas, which is trying to manage a threat to its control of Gaza from -- believe it or not -- groups even more radical and nihilistic than it is, is particularly ill-prepared to confront Israel.
The politics of the moment are fascinating and dreadful, but what really interests me currently is a counterfactual: What if, nine years ago, when Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, the Palestinians had made a different choice. What if they chose to build the nucleus of a state, rather than a series of subterranean rocket factories?
This thought is prompted by something a pair of Iraqi Kurdish leaders once told me. Iraqi Kurdistan is today on the cusp of independence. Like the Palestinians, the Kurds deserve a state. Unlike most of the Palestinian leadership, the Kurds have played a long and clever game to bring them to freedom.
This is what Barham Salih, the former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told me years ago: “Compare us to other liberation movements around the world. We are very mature. We don’t engage in terror. We don’t condone extremist nationalist notions that can only burden our people. Please compare what we have achieved in the Kurdistan national-authority areas to the Palestinian national authority. … We have spent the last 10 years building a secular, democratic society, a civil society.” What, he asked, have the Palestinians built?
So too, Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, once told me this: “We had the opportunity to use terrorism against Baghdad. We chose not to.”
In 2005, the Palestinians of Gaza, free from their Israeli occupiers, could have taken a lesson from the Kurds -- and from David Ben-Gurion, the principal Israeli state-builder -- and created the necessary infrastructure for eventual freedom. Gaza is centrally located between two large economies, those of Israel and Egypt. Europe is just across the Mediterranean. Gaza could have easily attracted untold billions in economic aid.
The Israelis did not impose a blockade on Gaza right away. That came later, when it became clear that Palestinian groups were considering using their newly liberated territory as a launching pad for attacks. In the days after withdrawal, the Israelis encouraged Gaza’s development. A group of American Jewish donors paid $14 million for 3,000 greenhouses left behind by expelled Jewish settlers and donated them to the Palestinian Authority. The greenhouses were soon looted and destroyed, serving, until today, as a perfect metaphor for Gaza’s wasted opportunity.
If Gaza had, despite all the difficulties, despite all the handicaps imposed on it by Israel and Egypt, taken practical steps toward creating the nucleus of a state, I believe Israel would have soon moved to evacuate large sections of the West Bank as well. But what Hamas wants most is not a state in a part of Palestine. What it wants is the elimination of Israel. It will not achieve the latter, and it is actively thwarting the former.
To contact the writer of this article: Jeffrey Goldberg at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this article: Zara Kessler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Constant and Irritating Israel/Arab conflict. How does it impact men, women, and children living under the constant reality of war?
Are you confused, perhaps even frustrated, by the Israel/Arab conflict? By the accusations flying back and forth? Would you like to gain one woman's insight into what Israel is really like, what it stands for--as a nation and as a people--and why it is at constant loggerheads with its neighbors?
Read my novel, Israela. At the very least, you will become involved in a story of human beings--Arabs and Jews-- struggling to love, raise families, and live the "good life" under constant animosity and war. In addition, it will give you an insight into Israel's history, complex social structure, and national goals. It might leave you asking how you would behave, what you would demand of your government, if you lived in such a place, under such conditions. Please check out my website listed below.
Author Batya Casper.