By Larry Levine –
These are somber times for most of us who are of Jewish heritage, whether we practice the religion or not. Israel is more than just a symbol to us. It is the embodiment of our deep and enduring recognition of the suffering that precedes us and the hope that some day our people might be free of the prejudice that surrounds us. Every missile that strikes Israel strikes at our hearts. Every terrorist who crawls through a tunnel to strike at a resident of Israel aims his gun at us.
Distance, both physical and in the events of our daily lives, separates us from Israel. But Israel and its people are part of our thoughts – sometimes conscious, sometimes not – in all our hours. We see the word – Israel – in print, or we hear it uttered as part of a news broadcast, and it strikes a note within us. Israel may be far away, but it is ever near.
We know in our very being that at any moment there might be a new attack on Israeli soil. But it is an abstraction as we face the trials and joys of our every day. Then the attack comes and we think instantly of all it means. The friends who live there are first – are they safe; will they remain safe?. How the American right holds no shame in supporting a former President who inspired mobs to march through the streets chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” How politicians of the former President’s party rally to support him while mouthing support for Israel in a naked attempt to win votes at the next election. How activists on the left look away from the fact that Palestinians voted to put Hamas in control of their government. How those same activist are so able to assign the role of victims to those Palestinians. How those so-called “progressives” are a bastardization of liberalism and progressivism.
I want to share with you something posted yesterday (October 9, 2023) on son John’s Facebook page by one of his long-time friends. They were classmates in school, and though that friend and his family now live in Israel, the closeness of that friendship has not weakened.
By Brent Altman –
Hello friends. I want to thank everyone for reaching out and checking in on me and my family. Physically, we are doing okay. Where we live is relatively safe. We have a bomb shelter in our house as do all Israeli houses and apartments built in the last couple of decades (take a second to think about what it means that we live in a place that has to do this). It is actually our son’s bedroom. Yes, our youngest son sleeps in a bomb shelter.
While we are physically okay, we are sickened and horrified by what has happened near the Gaza border. There was a big “nature concert” in the south with thousands of kids. Hamas timed their infiltration to align with this concert. They went straight there and proceeded to massacre the kids there. They killed 260, and kidnapped many others…we don’t know how many yet. Youngsters just out for a good time, to dance and drink and flirt.
At the same time, Hamas infiltrated over 20 towns near the border. They dressed as Israeli soldiers and went door to door trying to get into each house or pretending to be Israeli soldiers offering support. When someone opened their door, they were either killed or dragged into cars and kidnapped. This includes women, children and babies, and senior citizens.
The battles to retake some of these towns is still ongoing. Many hundreds of innocents have been killed. Over 130 have been kidnapped. The number isn’t clear yet. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have shot over 4400 rockets at Israeli cities. Only the remarkable Iron Dome anti-missile technology has prevented a huge disaster. Still, some rockets make it through. As I went to sleep last night, an eight-year-old boy was being rushed to the hospital. His apartment was hit by a rocket and his apartment was old so he didn’t have a built-in bomb shelter to go to.
Worse yet, in Gaza, we are seeing videos of kids – little kids – thrown into a circle of Gaza children who are encouraged to, and proceed to taunt, spit on, and kick them. Dead women with clothes half pulled off are dragged through the street while a circle of celebration grows and they proceed to stomp on the lifeless body. One terrorist killed a child’s parents in front of her, took the child’s phone and live-streamed from it going back and forth between the dead parents and the screaming, crying child.
A Hamas commander interviewed last night in the Arab media admitted that they have been planning this attack for years. He said they pretended to be interested in maintaining calm with Israel in exchange for funds and work permits, but it was all a ruse to lull Israel and the West into a state of lax calm. Sadly, it worked.
Right now, much of the West is horrified by what they are seeing. I am as well. I am also angry. More angry than I have ever been in my life. Crying, shaking, Furious.
The West has been unified in its condemnation, but we know how this story will unfold. We have seen it over and over again.
Israel was shocked and taken incomprehensibly unprepared. But we are gaining our footing, and will soon go on the offensive on a massive scale. Soon, the propaganda machine in Gaza will begin churning out stories of children killed. Never mind that Hamas stores missiles under hospitals and pre-schools, and command centers in mosques. The stories will be horrible. It started already – a story of 19 members of the same family killed in an Israeli strike.
The comments will begin to move toward Israel’s use of “disproportionate force”. Never mind that Israel warns people to leave areas where they will attack. Never mind that Israel drops an empty shell on a building as a warning before destroying it so people have time to leave (including terrorists). Calls for calm will build.
Israel always caves to these calls. We stop short of destroying Hamas, and they live to fight another day. To plan terror attacks, to kill innocents, and to seek the destruction of my country.
I tell you now…not this time.
NOT. THIS. TIME.
Let’s be clear. Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel. They have no interest in peace with us, only our destruction by any means. We will not give in to it this time.
We will fight. It will be brutal. It will be awful. There will be collateral damage. We will mourn it. But we have had enough.