Judy Halper
Left is not a dirty word

100 days came and went

Clock at Hostages Square counting the days since the abduction of Israelis to Gaza. Oren Rosen via Wikimedia commons
Clock at Hostages Square counting the days since the abduction of Israelis to Gaza. Oren Rosen via Wikimedia commons

When 100 days came, people all over the country stopped in their tracks, let sorrow wash over them for 100 minutes. They went to the “Hostage Square” to hold hands with others, sent up a harsh cry of one word: NOW! They walked into a tunnel and tried to imagine living inside, day and night, in near silence.

After 100 days, their leaders told them: “We’ll keep fighting till the end. There are hostage negotiations, sure, but we can’t tell you anything about them. Don’t expect too much. We are not really close to solving your problem.”


The 100 days came and went. It went by in the blink of an eye – so little time, the atrocities of Oct. 7 still too fresh to watch the recap on the special news reports. One hundred days was so long, we’d forgotten the shapes our lives before. For the hostages still in Gaza, it was 100 eternities. Their families shouted: “NOW! Time is running out.”

The government, after engaging in its favorite sport – sniping and tweeting – passed a budget. They even cut subsidies to the ultra-orthodox, most of whom are not serving either in the army or in reserve units. But not so much that the ultra-orthodox parties complained. They cut spending for education, basically for everything but the war – and themselves. The bloated government, itself, remains, after 100 days, a burden on the country.


That 100 days since the terrible events of Oct. 7, since the beginning of the war, came and went. Soldiers took up arms, went to fight over the border for weeks and months at a time. Some lost jobs, others their businesses.

Their government told them: “War is expensive. What can you do?”

Some of those soldiers lost their lives.


In 100 days, over 23,000 Palestinians lost their lives in Gaza. The Hague began proceedings to determine whether Israel was committing genocide.

It was not just our government who replied: “We don’t care.” “It’s not our fault.” “They want to die.” “They are all Hamas, anyway.” It was our allies in the US who pointed out that the numbers look bad. Crying for the innocent Palestinians who have been killed is basically illegal in Israel, 100 days into that killing.


Those 100 days came and went. Our government checks back regularly with those American allies to see how many days they have left to keep going with the war. Do we have another 100 days, or only 50? Will it be another 200 days? 300? What happens if, in that time we’ve taken over most of Gaza, the hostages are still not freed and the Hamas has still not surrendered? How many days until we can declare our objectives met and the war “over?”


After 100 days, the lives of many of us have returned to something approaching normal. We are encouraged to shop, to eat in restaurants, to try to oil the sprung springs of the economy. We tend our gardens, visit friends, send our children to school or receive our pensions, right on time, in our bank accounts. And yet, for thousands of us, “normal” has become a hotel room far from home.

The government raised some plans: gradual return to homes, temporary caravan homes set away from the border, thanking everyone for being strong. They have not, in 100 days, made it at all safe to return to Netivot, Ofakim or Nir Oz.


After 100 days, the families of the hostages shouted: NOW! Now means we might have to end the war, for the time being, and to turn our full efforts toward getting the hostages released.

For that to happen, our government would have to have some sort of plan for ending the war. Because, no matter whether we fight on for another 20 days, another 50 or another 365, in the end we’ll agree to a permanent ceasefire and demand the return of the hostages. If we don’t have a realistic plan in place, calling it quits will entail turning the reins back over to the surviving Hamas leadership and letting them and their rich Qatari uncles clean up the mess we’ve left.


In 100 and a few days, everything has changed…and nothing has changed. Our prime minister continues to act like a gambler on a losing streak who keeps thinking the next roll will be his big win. Our major general is fighting battles inside the cabinet instead of outside our borders, aware that all of his military wins will vaporize like rainwater on Gaza sands if no one manages to think about how we proceed from here.


100 days. NOW!

About the Author
Judy Halper is a member of a kibbutz in the center of the country. She has worked as a dairywoman, plumber and veggie cook, and as a science writer. Today she volunteers in Na'am Arab Women in the Center and works part time for Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom.
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