Tali Gottlieb
(not the MK)

102 Days Later

How does a nation grapple with its shattered sense of security and altered global standing in the wake of the October 7th massacre, and what does this mean for the fabric of its society and the world at large?

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It’s been just over 100 days since the world we lived in, the world we felt safe in, simply ceased to exist. It’s unfathomable how much can change so quickly. How far-reaching the ripples of a few hours proved to be.

102 days ago, in the space of under 10 hours, Hamas succeeded in tearing the world we knew to shreds.

On October 7th, Hamas militants, alongside a horde of Palestinian civilians — an aspect conspicuously overlooked in the narrative of Western media, yet glaringly obvious in video evidence — stormed the Gaza Envelope in a shocking breach. The attack unfolded with a kind of medieval brutality, shockingly ignored or even outright denied by many self-proclaimed “liberals” in the West, despite the overwhelming evidence. The horrifying wave of violence left a devastating toll: 1,200 dead, over 300 kidnapped, and thousands injured.

Events continued to unfold with dizzying speed. Hezbollah was firing mortars and rockets in solidarity with Hamas from the northern border. Israel found itself calling up some 360,000 reservists, essentially grinding its economy to a halt. Simultaneously, an unprecedented crisis of internal displacement emerged, with approximately 250,000 Israelis from northern and southern communities uprooted and still unable to return — a staggering fact that, too, seems to continuously slip past mainstream media’s attention.

And, just like that, the entire Mideast teetered on the brink of instability. The imminent risk of these hostilities escalating into a full-scale regional, perhaps even global, conflict became starkly apparent with the nearly instant arrival of US aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines in our waters. This deployment, a clear attempt to prevent further escalation on the northern front, underscored the precariousness of not only local and regional stability but also global equilibrium.

And it wasn’t just geopolitical stability that was shattered on October 7th.

Also shattered was the global reverence of Israeli’s mythical intelligence capacity, with the success of the massacre forming a chink in the armor of our international stature, emboldening our enemies. Alongside it, the deep-seated and much-needed unshakable trust Israelis held in the IDF’s constant readiness to repel any assault with decisive, overwhelming force was left in tattered ruins. As for Bibi’s image as ‘the only one who can keep us safe,’ for many, it was left as nothing more than the bitter aftertaste of a rotten joke.

The October 7 massacre seared a stark scar on our national conscience, it altered the rhythm of our collective heartbeat. The scenes kept flooding in. On WhatsApp, Telegram, and news channels across the world. Having grown up in New York, the sensations of trying to process a tragedy of unimaginable scope and scale bore a grim resemblance to the numbness, shock, and horror that enveloped New York on 9/11. Yet, this was a narrative with a distinct color, where every phone was a camera, every channel a witness to the torrent of last cries, desperate pleas, the heart-wrenching calls of children to parents for an impossible rescue.

But surely now the mask had been torn off, and the Western world could unite against this unprecedented, unadulterated, and unabashed show of evil – right?

As it turned out, the next thing to break over the last 100 days were the very last vestiges of sanity from global discourse. On the same streets where, as a young girl, I stood transfixed before the television, watching in horror as my fellow New Yorkers fled from the billowing dust and debris of the collapsing World Trade Center, I now witnessed scenes once unimaginable. I had expected to see a massive reaction. And, sure enough, that’s what happened. They showed up, taking to the streets, in their hundreds of thousands, week after week, in New York, DC, and throughout Western Europe – siding with terrorists.

They turned Hamas’s murderous paragliders into a logo of victory. They didn’t just wave Palestinian flags, but the flags of Hamas and ISIS. Pictures started emerging of swastikas and signs reading “Hitler was right.” They were cheering and chanting for the Houthis, an internationally recognized terrorist organization whose slogan is literally “Death to America, Death to Israel, A Curse Upon the Jews.” Call me naïve, but it honestly caught me off-guard.

Young Americans have been raised in a world of digital echo chambers so convincing that they obscure the simple, physical realities in front of them. They have been robbed of the opportunity to develop the critical thinking tools necessary to understand the world through any lens other than “good vs evil” or “oppressor vs oppressed”. One rule has become so pervasive that it overrides any other argument: the weak must always be the just.

Even the basic belief that people could collectively agree on the evils of raping women and girls until their pelvises broke, driving nails into their thighs, cutting off their breasts, and shooting them in the genitals, vaporized the moment it no longer supported the narrative in which the powerful can only ever be evil. In a choice between breaking the taboo of blaming the victim or recognizing the victimhood of an already designated “oppressor,” the leading international organizations for women’s rights and protection unanimously chose to blame the victim.

In less than 15 years, the united front against the threats of radical Islam and the imposition of Sharia law, particularly in NY, a city so horrifically scarred by its violence, seems to have dissipated. The vivid memories that once unified the Western world have begun to fade, eclipsed by this bewildering shift in attitudes and perceptions.

The massacre of October 7th didn’t just change our daily lives, it didn’t just serve as a tipping point into potential global chaos, it acted as the catalyst that tore back the curtain and showed us just how far the great Western culture has fallen. Israel’s war with Hamas may just have begun then, but we are suddenly waking up to the vast destruction of the war of the “woke” upon the culture and basic tenets of humanity and decency that we used to actually take pride in.

As I sat watching the Hague proceedings last week, in which the world was taken on a tour through the looking glass into a world so distorted that Lewis Carroll himself couldn’t have written the scene, I found myself wondering what comes next. Western society is literally collapsing under the intense weight of its heavy virtue signaling. The overcorrection is likely coming, and it too will undoubtedly be brutal.

But, for many Jews around the world, another, darker theme began to emerge. It became suddenly clear that centuries of antisemitism, which have continuously evolved while remaining deeply insidious, have profoundly infiltrated the Western subconscious. We previously believed this latest manifestation was merely ‘anti-Zionism.’ However, the indifference to (what should have been) the disturbing images and videos of women, children, babies, and the elderly being massacred in their homes – on undisputed land, no less – compels us to confront a more sinister reality. The relentless tide of hate and a history of atrocities against the Jewish people have ingrained an expectation of their persecution. In essence, Jews have tangibly been dehumanized by the relentless nature of the hate thrown their way in every generation.

People keep reaching out, asking “how we’re doing.” Honestly, it’s been a rough 100 days.

For so many of us here in Israel, our lives are suddenly unrecognizable. For 102 days, 132 hostages have been psychologically tortured, raped, starved, deprived of crucial medication, and physically beaten. For 102 days, their families face each morning with the despair of not knowing whether the ones they love most are alive or dead. For 102 days, people whose homes and communities were turned into museums of death and destruction have been living in hotels, relying on the kindness of strangers for laundry. For 102 days, strangers have continued to show up, constantly looking for (and finding) new ways to continue being kind. For 102 days, mothers like me have faced each dawn alone, war-torn, juggling the daunting task of parenting in crisis, ever-ready to rush our children to the safety of bomb shelters at a moment’s notice and praying that the husband who is still in reserve duty is ok, wherever he is.

The war we’re engaged in has many fronts. It’s not just the rockets and mortars from hostile neighbors; it’s also a war against the insidious erosion of truth, against the twisted narratives that seek to paint us as the aggressors in our own struggle for survival. It’s a war against the apathy and twisted logic that pervades the international discourse, where the victim is blamed, and the aggressor is excused under the guise of political correctness.

As I sit here, reflecting on these 100 days that feel like years, I’m struck by the resilience that’s become our second nature. The October 7th massacre didn’t just change the course of our lives; it ripped away any illusions we had about the world we live in. It’s been a harsh awakening, but in this newfound clarity, there’s a strange kind of strength.

We mourn the lost, we rage against the injustice, but above all, we stand together, more united than ever. In the face of overwhelming odds, our spirit hasn’t just endured; it’s grown stronger. We’ve been reminded in the most brutal way possible that Golda Meir had it right all those years ago when she explained that our secret weapon is simply that “we have nowhere else to go.”

About the Author
Tali has devoted her career to amplifying Israel's narrative and enhancing its global presence. Serving as Deputy Director of VIP Relations at the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, COO at Volcani International Partnerships, and now Chief of Staff at ALTRUICITY, she consistently focuses on promoting the positive impact and value of the Jewish nation, both within Israel and internationally.
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