Judith Brown
Young enough not to quit and old enough to know better.

120 days and counting

How long are 120 days? They are the transition from fall to winter into spring. A college semester, an end of year inventory, a new calendar year in accounting, business, finance, and economics. So much happens and has happened in 120 days – four months. In four months, people gave birth to a child, buried a loved one, started a new job, bought a new car, bought a house, got married, and lives forged forward into a future that shaped each one of us into who we eventually become. 120 days can be a lifetime.

Hamas hostages have been captive for 120 days. Not a moment in time but an eternity for the hostages and their families. The normality of life ceased to exist four months ago when terrorists with only one objective in mind, to kill as many Jews as possible, caused the inconceivable since the Holocaust. When the murderous rampage was not deemed enough, they took men, women, and children hostage. We are left with images of pain and fear. One image that sticks in everyone’s mind is the anguish of Shiri Bibas holding two lovely orange heads tight to her bosom as monsters encircled her tauntingly and grabbed those precious lives out of her arms. The agony in the eyes of that mother has remained fixed in our minds forever.

In 120 days, we have watched the slow determination of Israel to stay alive as the world around it is bent on destroying it. We listened to the initial horror as images taken by the murderers for posterity and pride circulated the world. But that was short lived because the murderers had already started an insidious public relations circus blaming Israel for the massacre as the protagonist that instigated the “retaliation” to years of “occupation” against Palestinians. Sane people might have scoffed at such a ridiculous accusation but the proverbial “switch” to approved antisemitism, Jew hatred, and Israel bashing had been turned on and the world looked the other way.

The gradual support turned to patronizing reprimand by alleged allies like the US and the EU leaving Israel to realize that this time around friends seem to be scarce and far between. It’s difficult to support the underdog when in an election year. The US presidential elections and the EU parliamentary elections have tweaked any strong verbal public Israel support into a hardly audible whisper. Even Germany who came out as the strongest supporter of Israel making antisemitism illegal has been rather quiet as it immersed into a wave after wave of protests against EU mandates on farming, and against the right wing AfD party which is gaining seats. These were intertwined with train strikes and doctors’ strikes. Politicians caught in internal turmoil have little time to think about Israel while trying to politically survive within their own parties and their countries.

In 120 days, the UN has further aligned itself with the terrorists rather than the victims. Nobody was exactly surprised to hear that UNRWA was not only a terrorist sympathizer but some of its members allegedly took part in the October 7 massacre. This should not have been a news flash. UNRWA never hid its disdain for Israel. The UN has not only become irrelevant, but a political obscenity disguised as a world organization with purpose. When a corrupt country like South Africa brings a charge of genocide against Israel with little challenge from the ICJ, another kangaroo court (sorry kangaroos), then perhaps we should be considering moving the UN from NYC to Teheran, Lebanon, Gaza, or South Africa, where I presume the organization would feel more “at home”. In the meantime, in 120 days, the UN has yet to either mention or hold Hamas accountable of murder, kidnapping, or any terrorist activities. On the contrary, the UN considered these acts retaliatory for the “occupation” of Gaza, although Gaza has been in Palestinian hands since 2005. Who cares about the truth when lies and fabrications work just as well?

In January 1948, Gold Meir went on her historic trip to Chicago to put Israel’s case before the American Jewish diaspora, asking for monetary assistance and support for the survival of Israel. Her passion and intellect put aside, she dug deep into the Jewish psyche fresh from the Holocaust and the murder of 6,000,000 Jews. The newly formed Israeli state was facing annihilation from the surrounding united Arab states. Golda clearly saw what was at stake and went for the jugular. Her son Menachem, who accompanied his mother on the trip, described Golda’s demeanor as optimistic but without any “illusions” or despair, just the raw facts.  6,000,000 Jews had disappeared from the diaspora, but the 700,000 Jews in Israel should not survive because 6,000,000 had been killed, but in spite of them. The 700,000 Jews were the dream of a Jewish people in a Jewish homeland. Israel had to prevail not just for the Jews in Israel, but for all the Jews in the world. The spirit of the Israeli Jews fighting the Arab nations had to be preserved and supported for the sake of the diaspora. We need a little “Golda” right now!

Why after 120 days there is still no light at the end of the horrific tunnel? Taylor Swift has better coverage than Yarden, Shiri, Ariel, and baby Kfir Bibas. An entire family abducted and never seen again. Young Kfir spent his first birthday in captivity. In the darkness of evil, we presume that we will eventually see them, hold them, hug them, and kiss them again. We must keep their faces alive, or they will disappear from the back page to obscurity. Who speaks for those in captivity?

How many more birthdays, anniversaries, and family gatherings are to be missed before they are brought home? As time passes on, their faces fade into a collage of hope and pain for the families and the country. Even social media has slowly ebbed into a state of “normal” nonsense rather than the captives. Occasionally a glimmer of a face appears posted by a family member, friend, or community in an attempt to keep the person behind the face alive. The “likes” the “hearts” and the “comments” are slowly disappearing in quiet desperation and lost hope. It is difficult to keep hope and faith in a situation that seems to have been put aside like yesterday’s breakfast.

The excuse of “peace” at the expense of Israel’s security has been the mantra of poor leadership and inability to deal with evil. Chamberlain had the same illusion in 1938, how did that work out? His inanity and self-righteousness caused the death of 6,000,000 Jews, and several million Roma, homosexuals, elderly, handicapped, and anyone deemed “deplorable”, not to mention the millions of civilians who died in the bombings. It is easy to travel by private jet to discuss peace while sitting comfortably in an overstuffed chair then living the possibility of annihilation. Everyone can talk the talk if it doesn’t affect them. Such political irrelevancy is not only offensive, but also a permissive tool toward escalation in terrorism and death.

How many more days must the hostages endure before the civilized world demands their unconditional release without appeasement? Why was it so easy for the terrorists to manipulate the UN, and western leadership into believing that if Israel ceases to protect its citizens that somehow terrorism will cease to exist? Has the world become dumber or the terrorists smarter?  Has western civilization lost its moral compass in lieu of partisanship and political power? Why aren’t there more leaders like Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, or Ronald Reagan who were unafraid to identify evil? Why are 100 plus hostages that include families irrelevant in the ethical, moral, tolerant, and diverse fiber of this generation of politicians and world leadership? Is it possible that Jewish lives do not matter as much?

After her Chicago 1948 speech, Golda’s son remembers the impact his mother had on that audience of American Jews and non-Jews alike. Her plea was not for the sake of the Jews in Israel, but for the sake of Jews worldwide. She wanted to wake up the apathy that befell on the diaspora after the Holocaust. She wanted to light a fire of activism among the Jews in America and the rest of the world. She brought home the realization that annihilation of Jews was not in the past, it could happen again if the diaspora doesn’t unite.

Israel and those supporting her must start another fire in the belly of the Jewish diaspora who seem to have grown distant from the struggles of Israel and their homeland. They must realize that the survival of Israel is the survival of the Jewish nation whether in Israel or the diaspora. The survival of Israel is their survival.

“…she witnessed a resurgence of American Jewish activism, a renewed unstoppable unfaltering dedication…”

Menachem Meir 1983. My Mother Golda Meir

About the Author
Judith was born in Malta but is also a naturalized American. Former military wife (23 years), married, and currently retired from the financial world as Bank Manager. Spent the last 48 years associated or working for the US forces overseas. Judith has a blog on www.judith60dotcom Judith speaks several languages and is currently learning Hebrew.