Adam Frank

Aiding Is Abetting — I’m Talking to You

On October 7, Hamas massacred innocent Israeli civilians and foreign nationals in a display of joyful evil and obscenity. Since that day, Israel’s forces have worked towards accomplishing two legitimate and reasonable goals: 1. the return of all the captives held by Hamas, and, 2. the disabling of Hamas to further terrorize Israel’s citizens. Due to Hamas’ formidable army, neither of Israel’s goals have been achieved, yet. Still, widespread international pressure would have Israel end its operations in Gaza, and permit Hamas to continue to torture the more that 130 hostages and their families, as well as allow Hamas to maintain its capability to terrorize Israeli lives. No other sovereign nation would be expected to abandon its citizens, nor be forced to allow a clear and present danger on its border – Israel has a moral imperative to protect its citizens and it will do so. What the international community must realize is its own culpability for Hamas’ continued success.

No pressure is being put on Hamas to end this war. Where are the leaders of the Arab world, the leaders of the Islamic world, the united leaders of Western countries, leaders of human rights organizations and the United Nations collectively raising their voices and demanding, pressuring, twisting arms for the release of our Israel’s captives? The world’s silence over the matter of the return of the captives is deafening, as is the world’s vocal opposition to Israel’s attempt to eliminate the evil on its borders. With the exception of President Biden, who has been Israel’s greatest supporter in its struggle to secure the lives of its citizens, the nations of the world clearly communicate that the captives are “Israel’s problem.”

Why would Hamas release Israel’s captives if there is no pressure to do so? The opposite is happening – the international community is putting pressure on Israel to stop trying to get the captives returned.

Given that there has been over three months of physical and psychological torture of 130 captives and the world remains silent;

Given that IDF soldiers are being killed and injured at higher rates because the army’s tactics used against Hamas take into account the concern for harm to the captives;

Given that there is no use of military force that can bring back the captives;

Given that a mother of a captive went on the world stage and asked “If your child was held by Hamas in Gaza – can you respond that you are doing everything in your power to bring him home?” is an impetus for doing all that is possible to bring the captives home;

Given the fact that anyone who would have a family member held by Hamas would use any means necessary to free them;

Given that no one of decency could look a captive in the eye and be able to justify continuing to allow aid to Gaza following 3 months of excruciating captivity;

Given that if there were a crystal ball that could tell that withholding aid to Gaza would be the tool that would free the captives– the world would still be opposed to withholding aid to Gaza;

Given that there is no effort among nations and world leaders to put pressure on Hamas to release the captives;

Given that Hamas is the government responsible for the welfare of Gazans who need fuel, electricity, food, water, medicine – and in the meantime Hamas is torturing 130 captives from Israel – is it wrong for Israel to impose a siege on Gaza until the captives are released?

Given that the State of Israel exists to protect Jews against their enemies, is it wrong for Israel to put all the pressure it can on its enemies to bring its captives home?

The captives are a collective punishment against the State of Israel, against the entire Jewish People; is it wrong to impose a punishment on Israel’s enemies – a punishment that would end whenever the enemy chooses?

Yes, Israel would be under tremendous pressure to allow aid into Gaza, but it would also exert the first real measure of international pressure on Hamas to release the captives.  The moment Hamas lets the captives go free, aid flows into Gaza.

Israel’s enemies use every tool possible to harm her. Why shouldn’t Israel use every tool possible to protect its citizens?

If you believe it would be wrong for Israel to withhold aid to Gaza:
a. You do not have a family member being held and tortured by Hamas.
b. It’s been nearly 100 days — what is a better plan to get the captives released more quickly?

About the Author
Adam Frank lives in Israel with his wife and 3 children. He served 13 years as rabbi of the Conservative Movement's Congregation Moreshet Yisrael in downtown Jerusalem. Since stepping down from the pulpit in 2019, he is engaged in activism in the areas animal welfare and of religious pluralism in Israel.