Talya Woolf

Dichotomies of war

Headline on Times of Israel: PM: Anyone who thinks we’ll stop war is unmoored from reality; Hamas can surrender or die

So I guess we’re thinking of a cease fire again. To what end? Likely to allow Hamas to reorganize. Never mind a surrender – that might just be too extreme.

For the first time since October 7, I don’t know what’s going on. I am at work, focusing on things other than the war. Not totally, of course. I know exactly how many soldiers we’ve lost (134). I know how many hostages have yet to be returned (129, including Noa Argamani who was allegedly taken by a band of friendly, innocent Gazans). I know that my friend (whose husband was injured by the RPG) hasn’t seen or heard from him in over two weeks while they clean up southern Gaza.

Anyone who isn’t in a tank hasn’t spoken to their spouse recently. Phones are not allowed right now. You know a loved one is still alive if you haven’t received word otherwise.

It’s very dichotomous. Here in the center, or at least in the Netanya bubble, it’s relatively quiet. In the south, it’s quite active.

So you read the news in Hebrew, in English. And by Gd, you think you’ve heard it all. But there are elevators to some of the tunnels (beneath Palestine Square). Elevators.

Infographic on the most recently discovered tunnels – supplied by the IDF.

“The tunnel featured an elevator that goes some 20 meters (65.6 feet) underground, and then a long staircase heading another 20 meters down, before branching off to other areas. According to the major, the tunnel network has multiple levels and various facilities used by senior Hamas members.

“Asked by The Times of Israel if the tunnel shaft with an elevator was surprising, the major said his unit had already found several tunnels with elevators, but ‘there were other elements that surprised us inside the tunnel route’” (ibid, emphasis added).

There is such an extensive hive of tunnels beneath Gaza – both northern and southern – that it is mind-boggling. That Hamas could use such a staggering amount of money (with the leaders remaining so ridiculously wealthy), year after year after year after year, to construct this underground metropolis, and not take advantage of the fact that Gaza could be a veritable paradise – for everyone – with money left to spare.

But that’s the point. It is a money-making cycle. Everyone on earth gives money to Gaza, it ‘vanishes,’ and they ask for more. No one asks. No one checks the books. No one cares.

From 2014 to 2020, U.N. agencies spent nearly $4.5 billion in Gaza, including $600 million in 2020 alone. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, aid to Palestinians totaled over $40 billion between 1994 and 2020.

That’s $40 billion. With a ‘b.’

And let’s not be naïve. If there are terror tunnels under Gaza, there are tunnels in the north and elsewhere which will have to be addressed. Not to mention Hezbollah and the Houthis.

We have to look in so many directions.

For now, I guess we’ll look southward, eliminate all the threats (all of them), and hopefully find more hostages alive. Each day, Israelis wish each other b’sorot tovot; I’ll wish the same to our soldiers and to you.

B’sorot tovot – good tidings.

About the Author
Talya Woolf is an eight-year Olah with four spirited children and a fantastic husband. She is a writer, American-licensed attorney, handgun instructor, amateur photographer, and artist. She is politically confusing, Modern Orthodox (though she doesn't dress the part), and ardent Zionist (ZFB). She enjoys spending time with family, friends, running, photography, and reading about highly contagious diseases and WWII.