Michael Boyden

Don’t Let Smotrich and Ben Gvir Control Israel

Not unexpectedly, both Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Minister Itamar Ben Gvir have lost no time in voicing their criticism of President Biden’s initiative to try to bring the Gaza war to an end.

According to the IDF’s official website, the names of 644 of our soldiers who have been killed have been released to date. A further 3,662 have been injured, 568 of them seriously.

Such is the human cost of a war, whose declared objectives were to destroy Hamas and bring the hostages home. Many question whether either of those aims was realistic.

The cost to Israel has not only been in terms of the dead and injured, but is also reflected in the damage to our economy, the displacement of over 100,000 of our citizens, the loss of jobs and businesses and the absence of tourism.

Of no less severity is the unprecedented level of anti-Semitism around the world and the image of an ugly Israel that our enemies have been able to sell to a gullible and ignorant public many of whom have no idea what “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” really means, and would be hard put to name either of them.

Unfortunately, this war was already won by Hamas on October 7th, but there are some who are unprepared to let go.

Smotrich is reported as having said: “We demand that fighting continue until Hamas has been destroyed and the hostages returned.” Ben-Gvir added: “We shall not allow the war to be brought to an end until Hamas has been entirely wiped out.”

For the record, Smotrich served in the IDF for just 18 months and even then only in a desk job, while Ben-Gvir was not even conscripted because of his extremist political views.

Are these really the people we want deciding whether Israel will continue fighting a painful war whose human cost has been colossal?

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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