Michael Boyden

End this War

Every day we hear on the news how many days Israel has been at war. We are told of the IDF’s achievements and the terrorists who have been “neutralized”, but most people recognize, as many of us said long ago, that the two objectives of this war cannot be realized. Hamas will not be eliminated and unfortunately many of the hostages cannot be brought home alive. Indeed, we have already heard that between a quarter and a third of those taken captive are dead.

Of course, one can sympathize with and understand why Israel went to war, but five months later the time has come to take account and reassess what is realistically possible.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza can only deepen and the world holds Israel responsible. Even President Biden, who supported us from the very outset and even travelled to Israel on a special solidarity mission at the beginning of the war, no longer agrees with the way things are being run. It may be argued that this is because of domestic considerations related to the forthcoming presidential elections, but that does not mean that Israel can afford to ignore his concerns.

However, even more important is what has happened to Israel. There are few Israelis who have had to contend with a war of this duration in their lifetime. We are a nation under siege. Most foreign airlines are still staying away, but of much more importance is the fact that both the north and south of our country have become uninhabitable. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have not only had to flee their homes, but have also been deprived of their livelihoods. How long can a country live like this?

Understandably, Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to continue the war, because, when it ends, he will have to answer to a commission of inquiry that will address his role in the events that led up to October 7th. He will also have to deal with the ongoing trials in which he is charged with fraud, bribery and breach of trust. However, that is no reason for Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot to continue to prop up his coalition government.

If they don’t want to be tarnished with the same brush, it is time for them to quit the government and force elections. Some will question how Israel can go to the polls in a time of war, but we have just held municipal elections and our country didn’t collapse.

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.