Michael Boyden

Giving the War a Name

More than eleven weeks after that Black Sabbath on which Hamas terrorists broke through into Israel early on the morning of Simchat Torah murdering more than a thousand Israelis and taking several hundred of them hostage, the Cabinet is set to meet next week to give the War a name.

Among the proposals are B’resheet (Genesis), because the War began during the week that we read that Torah portion; Masheev Ha-Ruach meaning “Who causes the wind to blow”, because from Simchat Torah onwards we insert those words into our prayers; and “the Gaza War”. The latter was dismissed out of hand, because the Prime Minister’s official residence is on Gaza Street in Jerusalem!

The story is told of a man who booked a taxi from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. When they reached Tel Aviv, he told the driver to continue to Herzliya. When they reached Herzliya, he asked him to take him to Haifa. When they reached Haifa, he requested the driver to go on to Metullah. “Why do you keep extending the journey?” the driver asked. The man replied: “Because when we reach the end, I will have to pay.”

Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday that the war will continue until there will be nobody in Gaza threatening Israel.”

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the Ha’aretz newspaper reports that Netanyahu’s legal counsel has requested that the giving of evidence by ten witnesses connected with Case 1,000 in which Netanyahu is charged with fraud, bribery and breach of trust be postponed until after the War, because they would be unable to prepare for the trial until then.

How long will the War continue? Y-Net’s military correspondent, Yossi Yehoshua, reports that the IDF believes that “it will take a year of fighting and all of the grenades in the world” to bring the fighting to an end.

Meantime we hear of soldiers being killed and injured every day. Since the onset of the War on October 27th, the IDF reports that 139 soldiers have been killed and a further 1,952 injured.

When the War is finally over, those who were responsible for misunderstanding Hamas’s intentions, who allowed them to grow into a formidable force, and who failed to listen to the look-outs who saw what Hamas was planning, will have to pay the price for their failure.

The heads of the IDF and security services have already accepted responsibility. Benjamin Netanyahu has not.

It should be recalled that it was Bibi who favored strengthening Hamas at the expense of the Palestinian Authority.

The American-born, Israeli journalist, Lahav Harkov, quotes Bibi as having said back in 2019 that “whoever is against a Palestinian state should support” transferring money to Gaza, because separating the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank from Hamas in Gaza will help prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state”. (Bibi has tried unsuccessfully to expunge all reference to what he said from the electronic media.)

It was Bibi’s mistaken strategy that strengthened Hamas, gave them the money to build their tunnels and provide their men with the weapons that have enabled them to fight our forces battling to restore security to Israel.

It was Bibi’s misconception of Hamas’s intentions that brought about this War.

It is in Bibi’s interests to delay his trial for as long as possible.

And it is in Bibi’s interests to delay the day when he will have to give account for his disastrous leadership.

It would, therefore, seem to be totally appropriate to call this Milchemet Bibi – Bibi’s War.

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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