In Kfar Aza, a small farming community of about 1,000 residents adjacent to the Gazan border, Israeli troops discovered 40 babies, many beheaded and others with their throats slit.
In what was supposed to be an all-night music festival with over 3,000 people, over 260 innocent youths were brutally raped, tortured, and slaughtered by Hamas terrorists while friends were torn apart as they were dragged into Gaza as hostages.
I mourn the 1,200+ Israelis who were brutally murdered and pray for the safe return of the over 150 men, women, elderly, and children who were kidnapped in what was the deadliest day in Israeli history and the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. The streets of Southern Israel are littered with the bodies of the young, innocent civilians residing in the towns and cities adjacent to the Israel-Gaza border.
As I sit here while many of my friends and coworkers are on the battlefield protecting our country, I can’t help but think how this could have happened. Israel has one of the largest, most sophisticated intelligence and security infrastructures in the world and yet a relatively small terrorist organization was able to slip under the radar and send thousands of terrorists armed to the teeth in a full blown invasion. 1,500 terrorists were killed inside Israel. Who knows how many entered in total and escaped. Many thought a security failure of this magnitude could never happen and I believe Hamas and Iran thought so too.
The atrocities of the past several days have, in a sense, forced Israel into a position where it can no longer tolerate Hamas. Hamas has gone from a tolerable threat to an intolerable one, a shift that would have happened long ago if it were not due to the Iron Dome missile defense system. Hamas’ current existence can be directly attributed to the fact that for the past decade, Israel has never needed to destroy the terror group as they’ve essentially been able to diminish any major threat from Hamas’ missile attacks.
This went from an attack on Israel to an attack on countries across the globe.
Hamas plays an integral role as a proxy in Iran’s strategy regarding Israel more so than Hezbollah which sits on Israel’s Northern border. They are both puppets of Iran but as opposed to Hezbollah which hasn’t legitimately gone head to head with Israel since the Lebanon War in 2006, attacks from Hamas are much more common. Hezbollah is also fairly occupied with the ongoing civil war in Syria and governs a vast part of Lebanon while Hamas’ very existence stems solely from its desire to annihilate Israel. Hamas wanted to kill Jews but they didn’t want to end its own existence.
This is why it is unfathomable to think that Hamas and Iran would have intentionally put themselves at risk of losing their foothold in this region of the Middle East. They have too much to lose as Israel now looks to respond more forcefully than it ever has before and completely dismantle Hamas’ military capability. Israel needs to send a clear message to Hezbollah and its other enemies that it can, indeed, take its gloves off when the time comes.
Israel has gone from a deeply divided nation, consistently attracting over 100,000 protesters at weekly anti-government protests to a nation on the brink of forming a broad unity government with the likes of Benny Ganz, Yair Lapid, and Avigdor Lieberman, who just last week would have never thought of joining the current Netanyahu-led government.
This is not the first time Israel and the Jews have needed a wakeup call in the face of internal strife. As Jewish tradition has it, the foundation of the Jewish exile was rooted in internal hatred and conflict. Rabbi Akiva, the renowned sage who lived through the destruction of the Second Temple, saw 24,000 of his students perish in a plague attributed to their lack of mutual respect. In more recent times, the debate of “who is a Jew?” divided the country for the most part of the 1990’s… until the Intifada. That debate has mostly been left untouched since. We have seen it time and time again throughout Jewish history that it is incredibly dangerous for Jews to be divided. Our enemies never need an excuse to attack and when we show weakness, our enemies exploit the opportunity.
However, just as we have seen that internal division can prove to be tragic for the Jewish people, our unique sense of achdut, unity, can transform us into one of the most powerful forces in the world. We saw it thousands of years ago when the Jews, then nothing more than a nation of slaves, took down what was the most advanced civilization of the time in Ancient Egypt. We saw it again in 1948 when the Jewish people, fresh out of the Holocaust, rallied around the newly founded State of Israel to fend off the entirety of the Arab world seeking its annihilation. Again we saw it in 1967 during the 6 Day War and again in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War. Jews band together in time of need and when Jews band together, great things happen.
I can’t begin to relate the feeling of achdut in Israel right now. 300,000 reserve troops may have officially been called up to serve but in reality, an entire country of volunteers has been mobilized, ensuring a strong supply chain is established to support the troops on the frontlines. A country which just days ago seemed to be at a tipping point has been transformed into a country of love, unity, togetherness, mutual responsibility, action… and power.
As we’ve come to learn in the past and as was clearly seen over the past year, a “safe” Israel can shift too much focus to internal politics, thus sowing division and strife and weakening the country from within.
A wounded Israel is a united Israel.
A united Israel is a powerful Israel.
And a powerful Israel is a force you damned well not reckon with.