Adam Frank

How To Cease Israel’s Fire

If the world does not want Israel to use military means against Hamas in Gaza, then the world must address how to assuage Israel’s concerns of getting back its captives and of disabling Hamas’s abilities to attack the Jewish state in the future, as Hamas has promised to do.

Whether one believes that Hamas’s October 7th massacre of Israeli civilians was a justified expression of fighting oppression, or one believes that Hamas did not target civilians nor commit any atrocities that day, an indisputable truth is that over 136 Israelis and foreign nationals are being held captive against their will in Gaza. Israel’s concerns are for the safety and return of every captive, and for the continuing security of its citizens within its borders. As a sovereign nation-state, first and foremost, Israel has the moral imperative and responsibility for the safety and care of its citizens. Calls for Israel to end its military operations – whose very goals are to return its captives and to disable Hamas – are actually calls for Israel to abandon its own citizens; they are calls for Israel to prioritize the welfare of Hamas’s population over the welfare of Israel’s own population.

Those voices condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza – you Senators Bernie Sanders, Dick Durbin and Elizabeth Warren, you Congressional members lead by Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you Students for Justice in Palestine, you Jewish Voices for Peace, you IfNotNowers, you university administrations and faculties and students, you Arab dictators and despots, you Muslim clerics and Imams, you Georgia Black Clergy, you Black Faith leaders, you City Councils (Oakland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Detroit and more), you Palestinian supporters marching for a “Free Palestine” – how do your calls for Israel to stop its military operations address Israel’s justified needs to get back the 136 captives and to protect its border from future Hamas attacks?

Calling for “an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and a return of the hostages” does nothing to return these captives who are being physically and psychologically tortured 24 hours a day in Gaza. What pressure are you putting on Hamas to return the hostages? What coalition of international voices have you coalesced to communicate to Hamas that its imprisonment of stolen Israeli civilians – who are denied visits from the Red Cross or Red Crescent – makes anyone associated with Hamas a war criminal? How many of you have demanded that the United Nations condemn Hamas for the war crime of kidnapping and torturing civilians for more than 114 days? Who among you that desperately wants to see an end to the images and descriptions of suffering of Gaza’s inhabitants is using your platform to tell Hamas that Israel cannot be pressured into ceasing its military operations until every captive is released?

Those who vilify Israel for taking measures that any sovereign state would take to protect its citizens, without offering any solution to the underlying concerns of Israel for the well-being of its citizens, simply spew self-gratifying platitudes that serve to enable Hamas to continue its obscene abuse of innocent captives. You desperately want Israel to stop its military pursuit of Hamas in Gaza, and you truly want an end to the suffering of innocent Gaza civilians? Then do more than use your voice to call for a ceasefire. Do something that relieves Israel of the need to use its military to protect its citizens.

About the Author
Adam Frank lives in Israel with his wife and 3 children. He served 13 years as rabbi of the Conservative Movement's Congregation Moreshet Yisrael in downtown Jerusalem. Since stepping down from the pulpit in 2019, he is engaged in activism in the areas animal welfare and of religious pluralism in Israel.
Related Topics
Related Posts