Following the violent riots on the Gaza border and the embassy move, I felt confronted by a barrage of posts on social media condemning Israel. One friend went as far as saying he had never felt more at odds with his Judaism in 50 years. Perhaps the desert sand has clouded his judgment.
What would the hand-wringers have had Israel do instead of defending the border? What would any country have done? Hamas admitted that 50 out of the 62 people who died in the riots were operatives, not civilians protesting peacefully. Should the army have laid down its weapons and stepped aside allowing thousands of armed rioters to race across the border while shouting “death to the Jews?”
It is easy and short-sighted to sit across the ocean in the comfort of our homes and liberally pontificate about events that only touch us philosophically. Criticizing without offering viable solutions is childish, and as long as a terror organization continues to hold the Palestinian people hostage, very few options exist. Instead of serving as apologists for an army whose purpose it is to defend its people, let’s focus on a massive media movement to help free the Palestinians from the clutches of Hamas.
While deeply troubled by human rights violations, abuses of women and children and senseless violence, racism and injustices throughout the globe, the Middle East conflict is profoundly personal for me. As it should be for all Jews. Israel and its government are imperfect, as are all nations, but my criticism of government policies does not affect my unwavering support of Israel’s absolute right to exist and defend itself. And it certainly doesn’t make me question my Judaism or identity.
Many blame recent violence on the embassy move. Would anyone argue that prior to the decision to move the embassy, Israelis and Palestinians enjoyed peaceful coexistence? The move was long overdue: Israel, like any other autonomous nation, has the right to determine its capital and not tolerate disparate treatment. In fact, the move was an opportunity for the Palestinians to negotiate an embassy in East Jerusalem and further the two-state solution. But what incentive does Hamas have to use political strategy and negotiation when violence works wonders on the media? And sadly, on our people as well.
I’ve seen countless posts lamenting the plight of Gazans, who live in squalor, suffer unemployment and lack consistent supplies of electricity and water. Where is the follow-up sentence addressing the “why?” Hamas spends millions on terror tunnels and weapons instead of schools and healthcare, which the Palestinians desperately need. And they are ruled by a terrorist organization that has one goal in mind: to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
Over 120 rockets were fired over the border from Gaza in the last 24 hours. Thousands spent the night in shelters. Mortar shells directly hit a kindergarten minutes before 7 am yesterday, luckily before any children arrived. The rockets also accidentally hit three power lines leaving tens of thousands of Palestinians without electricity. But such will be life for both Israelis and Palestinians as long as a terrorist organization rules Gaza.
So where is the outrage today? Thankfully several foreign governments have condemned Hamas’s actions, but news media coverage as compared with the border riots two weeks ago is minimal. And where are my friends and their soapbox today? Still at odds with your Judaism and identity?