Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

Israel at War

When Israel was invaded by Hamas terrorists on October 7 2023 the effect of the attack was two-fold. The horror at the brutality inflicted on men, women and children and the physical devastation of homes and entire communities, the event evoked memories of previous assaults on Jews throughout our long history of victimhood.

Apart from horror at the human suffering inflicted on unsuspecting civilians there was anguished astonishment at the failure of Israel’s defense systems and military forces to prevent this devastation. After all, Israel was established in order to enable the Jewish people to defend itself and not find itself vulnerable and open to attack by its enemies, as was the case throughout history.

And so, once again, we find ourselves at war, fighting for our lives, scrambling to defend our borders, protect our towns and villages, move large segments of our population to safety, out of the range of marauding gangs and, preferably out of the range of rockets (though to tell the truth, nowhere in Israel is out of the range of rockets from one hate-consumed enemy or another).

Who are these hate-consumed enemies? Are they all Arabs everywhere? All Moslems? There are billions of them, and no force in the world could stop them overrunning Israel if they put their minds to it, by concerted action. Of course, we all know that not all Arabs, not even all Moslems are dedicated to the destruction of Israel and Jews, signed agreements with several Arab countries contradict this, but the major entity behind all the current antagonism is Iran, which encourages, finances and fosters hatred of Israel wherever it can.

When Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, after conquering it from Egypt in 1967 and controlling it since then, the initial expectation was that the Palestinian Authority would govern it. Their rule did not last long and their officials and representatives were brutally ousted by Hamas, a terrorist organization whose avowed aim is to destroy Israel. Since then, aided by Arab countries, notably Qatar, Hamas has entrenched itself ever more deeply into the bedrock of the Gaza Strip, both physically and politically.  While Israel enabled the inhabitants of Gaza to enter Israel on a daily basis to seek work, Hamas invested the funds it obtained to build a network of underground tunnels equivalent to an underground city, as well as to enrich its leaders, enabling them to live in comfort unavailable to the average Gazan.

Aided and abetted by international media, Arab propaganda proclaimed the suffering of the population in Gaza, calling it the ‘biggest open-air concentration camp in the world,’ demanding ever more aid from the U.N., which obliged by building hospitals and schools and other institutions designed to ease the lot of the poor, suffering Gazans. In the event, it turns out that all these noble institutions were used as facades for the terrorist industry of building tunnels and acquiring weapons. Now that Israel’s forces are operating in Gaza they find that there were thirty(!) hospitals there, and that the so-called ‘concentration camp’ consisted of innumerable stone and brick buildings, many of them high-rise apartment blocks, with spacious homes and perfectly adequate accommodation for the two million local inhabitants. Wherever Israel’s troops entered an apartment building, a school, a hospital or even a kindergarten or playground they found quantities of weapons.

So now the population of Gaza is really suffering. Winter is coming, bringing even more privation in its wake. People have had to leave their homes, many buildings have been destroyed, and there are shortages of food and water. As long as the Hamas leadership remains in the underground citadel it has built for itself, holding over 130 Israeli hostages to be tortured and abused, there will be no peace in Gaza, no succor for the beleaguered local population beyond minimal humanitarian aid and no peace for Israel either

While Israel mourns the loss of its fighters, both men and women, and criticism of our leaders is starting to emerge, it is evident to all that the combat must continue until the threat to our population is ended.

About the Author
I was born and brought up in England. I am a graduate of the LSE and the Hebrew University. I have lived in Israel since 1964. I am an experienced translator, editor and writer.