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Mad about the rescue mission? I don’t care.

You should have used your anger to urge Hamas to release the hostages or expect Israel to do whatever necessary to free them
Noa Argamani reunited with her father yesterday. Credit: Aviva Klompas
Noa Argamani reunited with her father yesterday. Credit: Aviva Klompas

The whole country of Israel and the entire Jewish people spent the weekend crying tears of joy after the IDF rescued Noa Argamani, Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir, and Shlomi Ziv from captivity in Gaza and brought them home to Israel. It feels like the single greatest IDF accomplishment since Entebbe, and we will all undoubtedly remember for the rest of our lives where we were when we heard the news.

Entirely predictably, though, not everyone found yesterday’s events to be such a cause for celebration. Shortly after the hostages were rescued, “reports came out” that at least “210 Palestinians were killed and over 400 were injured” during the operation. Now, “reports came out” is that elusive phrase that could mean anything from “people on the street are estimating…” to “Hamas made up the claim…” and over 24 hours later, the “reports” are no more verified than they were yesterday.

But that hasn’t stopped the anti-Israel mob from being furious, or mainstream news outlets from doing a laughable job covering the story.

Apparently, rescuing four innocent Israelis who were rotting away in unimaginable hell for eight months “should not have come at the expense of at least 200 Palestinians, including children.” Can you guess who I’m quoting? It’s UN official Francesca Albanese. She was one of many social media users who rushed to tweet their condemnation so fast they forgot that they don’t know that happened yet.

Who’s going to convince these people that we have zero verification for the number of casualties that actually happened yesterday? Or the fact that we do not, as of yet, have any inkling what percentage were Hamas members and/or people actively shooting at the IDF rescue team versus actual civilians? So far, one video (allegedly) from the scene has gone viral: around a dozen dead bodies laying in the street in Nuseirat. Every single one of them was a military-aged man; no woman or child in sight. But of course, that didn’t stop Francesca from calling it “genocidal intent turned into action.” Another day, another blood libel from the UN.

CNN exhibited a rare glimpse of self-awareness in their reporting of the rescue mission: the last line of their front page article was “CNN is not able to independently verify the media office numbers.” The media office in Gaza being Hamas, obviously. Nice of them to let readers who made it to the very end know that the numbers were unverifiable, but why did they go ahead and send out a push notification to millions of people with those same numbers in the headline? This is journalistic malpractice. And the article is still up.

Even more ludicrously, as you’ve probably seen by now, a BCC reporter asked former IDF International Spokesperson Jonathan Conricus if the IDF warned Palestinians in the area before commencing the operation. Sorry, what? Did we give the terrorists who have been holding our people hostage for eight months a chance to kill the hostages before we got there? How do you think a hostage rescue operation works?

There is so much we don’t yet know about what happened yesterday; some of it will become clear in the coming days, and some of it we might not know for years. But there a couple of things we do know for sure so far:

Noa Argamani, Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir, and Shlomi Ziv were being held hostage in apartment buildings. Not sharing a tunnel with Sinwar. In the homes of the very same people the world has championed as the perpetual victim of this war since October 7.

And we know that people in the area shot at the IDF rescue vehicles on their way out. Were those people card-carrying members of Hamas? It doesn’t matter in the slightest; what matters is that if the IDF hadn’t shot back and killed them, they would not have survived, and neither would the hostages.

So now, I want to get a few things straight.

If a person holds another human being hostage in their apartment, they deserve to get killed.

If a person shoots at a soldier on his way out of rescuing those hostages, they deserve to get killed.

If a person has never once expressed an interest in Hamas releasing the hostages, they do not get to be mad when we do whatever we have to do to rescue them.

Don’t want “civilian” casualties? Don’t use civilians to guard our hostages. Better yet, don’t take our civilians hostage in the first place. It’s really that simple.

They had 245 days to give our hostages back peacefully. They could have even accepted any of the ceasefire offers that would have gotten them hundreds of terrorists freed in exchange. It’s not our problem that they didn’t.

And guess what? The war is far from over; there are still 116 hostages being held in Gaza. Use your anger to call on Hamas to release them now, or don’t be mad when we do what we have to do to get them out in the future.

I have spent the last eight months trying to convince people outside of my echo chamber to listen to the Israeli perspective in this conflict. But now, to anyone on social media who is angry about how the rescue mission went down yesterday — despite everything we don’t know yet, and the little we do know — I have one response:

I don’t care what you think.

I’m too busy being happy that Noa, Andrey, Almog, and Shlomi are home.

About the Author
Rachel Lester served in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit for four years, creating videos for the IDF's millions of social media followers and running the international video department as creative director. She was called into reserves on October 7 and stayed for six months. Rachel is an alumna of the University of Southern California and holds a Masters in Government from Reichman University.