Zev Shandalov

Numbers DO Lie

When two teams play each other in a sporting event and one team ends with 10 points and the other team ends with 8 points, there is a clear winner and it demonstrates that one team “bested” the other one. The data is just raw numbers of A vs B and one wins and one loses.

There are many in the world who believe that the same “rating system” applies in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas (and the rest of the terror organizations attacking us). They will point to numbers and declare that with over 100 dead in the Gaza Strip and with nearly no casualties (bli ayin hara!!) on the Israeli side that indeed, Israel MUST be committing atrocities, war crimes, genocide or whatever the current buzzword of the day is for the Hamas/Fatah propaganda machine. They will tell you of the “disproportionate” response that while they have lobbed a few missiles into Israel, their own people have sustained tens of thousands of pounds of ordnance raining down on their heads. They will speak about the  dozens of their buildings that have been destroyed and the roads that have been rendered impassible. As opposed to Israel–who has sustained minimal damage to buildings and infrastructure.

And all one need do is to listen to the questions in the media or read postings by “high level officials” in places such as the US government, and one sees that this “numbers game” is much more than a “game”–the numbers, they say, indicate that Israel is the aggressor and indeed the poor, downtrodden Arabs are suffering at the hands of said aggressor.

NONSENSE! The first question that needs to be asked is WHY is Israel bombing (with precision) in the Gaza Strip. That one is easy to answer–Hamas is indiscriminately shooting deadly missiles into the sovereign country of Israel. These missiles have one purpose: instill fear and cause bodily harm (read: death) in Israel. If you were to ask the heads of virtually any country on Earth, how many missiles would you tolerate being shot into your sovereign land without reacting, the answer would always be the same: ONE. Yet, we have endured tens of thousands over the past years and over 1000 in the current conflict.

So why the “high” number of casualties on the Arab side and the low number on our side. Besides the fact that G-d is performing open miracles in this war, there are two factors that have led to this “lopsided” count. First, on our side, we have the Iron Dome defense system. With a precision rate of 90%, missiles that are shot at us and (based on mathematics) will land in an area that is populated, are shot out of the sky leaving these missiles to do “almost” no damage (I am not speaking here of the psychological toll nor of the shrapnel damage). On the other side of the battle, after Israel WARNS the enemy that we will be attacking and after Israel “KNOCKS” on the roof tops of these various locations warning them to get out, Hamas sees to it that its people (especially women and children) remain there to be killed by Israel. Hamas actively puts their people in harm’s way–KNOWINGLY and with malice aforethought. (They must have taken their lesson from Nasser, who chained his fighters to  bunkers so they would not flee when put upon by Israel!)

Every single death of every single Arab in the Gaza Strip is on the hands of Hamas. In Israel, every single casualty, no matter how light, no matter how insignificant or (G-d forbid) major is also on the hands of Hamas.

In a sporting event, the numbers tell who is the winner and who is the loser. In this conflict, the numbers tell a STORY–who has chosen life and who has chosen death.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.