Ron Kronish

Raise your voice now for ending the war and seeking peace

cover of Profiles in Peace by Ron Kronish, courtesy of Sari Kronish
cover of Profiles in Peace by Ron Kronish, courtesy of Sari Kronish

A few days ago, on June 2nd, it was announced that four more hostages are dead. They were apparently killed in December in Khan Yunis, probably by the IDF, according to media reports (but this is not yet verified). Another tragedy as a result of this war.

More and more hostages are dead. As of this writing, it is declared by the IDF that only 81 of the 120 remaining are still alive, although the number is probably much less.

Also, more and more Israeli soldiers are dying or getting wounded every day in this unwinnable war of attrition.  In addition to the 1200 Israelis murdered by Hamas on October 7th, and 250 kidnapped, Israel has lost 292 soldiers in Gaza since it began its ground offensive there. And more than 1800 soldiers have been injured to date.

And more and more Palestinians are getting killed. The numbers are not clear because Hamas probably exaggerates them, but many thousands of innocent civilians have been killed—including far too many women and children– or wounded or buried under the rubble.

IT IS TIME FOR THIS WAR TO STOP! Most people in Israel agree with this by now, as do most of the leaders in the international community, including of course President Biden, who said so very clearly last Friday, May 31st,  in a speech in Washington DC.  When I listened to a panel of experts on an Israeli television station this week, five out of five pundits argued that this war has to stop now, in order to rescue whatever hostages are still alive, and retrieve lots of dead bodies.

And what is Netanyahu doing right now? Stalling, as usual. Walking between the rain drops, even though it is not raining. Hoping that Hamas will say no to rescue him. Abandoning the hostages to die in Gaza, as he has been doing for many months already. Playing politics, as usual. Trying to save his irresponsible, dangerous and anti-democratic coalition. Planning his trip to Washington DC., where he will address a joint session of Congress with another one of his embarrassing speeches, full of lies and empty rhetoric (why did Senator Schumer and Congressman Jeffries agree to co-invite him with those crazy Republican “leaders”?). Or, as one columnist put it in today’s Haaretz, he is busy choosing his tie for the performance.

He is appearing to be increasingly out of touch with reality. He does not give press conferences in Israel any more. He does not grant interviews to Israeli journalists, only American ones. The tide against Netanyahu is turning. Seventy percent of Israeli citizens don’t trust his leadership anymore.  He has become a shame and a disgrace in Israel and in the world—he and his political partners have become pariahs in the international community!

All the while, he is fighting for his political survival. His extreme right-wing partners in his coalition—Smotrich and Ben Gvir—threaten him every day, three times a day, that they will leave the coalition and therefore, his government will fall (which would be terrific!). In the meantime, they continue to do tremendous damage every day in every way, with their outrageous inflammatory statements and their dangerous actions, including Ben Gvir’s leading of a racist nationalist march through the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day yesterday.

In addition to the importance of ceasing the war against Hamas in Gaza in the south in order to redeem whatever hostages are left alive (and bring back the dead bodies), there is another essential reason to end it now. This would lead immediately to the cessation of the war of attrition with Hezbollah in the north! This is extremely urgent at this moment, because there is a growing chance that the war in the north could change course any day to a much worse one, if Israel feels it is forced to invade southern Lebanon. Every day, there are more and more calls for this from people in the north, 60,000 of whom have been living in limbo for the last eight months, as their homes and communities are destroyed. As Hezbollah and Israel ramp up the attacks on each other from the air every day in recent weeks—and more and more destruction is witnessed in the Upper Galilee—the risk of a ground invasion by Israel into Lebanon and a much larger, more destructive war (on both sides) increases exponentially.

President Biden has courageously called for a cease-fire and the beginning of a process which will release hostages, exchange prisoners, stop the killing and lead to the end of the war.  He said it very clearly and forthrightly last Friday, May 31st:

I want to level with you today as to where we are and what might be possible.  But I need your help.  Everyone who wants peace now must raise their voices and let the leaders know they should take this deal; work to make it real, make it lasting; and forge a better future out of the tragic terror attack and war. 

It’s time to begin this new stage, for the hostages to come home, for Israel to be secure, for the suffering to stop.  It’s time for this war to end and for the day after to begin. 

We in Israel ought to be grateful for his leadership – for his caring and compassion. He seems to care much more about the people of Israel than our own failed leaders do.

Following President Biden’s call for everyone who wants peace  to raise their voices now, I hereby raise my voice to support his proposal, which is actually Israel’s proposal, and I urge you to raise your voice too, wherever you are.

About the Author
Rabbi Dr Ron Kronish is the Founding Director the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), which he directed for 25 years. Now retired, he is an independent educator, author, lecturer, writer, speaker, blogger and consultant. He is the editor of 5 books, including Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel--Voices for Interreligious Dialogue (Paulist Press, 2015). His new book, The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, a View from Jerusalem, was published by Hamilton Books, an imprint of Rowman and LIttelfield, in September 2017. He recently (September 2022) published a new book about peacebuilders in Israel and Palestine entitled Profiles in Peace: Voices of Peacebuilders in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which is available on Amazon Books, Barnes and Noble and the Book Depository websites,
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