Danielle Ofek

Recognizing Hamas’ October 7 Attack as an Assault on Jewish Identity

AI generated image - courtesy of Danielle Ofek
AI Generate image Courtesy of Danielle Ofek - February 2024

On October 7, the international community bore witness to a heinous act of terror of staggering magnitude as Hamas launched a ferocious attack on Israel. This onslaught was marked not only by its extreme violence but also by its indiscriminate nature, targeting Israeli civilians without distinction, including Israeli Arabs. This act of terror was not simply an aggression against a sovereign state but a manifestation of Hamas’ deeply ingrained narrative of hate, which is so intensely focused on the destruction of Israel and all Jews that its operatives fail to differentiate among their targets. In Hamas’ worldview, driven by an ideology that seeks the annihilation of Israel, anyone, regardless of their background or identity, displaying any form of support or loyalty to the Jewish state is deemed worthy of death. 

Hamas’ actions on that day went beyond the political or territorial disputes that have long characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By specifically targeting women and girls, the terrorists aimed at the heart of Judaism itself. In Judaism, matrilineality plays a crucial role; it is through women that Jewish lineage and identity are passed on. The attack was, therefore, a calculated attempt to disrupt the continuation of Jewish heritage, an act with genocidal implications aimed at erasing future generations.

This assault on Jewish identity must be understood as such: an egregious attempt to undermine the very foundation of a people’s existence. It is a stark reminder of the depths of hatred that drive such extremism and the existential threats facing the Jewish community.

In the face of this darkness, it is imperative for Jews around the world to rally in support of the women and girls who bore the brunt of this horror. Their voices, and the trauma they endured, must not be silenced or overlooked. The stories of their suffering and resilience need to be brought to the forefront, serving as a testament to the human cost of hatred and the unyielding spirit of the Jewish people. This imperative becomes even more critical as we witness attempts by UN Women and the broader rights community to ignore or diminish the crimes perpetrated against Israel including gender-based violence. Using rape as a weapon of war is an abominable war crime. Yet, by adhering to a divisive narrative that categorizes the world into oppressors and the oppressed, these organizations not only feed the flames of antisemitism but also endanger a broad spectrum of minorities. Their politics risk creating a world where the pain of many is denied and left unspoken, highlighting the urgency for our collective action to ensure these stories are heard and acknowledged.

Our response to this tragedy as a community is critical. It is not a call for vengeance but a call for unity, and the affirmation of our collective right to exist and thrive. By speaking truth to power, by refusing to let the narrative of our people be dictated by those who seek our destruction, we define who we are and who we aspire to be.

This battle transcends the mere preservation of a nation-state; it embodies the protection of the Jewish way of life, the aspiration to liberate future generations from the fetters of animosity, and the imperative to regain sovereignty over our collective story. It represents a communal resolve to counteract darkness with the illuminating forces of enlightenment, wisdom, and an unwavering allegiance to our cultural and spiritual heritage. This commitment to our roots and principles is not just a response to external threats; it’s a declaration of our identity, an affirmation of our resilience, and a testament to our enduring spirit.

Jewish history is a chronicle of resilience in the face of relentless adversity. From the trials of Egyptian slavery to the desolation of the Holocaust, our narrative has been punctuated by episodes of profound suffering and loss. Yet, amidst these trials, the Jewish spirit has not merely endured; it has flourished. With each challenge, we have emerged stronger, our bonds of community and faith solidified in the crucible of shared hardship. This resilience is not incidental but integral to our identity. It is a legacy of courage and faith handed down through generations, a sacred trust that compels us to persevere, to innovate, and to thrive against all odds.

Our duty to those who have suffered and sacrificed is profound. We are called not only to remember their bravery but to embody it, to continue their struggle for a world defined by justice, compassion, and peace. This is not a passive inheritance but an active mandate—to build, to heal, and to educate, ensuring that the lessons of the past inform the choices of the future. In doing so, we honor their memory, not as relics of a bygone era but as guiding lights for the path ahead.

We are, indeed, an unbroken chain, linking past, present, and future in an unending continuum of Jewish life and legacy. Each generation contributes its strength, wisdom, and vision to this chain, enriching the tapestry of our collective history. This connection to our heritage and to each other is our greatest source of strength. It empowers us to face the challenges of today with the knowledge that we are part of something larger than ourselves, a story of survival and triumph that spans millennia.

As we continue to fight for the survival of the Jewish state, for the sanctity of our traditions, and for the right to define our own destiny, we do so with the awareness that we are upholding a legacy of indomitable spirit. Our efforts today are not just for our own benefit but for the benefit of all who will come after us. In safeguarding our way of life, ensuring our freedom from hatred, and reclaiming our narrative, we affirm the unbreakable resilience of the Jewish people. We move forward with the collective determination to turn darkness into light, guided by the wisdom of our past and the hope for our future, forever linked in the unbroken chain of Jewish continuity.

About the Author
Danielle Ofek is a seasoned expert in human rights advocacy, and international relations. With a rich background in tech and a passion for women's rights, Danielle is the founder of Angle, the advocacy group that launched the #MeToo_Unless_Ur_A_Jew Campaign. Her insightful writings, aim to shed light on complex dynamics and advocate for meaningful change.
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