Elliot Sorene
Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon, MENA commentator

Reflections of a surgeon and a father

'From the river to the sea'

I am a British Israeli consultant orthopedic, trauma, and hand surgeon now based in London. I undertook my regular IDF military service as a medical officer in South Lebanon, serving alongside the South Lebanon army fighting Hezbollah. My reserve service was inside the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria. During my career, I have treated many injured in this conflict, including Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis, Palestinians, and Lebanese.

At my hospital in Tel Aviv, we worked as one team with diverse backgrounds: Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis, Christians and Muslims, Druze, and others. Likewise, the ethnicity of our patients was irrelevant to our mission to save lives. 20% of Israeli citizens are not Jewish, and this is more prominent in medicine. During the Second Intifada, I treated many patients with horrific injuries from bombings and shootings perpetrated by Hamas, including operating on terrorists themselves. I treated those injured from the Dolphinarium discotheque bombing with its horrifically injured teenagers who just wanted to dance, the Park Hotel Passover bombing with its injured elderly and holocaust survivors sitting down for the Seder night meal, and the Mike’s Place jazz bar bombing (which was undertaken by two Hamas terrorists, British citizens of Pakistani background). As a trauma surgeon during the Second Intifada, the infamous wave of terror attacks that killed over 1,000 civilians, I thought that I had seen the worst of humanity. Still, the scale of atrocities and depth of cruelty and sexual violence committed on 7 October 2023 is hard even for me to comprehend.

My son Ariel survived the Nova Re’im music festival massacre on 07/10. He was the designated driver. He had the foresight to get his friends together once the mortars and rockets started firing overhead and proceed towards his car. When his vehicle came under fire and he saw a young woman being shot in the head, he made the decision to abandon the vehicle, get his friends together and run. He saw terrorists with AK-47s and M16s attacking those around him, terrorists were firing 0.5 caliber Browning machine guns from the back of trucks – these bullets make an exit wound the circumference of a watermelon – and also terrorists with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) firing at the party goers and cars.

He ran in the fields with many around him being killed and injured, dropping, and being hunted as they ran. He ran 15 km to safety. One of his friends was murdered, and two were shot. I called him that morning on a WhatsApp video call. He was running, talking incoherently in a field. He didn’t tell me what had happened and didn’t want to worry me – he hung up. Can you imagine that while running for his life being hunted by terrorists, he was worried about stressing out his dad? Only later did I understand that I saw him running while being chased; I had no idea he was at that music festival.

My cousin Jake Marlowe was murdered there at the Nova party in Re’im. A lovely man, 26 years old, with a whole life ahead of him, he was working security at the event with my friend Shlomi Ziv, who is listed among the 136 hostages still in Gaza; these include infants, children, men, women, elderly and disabled, who have been held in captivity by Hamas for over 100 days. Many of these hostages were raped, sexually abused, and sustained significant injuries during their kidnapping. Many have chronic illnesses and specific medical needs that require urgent attention.

My son is currently working and studying economics in Israel. I studied medicine and lectured at University College London. This university has become a cesspit of Jew hatred. I wanted my son to have a safe and fun experience at university, and most likely, my three daughters will also study in Israel. I am currently undertaking a part-time MA, and the atmosphere at universities in London is beyond belief.

Shockingly, my son, even after suffering the horrors of the 07/10 Nova massacre, where 364 were murdered, one of many massacres that day that killed over 1200 people, is worried about his family in the UK. My son has seen the images of hundreds of thousands attending weekly hate marches with masked terror supporters in London, chanting ‘Khaybar Khaybar Ya Yahud’ and calling for the massacre of Jews ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine is Arab’ Min il Nahr Illa il baHr Falesteen Arrabiyeh’ and ‘Globalise the Intifada,’ calling to globalize terror attacks against Jewish civilians.

There are calls to kill Jews all over London, the London Underground, Victoria and Liverpool Street Station, amongst other places. Metropolitan police officers fist bumping with the protestors and being photographed with Jew haters cos-playing as terrorists glorifying murder and senior advisors to the Metropolitan police and CPS also engaging in this activity. All of this has made my son fear for his family in London, especially his young sisters who have not been able to leave their homes for many weekends now since 07/10. The Jews are the only people that blue-haired Western liberals tolerate and accept calls for their murder to be made on their cities’ streets.

The Jews are the canary in the coal mine, and what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews, as history repeatedly tells us. My paternal grandparents’ family come from a city that was over half Jewish; now there are no Jews there, not one; my wife’s parents are from Tripoli in Libya, where 25% of the population was Jewish, now none remain, not one, after being expelled, likewise Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen etc. ancient communities uprooted but after the Jews are forced out immediately the attention is always focused onto other undesirables, Christians, LGBT, persecuting women, honor killings etc. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

This conflict is not a football match where there are two sides, where you support one side and want the other side to lose; this is a perverse Western way of looking at conflict through a lens of ignorance. There are more than two sides. There are real people involved in this conflict in the region. This is reality, not a spectator sport. There is a sick agenda in the West to frame this conflict as team ‘Muslim’ against team ‘Jew.’ Anyone in the Middle East is acutely aware that Islamist terror groups kill more Muslims than anyone else. On 07/10, Gazan terrorists killed many Muslim Israeli Arab civilians, men, women and children, and the elderly, including women wearing the Hijab. There are Muslim-Israeli Arab hostages in Gaza. The international media is presenting a distorted view of the conflict, inciting hatred in communities all over the world. Communities with no connection to the conflict.

I hear British people say a typical comment: ‘I don’t understand the conflict, but I support the underdog in this ‘football match.’ The truth is that the underdogs in the Middle East are Israelis, Christians in Lebanon, Copts in Egypt, Kurds, Yazidis, Aramaeans, Chaldeans Assyrians, and other ancient indigenous peoples facing extinction. The underdogs are Women and LGBT, and the underdogs in the Israel/Palestine conflict are the small minority of Palestinians who want peace, coexistence, and self-determination alongside Israel. These are those who deserve global support. Murderous, misogynist, homophobic Islamist terror groups funded and armed by Qatar and the Islamist regime in Iran are not the underdogs. Enablers of Islamist terror groups, such as Western NGOs and BDS organizations, calling for the destruction of Israel and eradication of ‘non-believers’ are weapons in their hands, an army of useful idiots.

I ask that the international community and those countries that have banned Hamas as a proscribed terror group call for the immediate, unconditional surrender of Hamas, the immediate surrender of weapons, and the immediate release of all the hostages. Anyone who claims to be a humanitarian and cares for the citizens of Israel and the citizens of Gaza will do the same.

About the Author
Trauma, orthopaedic and hand surgeon. IDF veteran of the South Lebanon security zone conflict and the Second Intifada. Middle East commentator.
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