I know, I know. I am an American Jew who lives in America, so I don’t get a say. Nothing is stopping me from making Aliyah and putting my money where my mouth is. No one asked for my opinion. I have no skin in the game.
But I do have skin in the game. I have skin in the game because I am a Jew. I have skin in the game because I have family in Israel. I have skin in the game because my eldest served in the IDF and in fact was in Gaza the last time around. I have skin in the game because I’ve spent the last twenty years learning modern Hebrew. I have skin in the game because my husband and I send the lion’s share of our tzedakah funds to Jewish organizations in Israel, this year more than ever. I have skin in the game because I am the mother of three Jewish children and one Jewish grandson. I have skin in the game because my ancestors rest under headstones inscribed in Hebrew; their ancestors rest in Jewish cemeteries in Europe; and their ancestors—who knows?—but I like to think that their bones have long since become part of the soil, grasses, flowers and trees of Israel.
I further have skin in the game because I am a human being endowed by my Creator not only with a heart that feels but also eyes that see, ears that hear, and a mind that discerns. I have skin in the game because I study Torah, which teaches us, above all else, to open our hearts in order to listen. And to listen to what? To that which teaches us to pursue justice.
Among other things, to read the Hebrew Bible is to read about a near endless cycle of wars, dislocations, disasters, slaughters, and national debasements. It was miniscule (by today’s standards) kingdom against miniscule kingdom until someone bigger came along, and that someone bigger always came along, and continued coming along until the British departed in 1948. And what followed that is the subject of the following plea:
Too many civilians have died. The survivors will have no reason not to turn towards terrorism. That’s what people with nothing to lose do.
But even if the survivors are suffused with the wisdom of angels and only want to live peaceful lives side-by-side with a Jewish state (talk about wishful thinking), far too many of their loved ones have died because the IDF has killed them.
I believe that with each additional civilian death in Gaza, Israel hurts both herself and Jews in the Diaspora. Not because the continuation of the war ignites antisemitism on university campuses and anti-Zionist demonstrations in European capitals, though it does. Nor because it empowers Hamas (at least on the PR front) or puts wind in the sails and money in the banks for Iran’s network of terrorist organizations, though this too is happening. But rather, because suffering will only beget more suffering.
At this point, does it matter that Hamas is a cult of death? We know that. Does it matter that their sole aim is the destruction of the Jewish state? This too we know. Are more bombs going to alter a mindset bent on evil or put a dent in the fantasy of a vast Muslim caliphate?
Enough already. Get the hostages out and go home.
Hamas doesn’t care about the bloodshed. It doesn’t care about the suffering. The more the dead children the better! A famine, who cares? Hamas is Pharaoh, its heart so hardened that it is has long since forfeited its own humanity. But Israel—he who wrestles with God and prevails? Israel must listen to the source of justice.