Michael Boyden

Stop Criticizing the IDF

Before criticizing Israel for the way she is fighting the war in the Gaza Strip, people need to take into consideration that no army has ever had to face the challenges with which Zahal has had to contend in a war that is unique in the history of warfare.

Guerilla war is nothing new, but here our army is facing Hamas terrorists who use civilians as shields. They operate out of hospitals and schools and UNWRA depots, and store their weapons and munitions in private homes and mosques. They even use ambulances to transfer their fighters and hostages from place to place.

It is also a war that is not only taking place above ground but also beneath it. Hamas has built hundreds of miles of tunnels and shafts, and numerous underground command centres to operate out of and to move their fighters around.

Our soldiers are not only hampered by an urban environment in which Hamas uses apartments for their snipers and to launch RPGs, but also have to take into account that they don’t know the exact locations where the hostages are being held. The tragic killing of three of the hostages by our own forces only serves to illustrate the complexity of the situation.

If that weren’t enough, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the south and Hezbollah in the north are launching rockets and suicide drones against Israel’s civilian population every day and, were it not for the Iron Dome rocket defence system, we would be dealing with large numbers of civilian casualties on the home front. In addition, there are the ongoing attacks by terrorists on the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

No war is a picnic. There is considerable suffering both in Gaza and in Israel, but those who are so quick to criticize Israel from the comfort of their armchairs have little idea of what is going on here.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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