Jackie Frankel Yaakov

Tell the World: I Will Not Go

(Image courtesy of author)

I am thankful. I am thankful for every person that reached out to try to save me and my children. But I am a Jew. A Jew, living in Israel, in 2023. And after October 7th, a Holocaust on our own land in our own country promised by God and proven by archaeology, I know nowhere in the world is safe.

“I can get you on a private flight out.” “I have a room for your family.” “I am here.” I know you are here. But they, those who are Hamas and those who support Hamas lies, are everywhere. My native Israeli husband was called up Day 1 of the War and is serving in the Israel Defense Forces reserves in the North. He comforted me last Friday – a day when Hamas called for an Intifada and Global Day of Rage – about his absence from our home saying, “If the border is not secure, our home in Jerusalem is not secure. I truly believe that. I am protecting you. I am protecting our home. You stay strong in our bayit (home).”

So I will stay strong and resolute. I will tell the world that they must hear us. You, you reader, must hear us and share this with a friend. The Jewish people do not want war. The Jewish people do not want pain for anyone. How many olive branches have we offered since 1948 to Arab citizens and nations? How many refused?! Tragedy. I am not saying we are perfect, but we are trying to do the right thing. I am not saying we all agree, but we are one Jewish people.

We have the most ethical army in the world, pleading with innocents to leave buildings and areas that we must bomb to protect and wipe out the true evil of Hamas. Yes, the evil of Hamas, who blew off the hand of our coworker’s son and then kidnapped him to Gaza. The evil of Hamas that beheaded and burned 20 of our toddlers in their own homes and piled them up as trash. The evil of Hamas that scorched a baby (only the fires of Hell release such atrocities). The evil of Hamas, the murderers of Hamas, that slaughtered our friend in Kfar Aza and his wife while they hid and fought to miraculously hide and save their twin babies. The evil of Hamas that killed fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and children in front of one another – in their homes! – and then paraded the survivors off as hostages to Gaza in a hellish celebration of bloodshed.

Palestinian people, I don’t want to hurt you or your children. I want you to rise up against this evil. Yes, I know that casting your lot against Hamasniks is dangerous, but I implore you to choose life! Choosing not to teach your toddlers to hate and choosing not to raise your sons to be those who slaughter innocent human beings – in their homes – on a holiday, on Simchat Torah, a holiday that glories in the foundations of ethical monotheism, of Judaism. I think Ishmael and Muhammed would be ashamed of you. Stand up!

Arab nations, send boats and pick up the innocent people we have evacuated from their homes for their safety, and give them refuge. I wish we Jews could help, but we cannot this time. We emotionally and spiritually cannot. So you must help your own. Come rescue and save!

Hamasniks, in the end you will answer only to Allah/God.

Jewish people, I am sad for us. I am sad that only a few weeks ago, Hashem clearly judged us on Yom Kippur and said our people are in need of a terrible wake up call. Well, now we have it. I am devastated. And now I am proud we are united. Supporting each other. Protecting each other. Caring for each other. But what an unspeakable price. A price that is too high.

I am just one olah, immigrant to our homeland Israel. I chose to come here, and cast my lot as a Jew in Israel. I chose to run from a demographic war of the Diaspora, assimilation. It was a choice. I was an innocent girl from Chicago, who following the terror attacks of 9/11 sang the John Lennon song “Imagine” at charity concerts for American survivors with my high school band. I was just a senior in a Chicago suburb high school. I believed the words. I still desperately want to imagine . . .

Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Yesterday my children and I volunteered to help cheer the children of our nation, who are traumatized and terrified, clinging to their mother’s skirts. We painted a local neighborhood school’s dreary bomb shelter, so that panicked siren moments would be less scary. I chose to reach down into my soul, and paint happy things on the wall – a smiley face, a peace sign. The cynicism rose from a friend, “Yes right, peace from air, land and sea.” I too am cynical. I too do not believe there can be peace now. We must erase evil murderers right now. It is hard for us, for us Jews. We are survivors of the Nazis and the Holocaust. We don’t want to believe in erasing others. But we do believe in protecting ourselves and our values of Tzedakah, Tefillah and Torah. Of community and family. Of choosing life! I do imagine peace, for my children and – please God – future grandchildren in Israel in a Jewish state with a Jewish calendar and happy celebrations of Jewish holidays.

And yes, we have nowhere else to go. They are everywhere. So I will stay strong. I will stay with my husband, family, community, and people here in the State of Israel. I am home. Tell the world, “I will not go!” I choose life as a free nation in my country Israel, wanting to share the values of the Bible. Basic laws of Noah for all, “Thou shalt not murder!”

This week we, the Jewish people, read Parshat Noah. There has been a flood of evil, but we bring the rainbow through our actions. We remain strong and resolute, united and caring – choosing life. I will not go.

About the Author
Jackie Frankel Yaakov is Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies's Director of Leadership Gifts. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Jackie made aliyah with Nefesh B'Nefesh in 2009, and studied in Pardes’s Year Program in 2011-12. Jackie holds a BFA with honors from New York University and an Executive MPA from Columbia University. She is writing a masters thesis at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before making aliyah, Jackie worked for a variety of non-profits in NYC, enhancing cultural and educational institutions. In Israel, she has worked with non-profits from Haifa to Jerusalem, most recently serving as the USA Donor Affairs Liaison in the International Relations Division at Yad Vashem. Jackie and her husband live in Jerusalem with their three children. Jackie’s writing represents only her own opinions and is not representative of any organization.
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