Jaron Treyer
I might be wrong

Thank G-d or Thank the IDF?

Jaron Treyer, Interception over Bethlehem

Waking up from an unforgettable night in Jerusalem, I reached out to reply to a string of messages from concerned family and friends. “It was surreal, Iran attacking you, imagine! But all rockets and drones were intercepted – thank …”, that’s where I paused. In responding to my brother, I found myself at a loss. Who deserved the credit for our salvation from this deadly Iranian attack? Normally, my response would have been a reflexive “thank G-d,” a phrase I’ve relied upon in expressing gratitude for every piece of good fortune. Yet, in this instance, the phrase didn’t come as easily. To utter it seemed to overshadow the tremendous efforts of the Israeli Defense Forces. It was their courage, the pilots and the entire defence apparatus, that shielded us that night. Without their vigilance, Israel would have been altered beyond recognition, and countless lives would have been lost. How, then, could I simply credit G-d for our deliverance?

It is challenging to articulate the magnitude of the attack on Israel on the 14th of April. We had become somewhat accustomed to rockets from Gaza; however, this onslaught was of a different order of severity. Huddled with neighbors in the bunker, shivering, I feared the worst. The sort of catastrophe we had all contemplated but never truly believed would happen was unfolding before us. There we were, experiencing this seemingly impossible moment. A day later, I find myself able to articulate that night’s events and comprehend their impact. Our history speaks of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt and their miraculous passage through the sea.

וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם בַּיַּבָּשָׁה וְהַמַּיִם לָהֶם חוֹמָה מִימִינָם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָם׃

The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and their left. (Exodus 14:22)

Standing between those formidable pillars of water, one to the right and one to the left, the Israelites must have felt as we did that night. If those walls of water had collapsed, they would have perished; similarly, had the IDF’s defence faltered, we would have been at the mercy of the missiles. In the biblical account, G-d held the waters at bay. That night, the IDF performed a modern miracle of defence.

But looking more closely, the matter is less straightforward. Escaping from the Egyptians, the Israelites did not simply await deliverance passively.

Moses reassured them: “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of G-d.” Yet, G-d’s reply was almost sarcastic:

מַה־תִּצְעַק אֵלָי דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִסָּעוּ׃

Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. (Exodus 14:15)

Action had to precede divine intervention. It required immense courage to step into the sea without knowing it would part. This act of courage, this leap of faith, is not unique to the Exodus narrative.

Whenever we embark on a new venture — pursuing an education, starting a relationship, defending a nation, or simply living — we cannot be certain of success. Many efforts fail: not every student finishes their degree, many marriages end in divorce, not every military operation succeeds, and few of us reach a ripe old age. Yet we persist. We do not cower when facing overwhelming odds. We take a leap of faith.

Yes, parting a sea is impossible, whereas defending a nation is technically possible. But how often do we think of the achievable as ‘impossible’? How do we shrink from endeavours for fear they are beyond our reach? Before the Iranian attack, ask an Israeli about the potential consequences, and you’d likely hear dire predictions. Defending against such an onslaught without loss of life might be deemed ‘impossible.’

And yet, it was done — thank …?

When I say “thank G-d,” it encompasses both our human initiative and divine favour. This isn’t to diminish our achievements but to acknowledge the faith behind them. It is a testament to the courage of our soldiers. Where there is no faith, there is no G-d; but where faith exists, so too does the potential for miracles.

So, to my brother, I can say with confidence, “Thank G-d we survived the night!” This is not to overshadow our efforts but to affirm them — a salute to the faith of our soldiers and an affirmation of our continued trust in G-d’s providence, both of which have enabled us to remain standing here today.

About the Author
A lone soldier who is torn between two countries. Switzerland and Israel. Order and Chaos. Shallowness and restlessness. What is more convincing?
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