This week’s letter from Israel – January 19, 2024

My dearest friends,

We’re still on a high from Omer’s wedding to Adi last Thursday evening. Two very special moments will remain with me for the rest of my life. These moments vividly reflect the emotional swings we, as a country and a people, are currently experiencing.

Immediately prior to breaking the glass recalling the destruction of the Temple, Omer stopped the ceremony and asked those present to remember his friends who so unselfishly gave their lives in defense of their country and their people. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

An hour or so into the wedding meal, the 10 soldiers in Omer’s combat unit surprised him by arriving in full military kit. The IDF organized a minibus to bring them directly from Gaza to be with Omer at his once-in-a-lifetime celebration. These soldiers hadn’t showered or shaved for days. They were a sorry sight but their faces carried smiles from ear to ear.

There’s no question that Israel was humiliated on October 7. What happened should never have happened. There are no excuses. Around 1,200 Israelis – civilians and soldiers – paid the ultimate price. The media are fantasizing countless scenarios regarding the image that will best memorialize victory for one of the two sides to the conflict.

My daughter hit the nail squarely on the head with the message she posted on our family WhatsApp group.

She wrote: As we stood under the Chuppah (the wedding canopy), I recalled that this wedding was due to have taken place six weeks earlier. However, the bride and groom elected to continue defending their country and defer their wedding to a later date. When the groom, in a voice choked with emotion, recalled the memories of his fallen comrades in battle, I realized we are the clear winners of this terrible war.

Our enemy tried to kill us. They raped our women. They kidnapped our elderly. They continue to taunt us with fake news. They seek to throw fuel on the fire by attempting to deepen the rifts and increase the tensions between the different factions in our society. They’ve even hijacked the International Court of Justice to accuse us of committing a genocide. They’ve tried every dirty trick in the book.

Our enemy failed. They achieved exactly the opposite of what they set out to do. They brought us together. They failed to break our spirit. We know exactly who we are and what we’re fighting for.

The charges brought by South Africa against Israel for alleged acts of genocide in Gaza continue to cause me no end of frustration. In my opinion, they are ridiculous to the extreme.

I’m not a jurist or a lawyer. But I do know that for a law to be respected and upheld, it must be based on universal and ethical principles and be binding on the parties to the conflict. Provisions of the law must resonate with basic common sense. More specifically, International Law must be adjudicated by an independent judiciary and applied equally for the benefit of mankind.

The Genocide Convention was the first human rights treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly. It underlined the international community’s commitment to ‘never again’ after the atrocities committed, particularly against the Jewish people, during World War II.

In other words, the legal convention developed in the wake of the Holocaust to protect humanity from a repeat performance, is now being applied against the victims of that Holocaust.

By its actions, the South African government appears to be completely unaware that on October 7, 2023, Hamas perpetrated a heinous act of savagery in which around 1,400 Israelis were murdered. Women were gang raped, children were brutally killed and elderly people were murdered in their wheelchairs. Others were butchered simply because they were Jewish. One hundred and thirty-six Israelis remain in hostage. Their captors have denied them their rights under the Geneva Convention to visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In addition, over the past 15 weeks, at least 9,000 rockets were randomly fired from Gaza into Israel. This figure doesn’t include hundreds of rockets launched by Gazan terror groups that misfired and landed in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas Charter is nothing less than a call for genocide against the Jewish people and their nation state. The actions of Hamas since taking control of the Gaza Strip amplify their total commitment to their charter.

Yet, Israel has been summoned to appear before the International Court of Justice on charges of genocide while the leaders of the Hamas politburo continue working out in the gyms of Qatar’s leading hotels.

Something has gone very wrong. I feel insulted to the core.

The government of South Africa is, by its actions, complicit in the Hamas massacre perpetrated on October 7. By weaponizing International Law against Israel, the South African government has proved it’s a strategic pawn and active proxy in Iran’s international Jihadi terror machine.

Genocide is defined in Article II of the Genocide Convention as a crime committed with the intent of destroying a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. It does not include political groups or cultural genocide.

So, let’s consider the following data published by the US Census Bureau International Database. The population of the Gaza Strip grew from 245,000 in 1950 to 394,000 in 1967 to 1,100,000 in 2000 to 2,100,000 in 2023. Do these numbers support the claim that Israel has committed an act of genocide in the Gaza Strip? Of course, they don’t.

The aim of the exercise at the International Court of the Justice is not to find Israel guilty of committing genocide. The aim is to slander and to demonize Israel in order to justify the multitude of war crimes perpetrated by Hamas against Israel.

My condolences to those mourning their nearest and dearest. My wishes to the injured for a complete and speedy recovery. May God protect our brave soldiers. May the hostages soon be reunited with their families.

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and better times ahead.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Harris Zvi Green.

About the Author
Harris Zvi Green was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Aged 77, he made Aliyah 53 years ago. An accountant by profession, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for a number of Israel based hi-tech companies. He is married to Phyllis. They have 3 married children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Harris Zvi Green is a founder member of Truth be Told, an organization engaged in public diplomacy on behalf of Israel.
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