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This week’s letter from Israel – January 5, 2024

My dearest friends,

The fighting on our borders continues. The death toll amongst our soldiers continues to rise. At times like this, we tend to focus on those who paid the ultimate price. We don’t always consider the injured. We haven’t even begun to think of those who will be hit by post-trauma stress disorder. So many lives have been affected and irreversibly changed.

Earlier in the week, I visited a bereaved mother who lost her 23-year-old son in battle. How does one comfort a grieving parent in such circumstances? Thousands of people visit bereaved families on each day of the traditional seven-day mourning period of a family member. It’s all so very sad.

On the family front, Omer’s infection is responding to treatment. Physically, he’s at home. Mentally, he’s with his soldiers in Gaza. We are so looking forward to his wedding this coming Thursday evening. We’re hoping some of his army buddies will be able to celebrate with him. Ori is doing his share. He’s been able to get home occasionally to spend time with his wife and children.

Israel’s military objectives in the south are focused on disabling and destroying the network of terror tunnels that crisscross the Gaza Strip as well as securing the release of the 129 hostages imprisoned in intolerable conditions since the October 7 massacre. Demilitarizing Gaza must be a pre-requisite to rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

The situation on our northern border is more complex. The last round of serious military engagement with Hezbollah in 2006 culminated with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The resolution called for a complete cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon. The Israeli forces were to be replaced by Lebanese and UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) forces. Resolution 1701 stipulated the disarmament of armed groups in Lebanon including Hezbollah.

UNIFIL is responsible for enforcing compliance with this resolution but its presence contributes nothing. The Lebanese army is conspicuous by its absence.

Hezbollah is in constant violation of this resolution. Aided by Iran, Hezbollah has built a sophisticated military presence in South Lebanon, firing lethal anti-tank missiles at IDF positions along the border. Like so many other UN sponsored resolutions, UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was dead on arrival.

Close to 100,000 Israelis have been forced to evacuate their homes along Israel’s border with Lebanon. This is an untenable situation. It cannot continue. I don’t see any chance of a diplomatic solution allowing Israeli civilians to return to their homes in safety and security. In my humble opinion, a major military confrontation on our northern border is inevitable.

Earlier this week, a drone strike on a Hamas office in Beirut resulted in the elimination of Saleh-al-Arouri, a senior member of the Hamas politburo. He was a key figure in developing and strengthening Hamas ties with Iran and Syria. Elimination of the military and political leaderships of Hamas is crucial to cooling the conflict.

I was born and educated in South Africa. I left South Africa for Israel more than 53 years ago. I wasn’t forced to leave South Africa. I did so out of choice to play a role in rebuilding my ancestral homeland after 2,000 years of national exile. During my days as a student leader at the University of Cape Town, I was active in the struggle against apartheid. I have reason to believe the telephone in my parent’s home was tapped.

My late father volunteered to serve in the South African army in World War II. He saw action in East Africa, Abyssinia, Sudan, Somaliland, Egypt and Libya. He suffered severe injuries in the line of duty 11,000 kilometers from his home. He was a proud South African and a true patriot.

My father fought the Nazis more than 80 years ago. His great-grandchildren continue to do so today.

To this day, I have many friends and family members living in South Africa. I’m concerned for their well-being. I love the people of South Africa and remain captivated by her magnificent vistas and landscapes.

But South Africa has assumed the role of being the useful idiot by filing a complaint against Israel on behalf of Hamas at the International Court of Justice. The complaint accuses Israel of committing crimes of genocide in Gaza following the October 7 massacre perpetrated by Hamas. Filing this complaint makes South Africa an accomplice to the October 7 massacre.

This is the same South Africa who, in 2015, defied a call from the International Criminal Court to arrest former Sudan President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes in Darfur, while attending a summit of the African Union held in Johannesburg.

South Africa’s government has normalized the murders and rapes perpetrated by her Jihadi friends. Your friends determine who you are. South Africa, you are headed in the wrong direction. It’s time to make new friends. Your current friends are corrupting your moral fiber. Wanton murder is savage. Rape is not resistance. It’s unacceptable. It’s immoral.

This is the same South Africa where, according to official sources, more than 27,000 people were murdered in 2023.

This is the same South Africa where, according to women’s groups, a woman is raped every 26 seconds.

I’m shattered. The country I once called home has chosen to become a strategic part of the evil axis that denies my people their inalienable right to self-determination.

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.

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.