This week’s letter from Israel – November 17, 2023

My dearest friends,

Thanks again for your encouragement and support. It is much appreciated.

Ariel is well on his way to a complete recovery. We get occasional text messages from our son-in-law, Amir, and our grandson, Ori. Their messages ease our concerns for their safety. We’ve heard indirectly that our other serving grandson, Omer, and his unit are fine. His wedding will have to be postponed. He insists on celebrating his special day together with all his army buddies. Our granddaughter, Linor, has chosen to extend her military service and will continue her contribution to the war effort.

Phyllis and I spent most of yesterday morning pruning loquat trees at a nearby moshav. Israel’s farmers need all the help they can get.

Friends, our family experience is not unique. At this time, Israel is focused on two objectives – dismantling the Hamas military and governing infrastructures and securing the safe release of all the hostages. We’re in this together and we’re not alone.

Since the outbreak of hostilities, Israel recognized that her window of opportunity for military action against Hamas was limited. History has proved time and time again that the West is only sympathetic towards Israel when she’s hurting and suffering. As soon as the tide changes and Israel gains control of the situation, the sympathy is replaced by animosity.

The West resents a strong and independent Israel. They really don’t want Israel to score a resounding victory over those who challenge her right to exist. They introduce double standards to the equation and Israel’s right to defend herself is compromised.

Politicians don’t win elections by taking sides in international conflicts. They are elected to serve the needs of their electorates. The last thing they need is unrest on their streets. Winning the next election is more important to them than being on the right side of history.

Israel’s enemies exploit this to their advantage. Qatar and the Islamic bloc are doing their utmost to stall Israel’s momentum by positioning themselves as brokers of unacceptable deals for the release of the hostages. Al Jazeera is working overtime to propagate the Hamas narrative and shape public opinion in too many gullible countries. Tragically, anti-Semitism has once again become politically correct.

In keeping with tradition, the French were the first to buckle under the pressure. President Macron visited Israel a few weeks ago to express his solidarity with Israel. Since October 7, more than 1,500 anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded in France. Macron is now demanding that Israel initiates a ceasefire.

A pro-Palestinian march in London this past Saturday attracted more than 500,000 demonstrators. Participants were bused in from all over the UK. Events of this scale require a major logistic effort. The costs are enormous. How long will it take for Rishi Sunak to cave in under the pressure?

Statements made by the US Secretary of State in support of Israel’s right to defend herself have deteriorated from unconditional support to veiled warnings that are becoming less and less subtle by the hour.

The call for a ceasefire is not intended to save human life. It’s intended to stall the momentum on the battlefield, to protect the Hamas leadership in Qatar and Gaza and to save what’s left of the Hamas military infrastructure for the next round of the conflict. Such a ceasefire will only result in additional rounds in the conflict that will claim thousands more lives on both sides.

The best deal contemplated by the international community for the release of the 240 Israeli hostages calls for the release of more than 6,000 Hamas terrorists including their most notorious serial killers. It’s like enabling their release from the sin-bin and allowing them to play in the future matches in a world-series event.

Friends, I’m not a militant. I don’t want revenge for the sake of revenge. I want an end to the bloodshed. I want to live in peace and to enjoy the twilight years of my life. That’s what my children want. That’s what my grandchildren deserve. That’s what my great-grandchildren expect.

The way to achieve that is not by yet another ceasefire with a limited shelf-life. These ceasefires are dead-on-arrival.

When I read what I’ve written over the past few weeks, I ask myself whether these lines were written by the same innocent, compromising and impressionable boy born 77 years ago to parents who sincerely believed the last war had already been fought. I ask myself if this is the university student who was exposed to campus life during the turbulent sixties and who chose to embrace the values of peace, freedom, mutual tolerance and equality.

Because of the choices I made then, I believe the job must be done now. I acknowledge there’s a price to pay. But we have to do, what we have to do.

After 42 days, 240 hostages remain in captivity under the most terrible conditions. To date, the International Red Cross has not visited them or even provided a complete list of the hostages. The hostages must be released immediately and unconditionally. Once again, I appeal to you to spare a thought for the hostages and to pray for their safety.

My condolences to those mourning their nearest and dearest. My wishes for a complete and speedy recovery to the injured. 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 2 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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