Kim Treiger-Bar-Am

Thoughts and Feelings about the War

I made Aliyah from the US many years ago, and write these words to communicate with Americans and readers from around the world – Jews and others – my thoughts and feelings about the War in Israel and Gaza.

People from abroad kindly ask “How are you?” That question shows care and concern, but it does not have an easy reply. A question that Israelis often ask each other is: “How are you holding up?” And the responses are complex.

One response is: “Like everyone”
כמו כולם.

Everyone is feeling it. The whole country is in shell shock, suffering a form of PTSD. We are all in it together.

That response shows collective agency. The government has failed to take action. It has pretty much fallen apart. And the government has destroyed the civil service. But the civil society has been incredible.

instantly, people have grappled with so many needs – of civilians and soldiers. Many of the organizers of the protest movement have geared their efforts extraordinarily fast to the current crisis. They transported soldiers to the south on the first day of the attack, even while the army couldn’t yet get it together. How? As one said: we know how to organize.

The successful efforts at organizing civil life are outstanding. People host families of evacuees from north and south, donate supplies and arrange everything for them.

People have come together. You can see it in their eyes. In walking down the street (when that is possible), the way people look into each other’s eyes is different from the way it is at other times. There is a depth of understanding of how other people feel.

Is this unity? Yes. Solidarity? Yes. And collective agency. It is the hosen (חוסן) that Israelis have: it is our power.

Goral (גורל) is used to mean: what happens. It is the Hebrew word for fate. Israelis’ goral is collective. Our fate is shared.

We are all in it together. People speak of “our hostages”. Even if we don’t personally know them, they are ours.

As to the rampages against Zionists, Jews and Israel on University campuses and by the so-called progressive left, my message is: open your eyes. And read some history. Many of the protestors are reported as not even knowing where Israel is, on a map.

Free Gaza from Israeli occupation? Israel’s occupation of Gaza ended in 2005. Free Gaza from the control over it by Hamas, yes. Hamas has subdued the Gaza civilians in so many ways. It has been outlawed as a terrorist organization by many countries.

Many of the Hamas terrorists carried ISiS (Da’ash) badges and flags and instruction leaflets for murdering of civilians, including with chemical warfare,

Israel has sent messages in Arabic to people in north Gaza to evacuate to the south, so as to avoid Israel’s attacks. Hamas told the people living in the north not to evacuate, and then blocked the road so they couldn’t, and then killed some of those who tried. Hamas wanted their human shields to stay put.

Patients in hospitals in Gaza are human shields, too. Hamas terrorists have a command center set up in the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. Hamas has stolen fuel sent to Gaza hospitals over the years by UNWRA.

This isn’t a war of Israel against the people of Gaza. Hamas has initiated a war against Israel, and Israel has declared it will fight Hamas until the Hamas military capabilities are destroyed.

This isn’t a time for hopeful calls for a ceasefire. Hamas’ military capacity must be wiped out.

Does news get across of the Hamas link to the Islamic brotherhood, founded in Egypt 100 years ago? Egypt has closed its border with Gaza for many years. And like many Arab countries, it has declared that it doesn’t want Gazan refugees to flee there.

Does news get across of the torture, rape, and beheadings that Hamas terrorists inflicted on 1400 Israelis on October 7, and of Hamas’ daily infiltrations and rocket fire on Israeli civilians and cities that has continued? Or of the hostages (currently numbered at over 240) being held by Hamas in Gaza, including babies?

As to the vehemence of the words and acts against Jews in the US and around the world: There has been antisemitism for thousands of years. I have no words.

I am sure I am not alone.

About the Author
Kim made aliyah from the US after her studies of law and philosophy at Yale. She completed her doctorate in law at Oxford. She has practiced as a lawyer and taught at various Universities in Israel. She is the author of three books: "Positive Freedom and the Law", as well as "Freedom and Respect in Jewish Ethics", and recently "The Ethics of Truth."
Related Topics
Related Posts