Today is the 21st day of war. A war that started when Hamas terrorists infiltrated through many breaches in Israel’s security fence to massacre more than 1,000 civilians and soldiers in kibbutzim and towns. A war that started when Hamas kidnapped more than 200 Israelis and foreigners and took them captive in Gaza. A war that started when Hamas shot barrage after barrage of rockets into Israeli cities. A war that started when Hezbollah launched mortar attacks across Israel’s northern borders.
A war that Israel has no choice but to win. A war for our very existence as the Jewish homeland.
My family is relatively safe. My son and son-in-law are too old for IDF reserve duty. I don’t personally know any of the victims or the hostages. But for me, and my family, this is all very personal. If the Hamas terrorists had had their way, they would have continued to drive into the heart of Israel and murder, rape, and pillage. Even today, we have security inspections at the gate of our moshav near Jerusalem. We are on alert.
We feel the grief of those who lost their loved ones. We are heartbroken for the families with hostages in Gaza. We are shocked to see the scenes of destruction in the kibbutzim along the Gaza border. Our eyes tear when we hear the stories of the survivors. And our spirits are lifted when we hear of the bravery of those who fought the terrorists.
We are shocked when we see the demonstrations held all over the world, where protestors shout out that Israel is at fault. That the attacks 3 weeks ago (not terror, but acts of militants), were a result of Israel’s oppression and occupation of the Palestinians. ‘Liberate Palestine’ they cry out. Yes, there are deaths in Gaza, as well. Innocent civilians are being killed by Israeli bombs. But those civilians are being held hostage. Hamas is preventing them from evacuating, using them as human shields to safeguard their terrorist leaders.
A terrorist brags about murdering Jews
Of all this, one thing terrifies me more than anything else. And that is the recording of one of the terrorists as he ran amok in his killing spree on the morning of Saturday, October 7th.
“Look how many I killed with my own hands!” he shouts into the phone of one his murdered victims. “Your son has killed Jews!” he proudly informs his family back in Gaza.
The recording was presented by the Israeli Defense Forces to foreign journalists along with additional recordings, security camera footage, Hamas terrorists’ body cameras and cellphone videos of the terrorists, victims, and first responders.
The next words heard on the video are chilling.
“Check your WhatsApp,” he invites his parents, eager to show them images of his victims. “Mom, your son is a hero!’
“I wish I was there with you,” she responds.
“Kill! Kill! Kill!” his father implores him.
This is not a war for the liberation of Palestine. Our enemies are not fighting a rightwing Israeli government. They are not acting to stop Israeli settlements or end the occupation. They want to kill Jews. Simply that.
Jews are not safe today anywhere in the world. Take a look at the protests in Europe and at American universities. Jews are not safe in Israel, either. But there is one difference here. We will fight back.
This is war, and it is a war that we must win.