Gil Lewinsky

With Oct 7 becoming a distant memory, a new ‘normal’ unites Israeli society

It is Day 79 now since I was awoken along with most of my loved ones in Israel at 630am to air raid sirens to what was original supposed to be a happy day in the Jewish calendar. Seventy Nine days that today start to become part of a haze in the mind that is between recent memory and a memory long ago.

The air raid siren has become a weekly occurrence rather than a day to day dread. In fact, pre October 07 we had the occasional air raid siren, as such, while more frequent is not an unheard of occurrence. Gyms are packed. Runners, despite most marathons being canceled this season, are out and about. People are on the streets going to restaurants, playing Backgammon. There are family and friend gatherings. If one suddenly went to sleep on October 05 and awoke today maybe they would be somewhat confused that much has changed.

However this is where the similarities end. Close to 300,000 reservists have spent months from home. Every single day we read, and cry inside, news of the deaths of several of them fighting in far off Gaza. Many are fighting a conventional war in one of the world’s most densely packed areas against an enemy that hides in subterranean tunnels and hides amongst civilians. Being a citizen army, many of them werent professional soldiers, many were formally employed somewhere in Israel, leaving behind families, loved ones and friends. A blogger, Liron Kopinsky mapped out the hometown of all soldiers who have died so far, showing how the map has really shaken families from Eilat to the Golan Heights, no one was spared.

137 hostages, many of them going through their own holocaust, and others dead, are left in Gaza. People whom should have never been in Gaza in the first place. Some of them are soldiers but most of them are kibbutzniks or party goers. Human bargaining chips so Hamas could systematically rip Israel down for their exchange. For the Israeli side values life and Hamas knows this is a weak point. Cause enough heartache and some would even sacrifice the state itself for their return. We wont let them… 

Otherwise the war has created a united nation. People dont hear it because they are focused on Jewish Voices for Peace (whose endgoals are anything but peaceful) or Nutrei Karta (whose leadership has been excommunicated from the religious Jewish world) anti Israel protests. However globally and in Israel especially a silent unity has been formed. The internal squabbling over judicial reform is gone. The very groups now help the hostage families and the soldiers, even with Bibi still in charge. People may not like him, but we all know who the real enemy is and that they will stop at nothing to see us all killed. If there is a protest, it is for the hostages, and the strategy that must be used to bring them home.

Jewish rally on behalf of the hostages in Vancouver, Canada. An underrepresented majority, the war has largely united the Jewish world besides its fringe movements. (Courtesy: Boris Shabash)
Rally on behalf of the hostages on a rainy Saturday evening in Tel Aviv (Courtesy: Hostages and Missing Family Forum)

The world may have largely begun to move on. The ones that are left, many have become pro Palestinian. Global shipping through the Gulf of Aden will raise prices as here and there we witness fighting in South Lebanon, which seemingly is contained. Some Western elites, and particularly Joe Biden supports us, however most, especially the woke left has started to make it a staple to delegitimize us. Many do not understand why we are fighting what appears to be a weaker enemy and razing them to the ground. However to them I answer this. When your brothers and sisters are being held hostage and you have air raid sirens on your head with an enemy that taunts you that they will rape you again and again until youre killed you do not plead for a ceasefire. You band together and fight until you win.

Life may have started to return to “normal” but Hamas has achieved one thing with Israel: it has reminded its people who they are. It will be that unity that will lead us to victory the day after.

About the Author
Born in Israel but raised in Canada, Gil Lewinsky worked as a journalist in Jewish newspapers including the Jerusalem Post after completing a Masters degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto. He also has a LLM in International Law from Lancaster University in the UK. His past topics include a book written about the Status of Gaza under International Law soon after its conquest by Hamas in 2007. He is perhaps best known as one of two people that brought a flock of Jacob Sheep from Canada to Israel in 2016, making history. He currently works as a teacher and English public relations professional in Israel.