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Gaza War Diary: 1 NOVEMBER 2023

There were rumors all day yesterday that “something big” had happened. People shared shadowy internet posts, and the tension built until someone in the government or the army finally said it had to stop. But then it turned out “something big” actually had happened. We destroyed a huge Hamas stronghold, killing at least fifty armed Hamas terrorists and destroying underground bunkers. We are well on our way to cutting Gaza in two by reaching the sea.

Only slowly did the army also announce our losses. First four soldiers names, and the next day another eleven. And every photo, every name is like a dagger to our hearts, these beautiful brave young men between 19-20 years old, forced to put themselves into harm’s way. “’We are fighting for our right and the right of future generations to live safely and thrive in our homeland,’ Lt. Gen. Halevi says.

It’s too much. Reading the battle news each hour, the loss of our soldiers, the numbing descriptions of some new atrocity committed on October 7 we haven’t yet read about. The sirens going off. The videos of truly sickening antisemitic rhetoric from around the world, and the daily threats coming from Iran, Yemen, Russia.

It’s too much. Reading the battle news each hour, the loss of our soldiers, the numbing descriptions of some new atrocity committed on October 7 we haven’t yet read about. The sirens going off. The videos of truly sickening antisemitic rhetoric from around the world, and the daily threats coming from Iran, Yemen, Russia.

But worst of all are the mouthpieces of Hamas that are still alive (we soon hope to change that) like Ghazi Hamad who brazenly told the Lebanese press that “everything we did is justified. We will repeat Oct. 7 attacks over and over again until Israel is annihilated.”

In light of that and the continuing rocket barrages, and the face that Gazans – from old men on crutches to little boys – were part of the murderous hordes that broke down our fences and murdered our people, killing fathers, raping mothers, and putting babies into ovens and turning it up to broil – no, I’m not making this up – the constant American pressure to do more and more for the Gazans is sickening. I wonder how many aid trucks the Allies sent to Dresden for the “poor Nazis”. What part of this doesn’t the free world yet understand?

Yet, we can’t help but read and listen. It’s impossible not to. Still, we get up, get dressed, go to exercise class where our lovely, smiling Leah adds Am Yisroel Chai to the aerobics tape. A class full of grandparents who are trying, for the sake of their families, to keep healthy, keep strong. Even smile. All of us have family involved in this war, and the fear inside us is deep. But we have no choice but to keep going, keep trying to find ways to help, to volunteer, to donate.

The bright spots are few, but still exist. Videos of the children of Sderot so long under rocket fire now housed in a nice hotel in Eilat courtesy of the government, going down slides into the swimming pool with big smiles and whoops of joy. A hotel on the Dead Sea housing 600 elderly evacuees from the South, many of whom don’t speak Hebrew, now being cared for by social workers and volunteers who set up a club for them.

I pray so hard every day. I wonder if everything that is happening now is to test our faith. If so, we are being sorely tested.

But the Jewish people love God. Our soldiers say the Shema Yisrael prayer collectively before going into battle. October 7 was also the holiday of Simchat Torah, when we began the cycle of Torah readings from the beginning, from Genesis. The medieval Biblical commentator Rashi asks: Why doesn’t the Torah start with the story of the Jewish people, why Creation? And this is what he answers: “For should the people of the world say to Israel: ‘You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations of Canaan’, Israel can reply to them: ‘All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed is He. He created it and gave it to whom He pleased. When He willed He gave it to them, and when He willed He took it from them and gave it to us’.

We have to remember that. That is the right answer to our enemies.

Sometimes, in moments of despair, I say: Why don’t they just leave us alone already? How many times have they tried to kill me, and now they are trying to kill my grandchildren, the way they killed my husband’s grandparents and his half-brother and sister in the Holocaust. What have we Jews ever done to them to deserve any of this?

I don’t know the answer. But then I think about the term “Chosen People.” We aren’t like them. God has a different plan for us. As Defense Minister Galant told us today: “ Our soldiers are on the front line of the free world in a war against barbarism and evil. “ So true! And how I wish it wasn’t.

May we lose no more of our boys and girls. May our hostages be rescued by the IDF. May good triumph over evil and may we Jews live to see a world where the haters are shamed and destroyed and everyone sees the truth about the Jewish people.

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11 comments on “Gaza War Diary: 1 NOVEMBER 2023”

  1. AYELET RAUCHMANN

    I HAVE MICHPOCHA THERE; IN 1926 COUSINS LEFT GERMANY AND ARE NEARLY TWO HUNDRED IN NUMBER ALL OVER ISRAEL. MY FATHER LEFT FOR THE US AND WE ARE TEN PEOPLE. I AM HEARTSICK; FEEL INCAPABLE OF MOVING ON WITH LIFE AS I AM SO WORRIED ABOUT THE WORLD’S CONDEMNATION OF ISRAEL. AS YOU ASKED WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM US. WHAT DID WE DO? BLAME THE CHURCH FOR NEVER REALLY DESPITE WHAT WAS DONE REALLY EVER FORGIVE THE JEWS FOR THE DEATH OF CHRIST. I AM WORRIED SICK ABOUT THE WORLD WE ARE LEAVING MY YOUNG GRANDSONS WHO ARE WATCHING THE NEWS AND AWARE OF THE ANTI SEMITIC ACTS TAKING PLACE HERE. ONE SAID, BUBBIE WHAT IF THE AIRPLANES STOP FLYING TO ISRAEL AND WE WANT TO GO THERE. WHAT WILL WE DO? IS THIS SOMETHING A GRANDMOTHER NEEDS TO HEAR FROM HER GRANDCHILD? SHOULD HE HAVE TO WATCH THE NEWS FEED SHOW SUCH COMPASSION FOR THE MURDERERS AND INSULT THE ISRAELIS WHO COME TO EXPLAIN? DOES ANYONE REMIND THE WORLD HOW PEOPLE WERE MASSACRED BY THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS? WE NEED TO BE PROUD OF OUR FAITH AND HAVE COURAGE. FOR WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, OUR LORD HELPED HUMANIZE HUMANITY, AND WE SHOULD BE PROUD.

  2. Alexander

    “these beautiful brave young men between 19-20 years old, forced to put themselves into harm’s way.” Beautiful words, wonderfully written. I was a draftee some 58 years ago, forced to participate in a war. When I came home (Mar67) the six-day war began. I prayed then for Israel. Things never change, maybe I don’t pray hard enough. I’m praying as hard as ever with heartfelt tears for the people of Israel. Judeo Christian, Alexander USA.

  3. Jilly Maddock

    Praying for you all. We in UK care deeply. My heart goes out to you all.

  4. Abe Himelstein

    Dear Naomi,
    I have read most of your books and enjoyed them. Your daily d’vera tovos are wonderful to read s to what has taken place. Let us not give up are daily tephillos and hopefully this crisis will end. Amcha. Respectfully

  5. David Bornstein

    Koach, Naomi. I am in Australia but I follow what’s going on carefully. I am also not an engineer. However, tunnels are below sea level. Tunnels need electricity. Electricity for power and ventilation communication and light. Electricity needs generators. Generators use diesel which produces hot exhausts and poison gasses which must be ventilated to the environment.
    If I know this I am certain the brass in Tsahal knows this. Hot exhausts can be detected. Block off the exhausts and the underground environment becomes a death trap. The Mediterranean has lots of water. It can simply be siphoned in. As much as is needed to create an underground lake and cemetery. We normally flush excrement. The tunnels are not bomb shelters, Hamas has made that clear. Tragically I don’t believe many hostages remain alive. Those tunnels are a very legitimate target. Flood them and gas them and save our boys lives. Mind you the rats will attempt to escape so there needs to be troops at the shooting range of the exits to pick them off as they come out.

  6. Harry

    Why doesn’t Israel do a total siege instead of sending in soldiers who might die? Continue the bombings and put in a siege. There are no innocent people in Gaza. Not after 17 yrs of Hamas rule. Hamas was elected by these people.

  7. Justina

    Hello Naomi,
    I am a librarian in Colorado and have enjoyed reading your books for years. In recent days, in an attempt to try and get closer to the people in Israel, I thought of you and remembered you had a blog. I went straight there and immediately my heart connected – to your heaviness, to your sadness, to your anger and outrage and to your pride in your grandson and all the youth serving in the IDF. Thank you for sharing everyday. I feel like you are my person in the land even though we have never met.
    May God bless you and family and keep you all safe.
    ♥Justina

  8. Linda Simmons

    Thank you for sharing. I cry. I pray. I donate. May God protect our country, Israel.

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