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Gaza War Diary: 22-23 DECEMBER 2023

This Shabbat we could all breathe easier as our grandson and his combat engineering unit, which have done such unbelievable work in destroying the multibillion dollar terror tunnel infrastructure in Gaza, were given a few days leave. As the heavy rains fell and the cold of an Israeli winter descended, we were cheered by the idea that he was safe and warm with his young wife of a year.

These moments of reprieve allow us to exhale and keep on going.

The news that reached us Saturday night that five additional soldiers have fallen in Gaza, and five more have been seriously injured, put an end to our relief. We cannot take comfort for ourselves when others are facing devastation.

The seriousness of Israel’s predicament becomes clearer every day. We are a country facing deadly enemies on every front, and many more with whom we share no borders, all doing their utmost to harm us. Hundreds of kilometers away, Yemenite terrorists, Iraqi militias, and Syrian forces fire rockets in our direction, attempting so far unsuccessfully to kill our people, destroy our homes, and damage our economy, including our gas fields.

As we concentrate on Gaza, the story in Lebanon goes almost unreported. But the truth is, we are back to the fighting of 1948, with many communities along our Northern border evacuated, and a 2 kilometer area along the Lebanese border made into a military no-go zone. Kibbutzim like Manara have suffered rocket fire that destroyed their communal kitchen, their general store, and numerous dwellings. Soldiers in the North have complained that they often feel like sitting ducks as the initiative for military action is left in the hands of Iranian proxies Hezbollah.

Right after the October 7 murder spree, there was fear that Hezbollah was planning a similar raid on Northern settlements. Reportedly, Netanyahu had directed the military to conduct a serious, preventive raid on Hezbollah forces. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the IDF planes were already airborne when a phone call from Joe Biden to Netanyahu convinced him to have them recalled, Biden apparently unconvinced that Hezbollah planned such an attack. Americans sent aircraft carriers and war planes to deter Iran from widening the conflict. Ever since, our forces have not gone to war full force against the well-equipped forces of Hezbollah. I know that if they did, rocket fire would find my own home. Yet, I cannot help but feel that it is only a matter of time. After all, how long can the displaced residents of Northern towns and kibbutzim hide out in hotels?

While our forces in Gaza are making serious progress in destroying Hamas capabilities, as evidence by that terror organization’s ever more frantic attempts at blackmailing the Israeli public with horror videos of hostages, which our networks are blessedly refusing to air, can the same be said of our war against the terror organization Hezbollah? And then there is the homegrown terror of the PLO sponsored groups in Judea and Samaria.

In one video, a Palestinian Authority official complains that Hamas has set back the Palestinian people a hundred years. Soon after this declaration, another video was uploaded showing the complaining official howling on the ground from gunshots to his legs by one of his disgruntled comrades who apparently objected. The sympathy for Hamas on the West Bank is deep and wide.

It occurred to me only recently that this war isn’t going to be over any time soon and there is no sure answer to what Israelis now face, something no other country in the world is facing: the threat of total annihilation, a threat for which many in the world have even expressed sympathy and outright support!

It brings us back to terrible days we thought we were done with forever. How naïve! The death of six million Jews hasn’t even brought us a modicum of sympathy and understanding. With Muslims leading the way, no Jew in the world is now safe. And please don’t tell me I’m Islamophobic. No one in the world is Islamophobic. It’s a term invented by despicable Muslims to hide behind and intimidate anyone who dares disagree with their ugly behavior and genocidal threats. The hatred of those Muslims who profess antisemitism and genocidal ideologies is praiseworthy and absolutely necessary to preserve the civilized world, and most of our lives.

I don’t know how Jews all over the world are dealing with this reality, but I can tell you this about us Jews in Israel: we are not afraid. We are not going anywhere. We will support our government and our IDF with every last breath in our bodies, and every last dime in our bank accounts. With our sons and daughters and husbands and fathers and grandsons and granddaughters and brothers and sisters. We have no place to go in the world where as Jews we’d be safer and happier.

Even with our hands being tied behind our backs by our good “friends” in America and other places, we will win. Because we are determined, and fearless, and believe in our right to live in the country every G-d fearing person who believes in the Bible knows was given to the Jews by the one, true G-d. We have patience. We will suffer, and we will triumph, and those who hate us are cursed to live lives that will end in misery and death, for themselves and their families and their countries.

Just look at the very televised state of those who only two months ago were cheering in jubilation! Look at their hunger, their homelessness, the death of their families. The real suffering of all those who started this war can only be relieved in one way: for Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran to end it by giving up our hostages, surrendering their arms, and acknowledging the evil they have done and forswearing all future terrorist activity. Their future lies in their hands, just as our future lies in ours.

May the God of Israel hear our prayers and fulfill the promises He made to our forefathers.

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8 comments on “Gaza War Diary: 22-23 DECEMBER 2023”

  1. Joy Margulies

    Naomi, your war blog is excellent- informative and inspiring.
    One of our grandsons is at a yeshiva in Israel near Yerushalayim. We Jews in America are scared for our families and Jews everywhere.
    But except for the secular leftist Jews, we are saying tehillim for the soldiers and hostages, and proudly displaying our Jewishness.
    God will help us triumph over our evil enemies!
    God keep us all safe

  2. Jacqueline Shmidt

    The rise of anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist rhetoric and demonstrations in the Diaspora should make it clear to Jews that Israel’s survival is imperative to Jews wherever they live!
    Diaspora Jews are experiencing the precariousness of their existence in South Africa, America, the UK, Canada, France, everywhere! We must all turn to HaShem, do mitzvot, and unite to support Israel in every way possible.

  3. Linda Biderman

    I am praying for your grandson and for all the men and woman who are fighting so that Israel will continue to be the homeland for the Jews. I have never felt so frightened by what is going on in the world. I hope someday we will all live in a more peaceful world. I would like to think that when I leave this world there will be more peace for my children and grandchildren and that in some way we have all been instrumental in making that happen.

  4. Ryan Keogh

    In the midst of all this war, I have heard from the Wall Street Journal that the Israeli economy is having a bit of trouble because of the denial of entry to Palestinian workers, and the article says that many Israeli businesses and sectors, such as construction, depend on Palestinians as a source of cheap labor. Is this true? If it is, why would Israeli businesses depend on people who could potentially be Hamas sympathizers, or even operatives, as the source of their labor? They could do all sorts of sabotage! Couldn’t they find a labor from elsewhere?

  5. Linda Olmert

    Another stellar missive that with no exaggeration is the voice of so many of us here in Israel.
    It is because of that that I felt your opening line was misleading.
    You open with “This Shabbat we could all breathe easier …” I wondered what major news I had missed because I certainly was not breathing easier. In the next part of the sentence it became clearer. “…as our grandson and his combat engineering unit…were given a few days leave.”
    In your missives, you really have been giving voice to us all. So please amend the opening “…we could all breathe easier…” to “…our family could breathe easier…” Because as you know, too many in Israel this Shabbat were not breathing easier.
    Only other Israelis could fully understand your family’s deep joy that your grandson was home. I wish him, and all sons grandsons husbands and fathers, home safely for good as victors over the evil we are fighting. שבוע טוב

  6. Natalie Freedman

    Praying for your grandson, my cousins and all the brave fighters for Israel. And I pray that light will be shed on the minds of some American Jews who still don’t get it. Your posts are excellent.

    • Ryan Keogh

      Well, they did, but the Russians in their eternal incompetence and hubris lost the initiative in the first weeks of battle and resigned their war to being a stalemate. (Those fools, didn’t they learn from the Winter War?) For now, the Ukrainians can breathe easy, but they’ll need to make a peace deal at some point. They can’t hold out against Russia forever, and Americans are growing weary of sending them weapons.

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