Where I live, a little seaside town near Haifa, Shabbat was a beautiful day. Blue skies, absolute quiet. The current fighting is nowhere near us. But all that could change in a minute if the terror group Hezbollah, sitting in Lebanon on our northern border, begins to take a more active role. And so we waited with great anticipation when it was announced that Hezbollah leader Nasrallah was going to make a major policy statement at 3 PM on Friday.
He basically defended Hezbollah’s current level of activity (for which terrorists hoping he would start bombing Haifa as he did in the past have criticized him mercilessly). He deflected such criticism, claiming he was helping Hamas by forcing Israel to keep a large force in the North. He also said he “wasn’t angry that Hamas didn’t tell him about their October 7 attack.” I didn’t know that! Is his lack of appetite for an all-out conflict payback for being kept in the dark? Or has his loss of over sixty terrorists since the conflict began with little to show for it behind it? Perhaps too, it’s the American warships watching over him. Tellingly he said: “This is a regional Palestinian battle.“ Excellent! I can sleep easier now.
On the very same day my daughter sent me a photograph of herself with my grandson. Apparently, he was able to get away from his base for a little while to meet his Mom nearby. He looks tired, but has a big smile. I love him so much and I’m so proud of him! I know he and his comrades are going in and out of Gaza constantly blowing up terrorist tunnels. But he won’t tell us anything. It’s too terrifying to think about! May Hashem keep him and all the soldiers doing God’s work safe. As far as I can see, the IDF is making wonderful progress in cleaning out the cesspool of murderers.
Over Shabbat, I got a chance to read the papers, which I never do during the week. Two interesting articles. One about the survivors of the Be’eri terror attack, a family that barely escaped, who wound up getting rescued by Israeli soldiers under fire and arrived at a Dead Sea hotel in their pajamas, with no shoes. “I haven’t had to purchase a single thing since I got here,” the mother said, taking time out from arguing with her nine year-old daughter about taking yet another pair of shoes that had caught her fancy at the free store set up for survivors. “She already has nine pairs! I told her she has to put one back if she takes another one.”
The other article I found fascinating was an interview with the current star interviewee of Israeli news programs Eliyahu Yosian. An Iranian Jew born in Iran, where he studied civil engineering at Kashan University, he made a quick and secret Aliyah when it was conveyed to him that he was on a hit list. He has a Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies for the Security Forces from Bar Ilan University, served in the IDF Military Intelligence Unit 8200, and was awarded the Israel Defense Prize. For years he’s been telling Israeli leaders that they just don’t understand the conflict they are in.
“We’ve brought sushi to a table where people are eating humous,” is his famous one-liner. In other words, we simply don’t understand the culture and mindset of our enemy. “Israel respects Westernization, but the language of the area is theological. In the name of their God they kill, they cut off heads, while we go on upholding the rights of man, his freedom and dignity, extending that even to our enemies. We catch a terrorist and let him sit in jail and earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree and eat three meals a day. Like a VIP.”
According to Yosian, there is no such thing as “innocent civilians” in Gaza. “They had an election and 65% voted for Hamas. The civilians in Gaza are Hamas. And if there was an election in the West Bank, they’d elect Hamas as well.” So, what is the solution? According to Yosian, we have to “flatten Gaza” because otherwise in ten years, they will simply raise another generation of murderers and terrorists.
At the end of this month, I am scheduled to fly to New York and appear at lectures in Manhattan, New Jersey and Boca Raton with the head of the Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, about my new book The Enemy Beside Me, a novel about Lithuanian participation in the Holocaust.
When I wrote the book, I was hesitant about including first-person descriptions of the atrocities that took place at the hands of the Lithuanians. But considering what we in Israel have just experienced, I don’t think anyone will be shocked now. The similarities between murderous Lithuanian, Nazi-supporting Antisemites and Hamas are remarkable.
By the way, did you see the latest video from UCLA where students are singing: “Jews can’t run, Jews can’t hide, what we want is Genocide”?!? I ask you, Americans, in particular American Jews, when are you going to get angry enough to do something about this, like revoking the citizenship of these people and throwing them out of your country?
I think Yosian would agree that you had better take them seriously and treat them in a way they can culturally assimilate: Don’t bring your Western liberal values to Nazi terrorists who want you dead. Believe what they say. Act now before it is too late.
About the hostages. It is a large lump in our throats , and a constant ache in our hearts. In the synagogue this morning we were given a page with a prayer on which was written ten names. Everyone got a different set of names. Two hundred and forty names. But I could see from my list that it hasn’t been updated. Shani Louk was on my list. That made me feel so very sad. Such a beautiful young girl. I shudder to think what she must have suffered at the hands of those barbarians.
Every bomb dropped on Gaza is for you, Shani!