It is hard to be an observant Jew on Shabbat during a war, when your whole being is crying out for information and updates, and your religious obligations force you to turn off the internet, television, and radio. While there are those who make accommodations, I’m not one of them. If there is a life threatening situation, we will soon enough hear a siren and behave accordingly.
Instead, I tried to make the most of having a day off from the constant stream of information. I listened instead to the words of my prayers as never before and was startled at just how strengthened and encouraged I felt as a result.
“Where is G-d? Before our eyes. May nations know that You avenge the blood of your servants.”
There has never been a war like this in our lifetime for the Jewish people. There are those, I know, who compare October 7 to the Holocaust. More likely, I think it resembles the terrible pogrom in Kishinev of 1903. Our pioneers returned to Zion to prevent just such things ever happening again.
To our everlasting heartbreak, only now do we understand that we underestimated our enemies’ capacity for barbarism. In the past, we allowed our kind hearts to forge all sorts of benevolent programs for them – giving them water and electricity, giving them thousands of work permits, treating them for free in our hospitals. Yaha Sinwar, the Hamas barbarian responsible for the October 7 atrocities, had a life-saving brain tumor operation in an Israeli hospital while incarcerated in Israel! He was released in the Shalit deal. This is his thanks.
The peace so hoped for by so many Israeli leaders has suddenly and shockingly been exposed in all its dangerous delusion and bankruptcy.
Today, there is no Right, no Left . There is no Tel Avivan and no “settler”. We are all one nation, indivisible. Attempts by Hamas to sow discord by exploiting our despair over our hostages by dangling false “deals” in front us won’t work. In a joint news conference, our leaders this evening unanimously confirmed that there is only one way to get our hostages back: defeating Hamas.
We Israelis are tired but determined. Half a million of us have been uprooted from our homes. And those lucky enough to still be in theirs, have had to deal with sirens and worries over family members serving in the military. But I want to make something abundantly clear: We have never ever been prouder to be Jews and to be Israelis.
While the rest of the world seems to have sunk to the depths of depravity in supporting the most evil acts imaginable, our people have risen to the challenge of defending each other with love and sacrifice.
All Shabbat I spent reading stories of heroism: Israelis who voluntarily faced down dozens of terrorists without ammunition or backup, saving lives. Israelis in their homes who managed to save their families even when terrorists walked through the door. Israelis who laid their lives down for their babies, hiding them in closets and fighting to their last drop of blood.
These are my people. We fight not just for ourselves, but to save the world from the atrocities we have suffered, by eliminating this ISIS-inspired group of barbarians, Hamas, the heirs of the Nazis.
You can help. Get online and respond to any pro-Hamas propaganda. Tell the world that little Israel is a nation of heroes, the most just and moral people on earth, and that we fight for righteousness against a depraved enemy that has no respect for human life, even their own people’s. Tell them that there will be a ceasefire the moment Hamas frees our hostages and surrenders. Tell them that Hamas are committing crimes against humanity by targeting civilians and putting their war machine beneath hospitals, mosques and schools.
All day, some of the words of a poem I wrote over half a century ago when I was a high school junior at the Hebrew Institute of Long Island, kept going through my head:
I stand with pride unshattered before a world who would my spirit break.
With shoulders thrown back and head held high I proclaim to all I am a Jew
And all who do despise me can never more do me harm.
For now that spirt by all Jews is shared. Our hearts are proud and free.
For there is honor in that name and a fearless courage that will endure.
Truer than ever. I love my fellow Israelis and my fellow Jews, and all the good people everywhere who now stand unequivocally by our side, our partners in defeating these enemies who are the essence of evil.
I truly hate those who have murdered and kidnapped my people, and those that hail them and give them succor, whether they be traitorous stupid Jews, Muslim fanatics, or simply antisemites. And I have a special disgust in my heart for those who find it necessary to hedge their support; who talk about “wanting peace” and “humanitarian ceasefires” and “all the poor children.” I hate them most of all.
“Those who bless you will be blessed. And those who curse you will be cursed.”
We in Israel will never forget how people, leaders, nations behaved at this time. Never. The truth is coming out about who are our friends, and who are our enemies. The blessing and curse will follow, of that I have no doubt.
Planes overhead are deafening the skies. May God bring all our hostages back to us alive and return them to their families. May God bring our soldiers back alive and return them to their families. May God allow all our people to go back home and live in peace and safety forever more. Amen.