What Will You Do?

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Millions of years and millions of generations have made mammals and humans in particular protective of our young. It is a species preservation imperative and our instinct to preserve and protect has magnified into a tenderness, a softness of heart and an arms-enfolding vigilance for children.

That is why my heart breaks for 4-year-old Abigail Edan, who was held captive by Hamas terrorists. She’s alive only because her father shielded her from Hamas bullets with his body, this following her mother having been gunned down.

And my heart breaks, too, for the Palestinian children who are suffering, orphaned and terrorized. Would that I had a name and picture to make this more personal, but you’ve seen the pictures and videos so you know as well as I of the enormous trauma to these little kids.

To be clear, my heart breaks for all the innocents, whether dead or suffering, whether they are children, adults or old people. It’s just that little kids like Abigail Edan grab at my heart by the fistful due largely, I suppose, to that protection imperative.

In this momentary truce while innocent hostages who were held by Hamas are being exchanged for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, people of many nations are beseeching Israel to be cautious, to protect civilian Palestinian life. Everyone – including Israel – agrees that’s the right thing to do, but there’s just one answer needed in order for Israel to comply:

How can Israel ensure that Hamas is made thoroughly unable to attack Israelis when the terrorists still hold their arsenals, stand ready to unleash death on Israelis and they have promised to do so “again and again“?

Hamas is dedicated to only two things: Wiping Israel off the map and killing all Jews. They’ve armed themselves to do just that and they don’t care who else suffers or dies in the process. Recall Maya Angelou’s words:

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

So, believe Hamas: They are murderers.

Given the homicidal reality of Hamas, its butchery, its ISIS-copying barbarianism, Israel must protect its citizens. Doing that requires eliminating Hamas’ ability to attack Israel and Israelis. But Hamas is hiding behind cute 4-year-olds who are just as precious and just as heart grabbing as Abigail Edan.

With the constant of worldwide condemnation of Israel, I’ve asked this question in various ways and haven’t heard any workable answer:

If you were making the decisions for Israel, what would you do?

In an effort to protect Palestinian civilians, Israel has announced when and where it would attack so that civilians could get out of the way. It did so via tens of thousands of leaflets dropped on Gaza and by tens of thousands of cell phone warnings. It has directed Palestinians to go south because attacks would commence in the north. It has done everything short of taking Palestinians by the hand and leading them out of harms way.

At the same time, Hamas has blocked civilians from leaving the northern part of Gaza. Hamas has kept them where they know Israeli munitions will strike because they’re directed at Hamas weapons caches which Hamas embeds with civilians. Arguably, Hamas is the murderer of those thousands of innocents, including those cute 4-year-old Palestinian kids.

Setting aside the insanely one-sided and ignorant international rage-fests against Israel, I’m wondering where the demonstrations are against Hamas for causing the deaths of Palestinians. Hamas is getting them killed as surely as if they themselves were shooting Palestinian children.

If you want to rail against the cruelty happening to Gaza Palestinians, and even if you don’t care about the cruelty still being done to Israelis by Hamas rockets, at least dump the responsibility for the main part of the human carnage in Gaza where it belongs: On Hamas.

Everyone agrees that the fighting and the misery it causes are awful, so what should Israel do now? Should it stop rooting out the torturers, the rapists, the murderers and their weapons caches? Should it hold peace talks with people who not only don’t want peace, but who live only for killing Israelis? Come on, help a little. Tell us your workable solution.

For those who still want to go rabid over the actions of Israel, first be informed. Go there. Live in the terror of that constant siege, waiting for the rockets and the machine guns to be pointed at you and your 4-year-old daughter, knowing that the terrorists intend to gang rape your 12-year-old daughter and that they may burn you and your spouse alive in your own house. We know that those are their intentions because it is what they have already done. Stay in that terror for a year or two and then let’s see if you still think Israel should stop attacking Hamas.

And remember: Your 4-year-old daughter is counting on you to protect her with your arms-enfolding vigilance. What exactly should Israel be doing now? What will you do?

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4 Responses to What Will You Do?
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    As an individual, I am torn between my concerns for the future of Israel and its citizens as well as the future of Gaza and its citizens. I have a strong desire to go to the region, sit the leaders of both in a room, verbally slap the crap out of both, and splain it to them! Forcefully, so they’ll understand!

    ‘Cause they need to understand that if they continue at the current rate there won’t be a future for any of them. Their children, their future generations, will no longer exist. But then how is an individual such as myself supposed to get fanatics to listen and learn before it’s too late? How does one overcome generational prejudices?

    • Frank Levy Reply

      I love the way you think. What flight are you booked on. I will see if there are any more seats available. There is an interesting article in Harretz today titled – A New Way Out of Disaster for Israelis and Palestinians by Dahlia Scheindlin that poses what she believes is a solution than the longed for two-state solution. As she points out in her article it is a reasonable but not perfect solution for everyone. It is worth the time to read it.

  2. Frank Levy Reply

    Today’s essay was flat out brilliant!!! Full stop. Brilliant.

    Sadly, as you so eloquently pointed out, no one who is shouting at Israel to be less lethal, and thus endanger the lives of Israelis by doing so, has a nit of an idea of how to protect Israeli citizens while Hamas thrives.

    But we both know why that is. They don’t care about Israel, about the only Jewish state and homeland, because Jewish lives simply do not matter to them.

    If Hamas had attacked England or Egypt or France, the world would be merciless in demanding its destruction, regardless of the cost to civilians. In fact the world would see the civilians living in Gaza as complicit with Hamas and a justifiable target no different than the Hamas terrorist fighters themselves.

    When it comes to the Jews, to Jews protecting themselves, to Jews being allowed to have a homeland where we can be safe and secure, there is a double standard in the world. As a Rabbi Daniel Rowe points out in this video, while Russia was committing genocide in Ukraine and kidnapping thousands of Ukrainian children there were only a handful of very small protests against Russia. Yes, there were lots of Ukraine flags on FB posts but no real or sustained outrage at Russia for destroying the Ukraine and its civilians and kidnapping its children whom it will never return to their parents.

    It never ceases to amaze me at what a strong and ingrained hatred anti-Semitism is.

    To that point, Dara Horn, author of People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Past, (W.W. Norton & Co. 2021) says this about the world’s ingrained and dangerous Jew hatreds/anti-Semitism: “Since ancient times, in every place they have ever lived, Jews have represented the frightening prospect of freedom. As long as Jews existed in any society, there was evidence that in fact it wasn’t necessary to believe what everyone else believed, that those who disagreed with their neighbors could survive and even flourish against all odds. The Jews’ continued distinctiveness, despite overwhelming pressure to become like everyone else, demonstrated their enormous effort to cultivate that freedom: devotion to law and story, deep literacy, and an absolute obsessiveness about consciously transmitting those values between generations. The existence of Jews in any society is a reminder that freedom is possible, but only with responsibility — and that freedom without responsibility is no freedom at all.”

    Two paragraphs before the above quote Dara Horn writes, “The only purpose of this freedom is to enable the (Jewish) people to voluntarily accept divine laws – laws about welcoming strangers, loving one’s neighbors, and accepting responsibility for creating a civic society of mutual obligation.”

    When I read what Dara Horn says, and I think about what the important rabbis and teachers in my life have taught me about life and how best to live it, I am perfectly OK if as a Jew I am hated for the reasons Dara Horn describes. I am OK with being hated because I take seriously the teachings of the Prophet Micah (Micah 6:8), because I respond “hineini” (I am here) to the call to be a blessing to all the families of the earth – human and otherwise (Genesis/bereishit 12:3), because I leave the corners of my field for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger (Leviticus 23:22), because I’m carrying on the tradition of the Hebrew Prophets speaking truth to power, and devoting myself to living the Golden Rule – what is hateful to you do not do to another – to the best of my ability.

    If you hate me and Kol Yisrael – the Jewish people and Israel for those reasons, bring it on. It is an honor I gladly accept.

  3. Kirk Landers Reply

    What would I do? As much as it pains me to say it, I’d do pretty much what Netanyahu is doing — try to minimize civilian casualties, but destroy Hamas. To leave Hamas in place is to guarantee that all this will happen again and again. Like you say, Hamas has no interest in governing. It’s solely focused on murder and mayhem.

    The lesson for the rest of the world as we bewail the loss of innocent lives is this: we are all ultimately responsible for what our government does, even if we don’t support that government. Ask the non-Nazi Germans of WWII. Ask the non-Communist Russians and Soviets of the 50s. And if you’re an America today, make sure you understand what the MAGAs are promising to do if they regain the presidency.