The view from my veranda

6 Weeks

6 Weeks

19th November 2023

Shevua Tov. Which means I wish you a good week, or most certainly a better week.

First and foremost, I am relieved to tell you that the Zaka announcement that they took out 200 bodies was false and if I may say, irresponsible. In the official press conference, we were told that 75 bodies had been taken out from Al Shifa hospital by an IDF team and after initial DNA testing it was found that 70 were Palestinian and 5 Israeli.

On Friday I wrote that I do not believe in free speech, which is not the same as freedom of speech. Well the hatred is spreading. This scene, if in Germany or the UK would have culminated in multiple arrests and a great deal of public anger but when a group of Nazis, carrying Swastika flags, march through Wisconsin, the Mayor, while speaking out against them, suggested the public ignore them because they too have the right to free speech. You think I am making it up?

The acceptance of Hamas in many US universities is reminiscent of 1933 when the fact that German universities had purged their Jewish faculty members and hosted book-burnings did not deter friendly overtures from schools such as Harvard, Columbia, and MIT. In 1933, MIT president Karl Compton pressured Jewish students to refrain from sending a protest message to Adolf Hitler over the persecution of Jews in Germany. In 1937, Compton sent an MIT representative to participate in the bicentennial celebration of the Nazi-controlled University of Gottingen. Sad to say nothing is new under the sun. MIT students were among the first to cheer the Hamas pogrom. On October 8 – while over 1,200 dead bodies still lay strewn throughout towns in southern Israel – the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid declared that it “hold[s] the Israeli regime responsible for all unfolding violence.” The statement endorsed the right of the pogromists “to resist oppression,” that is, to slaughter the Jewish infants who, apparently, were oppressing them.

Israelis, indeed Jews and Christians all over the world have always considered the IDF, Mossad and Shin Bet as infallible and it has been a traumatic realisation that they dropped the ball and over a thousand innocents died. According to an internal report, the lookouts warned, months before the October 7th attack, that they had seen unusual training and other actions taking place next to the border, with more and more people suddenly getting near the fence. They felt that their warnings were being ignored so one decided to go directly to a senior commander in the area and was told “I don’t want to hear again about this nonsense. If you all bother us again with these things, you’ll be court-martialed.” It would seem that it was not only the government that failed to heed warnings.

We cannot undo what has been done, we can only try to bring as many hostages as possible back home to their families.  There is talk that with the arbitration of Qatar and the USA there might be a deal on the table for an exchange of hostages, although one cannot rely upon Hamas to adhere to any deal, unless under threat from its financiers. The outside pressure must be absolute with clear consequences for violation of any agreement.

In the midst of national trauma and distress, something good has happened. We all, virtually all, have come to understand that all the divisions, the split in our society that emanated from a cruel strategy within this government, have all but disappeared. The togetherness that always typified our society is returning. As we hear the names of the soldiers lost in battle an entire society understands through the pain of loss it is irrelevant where one’s family was born or in which direction you pray, but rather where they are today – Israeli through and through.

Talking of Israeli through and through, I am so proud of my husband, you know him well, Zvi, Zvi Raviv. Yesterday, together with Valeri and Sheli Silver and thousands of others, Zvi joined the marchers, the families of hostages and their supporters on their march from Tel Aviv to the Knesset, and he walked over 11 kilometres from Hemed Bridge to the Calatrava Bridge at the entrance of Jerusalem. He did not allow himself to give in because of his age, he literally kept right on to the end of the road. Why? Because that’s what we do, we support each other in times of need. We go to the funerals of people we don’t know because perhaps they won’t have a quorum, and then find that thousands attend the funeral of each and every one lost to this war we didn’t want.

I had never heard of Eitan Chitayat, probably because I am 77 and not 25 any more. This podcast of his is worth every second of our listening time. Despite the title it is very calm, accurate and speaks of the way every Israeli, every Jew feels right now. Please, please take the time.

I left you for a few minutes to watch the press briefing by the IDF spokesman Daniel Agari. The CCTV cameras inside Al Shifa hospital show clearly that after the massacre of October 7th hostages were brought into the hospital, some bound some severely injured. There is a clear video of kidnapped Thai and Nepalese men. The IDF found vehicles used to take the Hamas terrorists into Israel and a stolen IDF Jeep. This and other proof that the hostages were brought through the hospital has been presented to the necessary international authorities as absolute proof (as if needed) that Hamas committed war crimes. They hid behind a hospital full of patients, hid essential medication and dug a spider’s web of tunnels, using the hospital as a cover. In addition, the Hamas claim that captured Israeli soldier Noa Marciano, whose body was brought back for burial, was killed by IDF fire was a lie. Pathology has shown that while she was slightly injured when her captor was killed, she was then killed by a member of Hamas. Lies, lies and more lies. Goebbels got it right when he said that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth.  Hopefully I will have a link to the press briefing by tomorrow.

This has been a strange missive, jumping from sad to positive and back to disbelief but I suppose that is life in Israel in a nutshell.

Netta Barzilai as you have never seen or heard her. No tricks, no weird clothes, just a young woman singing acapella of her longing for the love of her life who is lost, lost

Sending you love and prayers for your safety in a dangerous and unpredictable world and ours in a fight for our very existence.