30 days – our shloshim
5th November 2023
I just saw the date and realised that tonight is Guy Fawkes night. As a child that meant loads of friends in our field behind the house, great fun, toffee apples, potatoes in the bonfire and fireworks, but I never thought about why we had all of the above when Guy Fawkes actually made a failed attempt to blow up Parliament! I promise that no such thoughts are in my mind but I wonder about all those demonstrators for “Free Palestine”. Do they understand that the purpose of those organizing the demonstrations want to do just that, to destroy free governments as we know them? Actually the new shout is “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and then the next few words WEST IS NEXT. They couldn’t care about Palestine; they care about overthrowing our way of life. I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to start like that, but it sort of just happened. I’m afraid for our world.
According to Al Jazeera there were many demonstrations all over the Western world in support of the “people of Palestine” who are “under siege” and most of all being killed by the invading Israeli troops “in a brutal onslaught”. How quickly have they forgotten the reason for Israel’s response? The demonstration in London was described by the pro-Hamas groups as a million people march, which obviously it wasn’t, but it was frighteningly large, maybe 30,000 and several policemen were attacked for daring to try and keep order. In each of the marches, in France, London, New York, Washington and so on, they marched against the government for their support of Israel, but I am not sure why they marched against the Canadian Prime Minister because he is just about the only one in the West who hasn’t come out openly against Hamas or for Israel’s right to defend herself.
Anyway, enough of your troubles, you clearly understand them only too well, but let me tell you about what has been happening in the last two days since I last wrote to you. The IDF now has Gaza City surrounded, but the cost in young lives is steep. As I have told you many times, we all know each other in this tiny country and thousands go to each funeral of a fallen soldier, to support the family. In the past the Prime Minister would go to every home of a fallen soldier, to comfort the family, but not this time. Why? Partly because the Prime Minister would not be welcome; partly because if he did then there may well be demonstrations outside the shiva home and nobody wants that. Anyway, I don’t want to discuss the current government (apart from the War Cabinet) because that time will come; in the meantime, we have a war to win and win it we will.
It was no shock to anyone when the Hezb-Allah joined the fray. After all they had a perfect opportunity and are well supplied with much more up-to date armaments by Iran. However, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezb-Allah, came out of his bunker to speak to his troops and chose to distance himself from the horrors of October 7th, even if he is inflicting a different type of terror on the towns of the North of Israel. Interestingly enough Hezb-Allah is Shia Islam and Hamas Sunni. Why interesting? Because usually Shia and Sunni Moslems are at war with each other for the control of the world, but this time they have a common enemy, that tiny dot of land in the Middle East called Israel. Indeed, the only other situation where they come together is the concept of a Caliphate, taking over the entire world and everyone recognising Islam and the teachings of Mohammed.
We are still uncertain of the exact number of those kidnapped by Hamas and held hostage, held under terrifying conditions and until now the Red Cross has not seen, or tried to see, the hostages, something unheard of even in the most extreme situations. That’s right, the Red Cross who go in to every imaginable place to tend to and visit hostages have not been to check on the Israeli hostages. Children and babies are among the hostages https://news.sky.com/story/israel-hamas-war-who-are-the-37-young-hostages-held-in-gaza-12999303#:~:text=Some%20of%20the%20youngest%20hostages,their%20parents%20Shiri%20and%20Yarden.
On November 4th 1995, our world changed, Israel changed, we lost so much more than a leader, Yitzchak Rabin, Chief of Staff, Prime Minister, we lost a beloved leader, a true leader who was taking us on a path to peace. We mourned the loss of Israel as we knew it. After horrific incitement by the far right, a Jew assassinated our Yitzchak. The world mourned with us “Shalom Haver”. Our world changed and we all look at each other and say “if only”.
Yesterday, close friends, Ronit and Yossi Dagan, went to Tel Aviv, to the large area in front of the Tel Aviv Museum, where, as in many places in the world, a table was set for the hostages of Hamas, each chair labelled for the hostage who should be sitting there. A tent city has been created, with the help of Brothers and Sisters at Arms, the reservists who changed from demonstrating against the current government to ensuring that both the families of those killed and of those kidnapped are taken care of, which the government is not doing. The families of the hostages intend sleeping in the tents until their loved ones come home. Yossi and Ronit came to us on their way back to Jerusalem, broken by the distress of the families. “All we could do was hold them, hug them. What on earth do you say to someone who doesn’t know the fate of their loved ones?” Zvi then went with Yossi and Ronit to a demonstration near where the Netanyahus are currently living, intending to hear a speaker who had five family members taken hostage. They left when the demonstration turned political. Now is not the time. The time will come.
Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari speaks beautiful English and here he is talking to YOU. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFijIRmoXHU&t=43s
Lucy Aharish, the Israeli Arab journalist, is not fazed by the reaction of supporters of Hamas, a she said just now on her news programme “Israel is not in this for a popularity contest, we are in it to survive; we are in it to return the hostages and finish the oppressive rule of Hamas in Gaza. The only thing that Hamas and the people of Gaza share is a common language”
We have some incredible young people, Israeli and outside Israel; Moslems and Jews, who are doing a terrific job on social media. I have to admit that my favourite at the moment is unquestionably Tashaga Araro! She gorgeous, brilliant and a soldier! https://www.instagram.com/p/CzOrf1Nt4Wi/ Her style is what we need to reach the young people who have had their gullible minds turned by Jew haters. We need someone who can talk to them in their language.
Zvi and I are trying hard to keep our lives as normal as they can be. We worry about the children, the grandchildren, all of whom are in sensitive places – gosh I never thought that I would say that Tel Aviv is a “sensitive” place! The city that claims to never stop has been stopped in its tracks by the constant missile attacks. Leor sends us photographs of his almost daily forays into the agricultural fields of the Salad Trail, aka the Gaza envelope, to help gather in the crops. The photos display huge cabbages, fennel root, spring onions, in fact everything that requires physical effort, while successfully running a huge company!
Rachel’s huge Shabbat goody bags and freshly baked Challot were accepted with gratitude and delight by the refugees. Yes I use the word refugees because the over 250,000 people who have been removed from their homes, either because their homes were destroyed on October 7th or because they are in the line of fire from missiles, REFUGEES in their own country. It emphasises the vast difference between Israel and our neighbour to the South. We remove people so that they will not be harmed and Hamas is shooting people who try to escape. Yes, shooting them! Israel is still sending sms messages, flyers and actually calling people to move south, away from Gaza City where the confluence of the spider’s web of Hamas tunnels is concentrated. We care for the ordinary citizens but we also care for the lives of our soldiers. For us each and every soldier is someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s sister, someone’s friend, husband, wife. In our efforts to preserve the lives of Gazans.
You know what? The more I think about it the sheer hatred of “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free” simply strengthens our conviction that Israel is the only place, the only haven, the tiny piece of land from which we have been exiled too many times.
To release some of our angst, Zvi is going to sing tonight, with his choir “Hakol Yachassi” and I ma going to walk down to the library in the village of Motza Illit for a …….well actually I don’t know what for but it is something about creativity! I’ll tell you all about it I promise. Togetherness, a determination to lift each other’s spirits, to make sure everyone is cared for, to help, those are the watchwords of the moment. We are determinedly fighting depression and fear by bringing love to others. About two months ago a young and upcoming Israeli singer/songwriter called Yagel Oshri wrote a song entitled “Letset mi dika’on” To get out of Depression. Nobody knew at the time that it would become the anthem of our current situation and it has had millions of hits on YouTube to say nothing of the younger social media sites. I’m sorry that it has no English translation but I am certain that you will recognise the haunting music and connect to his words, albeit without understanding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XIZ_T_vg_E
I send you love and gratitude for your apparently part attention to my musings. I can’t promise to keep up the pressure of a letter each day, but I promise that the moment there is something important you will be the first people I will tell.
Stay safe, stay strong and soon your children will be able to walk in the streets with their school uniform, their skull caps or with a star of David around their necks.