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Dec. 19, 2023-7 Tevet, 5784

12/18/2023 02:16:47 PM


Last Friday, the eighth day of Hanukkah, was dark and dismal as no day had been since October 7. That was the eighth day of the Sukkot Festival. In my sadness at the three hostages who fell to friendly fire, the irony was inescapable. They were asking for help, doing so as the Israel Defense Forces suggested. Now they are gone, and the soldiers involved bear the weight of the world. 

How many more will yet become casualties of Hamas’ aggression? The reports of 20,000 Palestinian civilians—unverified—are a stain on Israel’s reputation. After years of avoiding conflict, Gaza lies as rubble, an apocalyptic setting atop the many tunnels that have been destroyed. Many years of effort to establish a built environment are gone. 

It seems easy to follow the reluctance of the UK, of Germany, of France, to see full on battle continue unabated. Washington continues sending senior officials to urge caution, and intelligence officials to try to restart negotiations for the release of remaining hostages and POW’s. Showing a limited understanding of the critical situation for Israel, US funding extensions hang by a thread. Defense weapons used by the Iron Dome anti-missile system have prevented Israeli cities and towns from being reduced to match Gaza. 

Is there a place for hope in the darkness? Israeli commitment to their country is deep. Most Jews in the diaspora stand with Israel. Yet some are so moved by the plight of Palestinians, and perhaps unaware of the lengths Hamas goes to use civilians as shields, to build military bases in the heart of settlements, to create the subterfuges that allowed the attack on October 7. Nor do we learn much about the long-term flow of funding that Hamas has propped up for military purposes.

Ideally, a state of Palestine will come into being. It could have 75 years ago, and at multiple junctures since. Egypt and Jordan each have reaped the benefits of peace and stability. I don’t think of them as allies or democracies. But the system can work.

We pray for peace. We sustain Jews locally and abroad. Our hope will come when Israel sees the viability of a Jewish state. Let us walk together.

Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784