Friday, October 27, 2023

War Diary: What Terrifies Me More Than Anything Else

Today is the 21st day of war. A war that started when Hamas terrorists infiltrated through many breaches in Israel's security fence to massacre more than 1,000 civilians and soldiers in kibbutzim and towns. A war that started when Hamas kidnapped more than 200 Israelis and foreigners and took them captive in Gaza. A war that started when Hamas shot barrage after barrage of rockets into Israeli cities. A war that started when Hezbollah launched mortar attacks across Israel's northern borders.

A war that Israel has no choice but to win. A war for our very existence as the Jewish homeland.

My family is relatively safe. My son and son-in-law are too old for IDF reserve duty. I don't personally know any of the victims or the hostages. But for me, and my family, this is all very personal. If the Hamas terrorists had had their way, they would have continued to drive into the heart of Israel and murder, rape, and pillage. Even today, we have security inspections at the gate of our moshav near Jerusalem. We are on alert.

We grieve

We feel the grief of those who lost their loved ones. We are heartbroken for the families with hostages in Gaza. We are shocked to see the scenes of destruction in the kibbutzim along the Gaza border. Our eyes tear when we hear the stories of the survivors. And our spirits are lifted when we hear of the bravery of those who fought the terrorists.

We are shocked when we see the demonstrations held all over the world, where protestors shout out that Israel is at fault. That the attacks 3 weeks ago (not terror, but acts of militants), were a result of Israel's oppression and occupation of the Palestinians. 'Liberate Palestine' they cry out. Yes, there are deaths in Gaza, as well. Innocent civilians are being killed by Israeli bombs. But those civilians are being held hostage. Hamas is preventing them from evacuating, using them as human shields to safeguard their terrorist leaders.

A terrorist brags about murdering of Jews

Of all this, one thing terrifies me more than anything else. And that is the recording of one of the terrorists as he ran amok in his killing spree on the morning of Saturday, October 7th.

"Look how many I killed with my own hands!" he shouts into the phone of one his murdered victims. "Your son has killed Jews!" he proudly informs his family back in Gaza.

The recording was presented by the Israeli Defense Forces to foreign journalists along with additional recordings, security camera footage, Hamas terrorists’ body cameras and cellphone videos of the terrorists, victims, and first responders.

The next words heard on the video are chilling.

"Check your WhatsApp," he invites his parents, eager to show them images of his victims. "Mom, your son is a hero!'

"I wish I was there with you," she responds.

"Kill! Kill! Kill!" his father implores him.

This is not a war for the liberation of Palestine. Our enemies are not fighting a rightwing Israeli government. They are not acting to stop Israeli settlements or end the occupation. They want to kill Jews. Simply that.

Jews are not safe today anywhere in the world. Take a look at the protests in Europe and at American universities. Jews are not safe in Israel, either. But there is one difference here. We fight back.

This is war, and it is a war that we must win.


Listen to the horrific recording.

# # #

Friday, October 20, 2023

The World Must Hear These Stories

No words can ever give justice to the victims of the horrific Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, 2023. Men and women, teenagers and babies, Holocaust survivors and soldiers – all of them innocent Israelis targeted by Hamas when it invaded their communities, destroyed their homes, murdered them indiscriminately, and took them hostage.

Tragically, more Jews were killed on October 7th than on any other day since the Holocaust. Countless stories are emerging from this tragedy. Firsthand accounts of the horrors as well as tales of those who heroically fought off the terrorists. The world must hear these stories.

A new website provides eyewitness accounts from inside the massacre. is a memorial for the victims and intended to make sure that the stories of survivors who endured unimaginable horrors are never forgotten.

The website was built by a group of dedicated Israeli volunteers who gave their time and skills to keep these memories alive. The site is currently in English, French, and Japanese, with other languages to follow.

Read the eyewitness and survivor stories on And never forget.

Originally posted on The Times of Israel.

Friday, October 13, 2023

My Message to the Innocent Palestinians in Gaza

You have no electricity, water, or fuel. Your homes are being bombed and you have been told to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip, ahead of an IDF ground invasion. You cry out to the world for help. You ask us to hear your pain. But even though the majority of you are innocent, this is difficult, because your leaders attacked us. Attack is not really the appropriate word. It would be more fitting to say that your leaders massacred us.

The loss of civilians anywhere is tragic, and unfortunately many civilians are killed during warfare. But in this case, as in the past, there are two sides and they are not morally equal.

On the one hand, there are those who specifically target civilians. They shoot and kill men and women, children and the elderly, in their homes and at their parties. They take babies and grandparents hostage, and destroy families and burn their homes.

On the other hand, there are those who say 'Evacuate your homes," because, as IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari today told reporters, "We are fighting a terror group, not the Gazan population. We want civilians not to be harmed, but we cannot live with the rule of Hamas-ISIS near our border."

Do you not see the difference? We try not to harm civilians while Hamas specifically targets civilians. They dance in the streets and give out sweets when Israelis are killed, and it doesn't matter if the victim was a soldier or a teenager. Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip in a reign of terror, teaching murder in its curriculum.

Palestinians of Gaza, we made a mistake for many years thinking that Hamas was acting in your better interests. We opened our gates for your workers; we allowed your fishermen to sail their boats. We allowed money into the Gaza Strip, thinking it would be used for schools and hospitals. Instead, Hamas stockpiled rockets and grenades, rifles and mortars. All in a calculated plan to launch a murderous assault on Israeli citizens.

Hamas has failed you and you are paying the price. We know you are suffering, in the dark and without basic necessities, but it is Hamas that is responsible for this war. 

We ask you to get out of the way. We don't want to harm you, and certainly not to kill you. We would prefer to live near you, side by side as peaceful neighbors, and we tried this many times in the past. What we are asking you now is that along with your cries for help, you should also cry out against what Hamas has done, not only to us, but to you as well.

Originally posted on The Times of Israel.

Photo by Mohammed Ibrahim on Unsplash. Photo published on August 13, 2022.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

War Diary: Day 5

Our hearts break again and again with thoughts of Saturday's massacre. Women and children murdered in their homes. Families torn apart by death and destruction. Young infants, elderly grandparents, teenagers—taken hostage into Gaza. Soldiers shot down as they sought to protect innocent civilians. Over 100 members of Kibbutz Be'eri – murdered. 260 youths attending a music festival – murdered. The death toll keeps rising and is now over 1200, with thousands more injured. Our hearts break.

Having lived in Israel for five decades, we have experienced war before. Yom Kippur—when our country was taken by surprise by the armies of Egypt and Syria. The wars in Lebanon. The battles in Gaza. Terrorist attack after terrorist attack. Suicide bombings, stabbings, and even kidnappings. But nothing like this.

My son at forty-years-old no longer reports for service in the IDF reserves. My son-in-law is also over the age. I don't know any residents of the communities near the Gaza Strip. I am not related to any of those murdered, injured, or taken hostage. Yet, this war is very personal to me.

Two days ago, rockets struck near my home in Moshav Neve Ilan. One landed close to Highway 1, near Shoresh. Another landed in Har Adar, injuring two people. Another rocket struck Abu Gosh, near its new mosque. Each time the sirens sound, we take cover, and now we have a concrete saferoom to protect us.

We have been building an apartment on top of our house where my daughter and granddaughter will live. We were close, so close, to finishing the apartment. The kitchen was due to arrive this week and the lighting fixtures were to be installed. But now everything is on hold. There are no workers, no deliveries, no installations.

Our Arab contractor and his brother came to our house two days ago. They took down the temporary wall blocking the stairs leading up to the apartment. Now we can run upstairs to the saferoom when we hear the sirens. This saferoom will serve as my granddaughter's bedroom in better days.

On the moshav, the youth are collecting food to send to the soldiers on the frontlines. Soldiers who will inevitably advance into Gaza in the next stages of this war, ready to give their lives in defense of our country. Civilians are forming long lines to give blood. Schools are closed throughout the country. My office is working remotely from home. There is no traffic on the roads. Silence, mostly, except for the fighter jets in the skies.

Our house shakes when the Israeli Air Force strikes in Gaza. We hear the bombings. When a rocket is intercepted in the skies over Tel Aviv, we hear the explosion. This war is so very near. So very personal.

These are difficult days and there is more hardship ahead. The horrors of Saturday will continue to haunt us for years to come. Israel, which has been so divided over these past few months due to our horrible government (to put it mildly) is united like never before. We are strong. We will get through this.


# # #

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Israel at War. Again.

It's early Saturday morning, October 7th, and my wife and I are sitting on the stairwell in our home with our four-year-old granddaughter listening to the sirens. A boom overhead, a very loud boom. "It's just a game," we reassure our granddaughter, and she laughs. We wait until the sirens stop before returning to the living room.

But this is far from being a game. Just hours before, dozens, maybe hundreds, of Hamas terrorists had driven unimpeded through the Gaza Strip border fence and invaded some twenty kibbutzim and nearby towns. They fired their guns and threw their bombs, murdering over 300 Israeli soldiers and civilians (at latest count) and injuring over 1,500. They abducted an as-yet unknown number of Israelis, including women and children, into the Gaza Strip and their fate is currently unknown.

Hamas captured a number of kibbutzim and entered an Israeli army base. They destroyed at least one tank. They went from house to house on their murderous rampage. They looted and set fire to homes.

By late Saturday night, Israeli security forces had regained control of these communities. Dozens of terrorists were killed after prolonged clashes. Soldiers and policemen were injured; some were killed. Hostages were released. But we are still counting the dead and our citizens are still captive in Gaza.

Israel is at war. Again.

It's early Sunday morning, October 8th. From my home in the Jerusalem Hills, I can hear Israeli Air Force fighter jets on their way to bomb Hamas infrastructure in Gaza. Last night, while watching the television newscast, we could hear the booms of the Iron Dome defense system shooting down Hamas missiles over Tel Aviv. Some of those missiles got through and landed in Israeli cities, causing more injuries and property destruction.

There is one person responsible for what happened yesterday, and it is Prime Minister Netanyahu. He allowed his extremist government to divide the country, to distract us from the real dangers threatening our existence. He was warned that the government's so-called judicial reform and the civilian protests that came in response would be seen by our enemies as a sign that we are weak. And Netanyahu, and his government, refused to listen.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of our finest soldiers and military pilots announced their refusal to report for reserve duty because the government was destroying democracy. Former IDF commanders and security officials spoke out against what the government was doing. And Netanyahu ignored them.

Taken by surprise

Just a few weeks ago, my wife and I saw the film "Golda", which portrayed our late prime minister during the days of the Yom Kippur War, when the IDF was taken by surprise. Even today, there are those who blame Golda Meir for her role in that catastrophe, although top defense officials were much more responsible.

There is no doubt in my mind that one day Netanyahu will be held accountable for what he has done to our country.

But, politics aside, there is something much more disturbing. Israel has the most powerful armed forces in the Middle East. Our intelligence system is regarded worldwide as being one of the best. We take out terrorists with precision strikes, we capture enemy commanders, and we have won the wars that threaten our existence. But yesterday, our military forces failed us.

These are the questions I ask:

·         Why didn't the army know about Hamas's plans, which must have taken months to organize and coordinate?

·         Why did the army rely on a billion-dollar anti-tunnel border system, allowing terrorists to simply drive through the fence to enter Israel?

·         Why didn't the army stop them at the border?

·         Why didn't the Israeli Air Force send our attack helicopters into the skies to bomb the terrorists' easily identifiable white pickup trucks as they sped around the country?

·         Why didn't the army stop the terrorists as they hurried back to Gaza with their Israeli hostages?

·         Why did the army wait for hours to rescue the civilians trapped in their homes as terrorists continued their mission of destruction? These civilians cried out on social media, "Save us!" They spoke with television broadcasters, "I don't know where my family is!" They said they heard Arabic being spoken outside their saferooms. And still the army didn't come.

·         Why did it take so long for the army to regain control of those communities?

·         Why did it take so long for the government to begin to respond with attacks on the Hamas terrorist state in Gaza?

Netanyahu is ultimately responsible for the attack that took us by surprise, but something must be clear. Hamas is a terrorist organization. They are not a humanitarian leadership concerned with the welfare of innocent Palestinians. They are terrorists who don't hesitate to kill women and children. They will stop at nothing in their fight to destroy Israel.

But we will stop at nothing to defend ourselves. Hamas must be defeated, once and for all. We have many days of war ahead, and it will be hard. Painful. Israel will win. Victory will come at a cost and we must be prepared.

This is not a game. This is war. 

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

# # #