What Americans Don't Get about Israelis Fighting for Their Lives

(JNS-Israel Hayom) Jonathan S. Tobin - The war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas is between a democratic nation fighting for its existence against an Islamist movement whose goal is the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. Yet many outside of Israel are increasingly speaking of ending the war as soon as possible. This means that Hamas survives - and gets away with mass murder. It means the Palestinians are rewarded with an independent state. Somehow, that makes sense in Washington. But not in Israel. The overwhelming majority of Israelis see it very differently. The battle with Hamas isn't one about Israelis ruthlessly harming Palestinians. The hotels in Israel are full, but not with tourists. They're packed with hundreds of thousands of Israelis - families with small children and elderly people - who were forced to flee their homes near Gaza and near Lebanon due to rocket and missile fire from Hamas and Hizbullah. They have been omitted in the breathless coverage of Palestinian suffering. The Israelis who were called back into the military and willingly risked their lives fighting in Gaza, though eager to resume their regular lives, are just as ready to return to the battlefield because they know the job of destroying a deadly threat to their country isn't finished. Few Israelis are prepared to halt the war until all of the perpetrators of the Oct. 7 massacres are stripped of the ability to repeat their crimes. Morale among Israeli soldiers is high and stretches across all the cultural, political, and religious debates. They don't want to kill Palestinians and also grieve the loss of so many of their comrades - casualties made more likely because of the strict rules of engagement to lower the number of civilians killed, that prevent the Israel Defense Forces from fully utilizing the firepower at their disposal. Israeli soldiers know that they are defending their homes and families. It's the civic faith in the justice of their cause that resonates throughout Israeli society and pervades the thinking of those who have sent their loved ones to battle. It is also felt by the grieving families of those who didn't come home. Israel is a nation united by both anguish and determination. Israelis understand that their opponents are not in far-off lands like in America's wars in recent decades. The horrors of Oct. 7 were not a one-off act. Israel has suffered many terrorist attacks in which large numbers of civilians were killed by Islamist murderers, but Oct. 7 was the worst of them all. What made it resonate throughout Israeli society was the certain knowledge that it was intended as a trailer for what Hamas - and the majority of the Palestinian population that supported and still supports those actions - intends to do to the rest of Israel.

2024-02-20 00:00:00

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