The news of the horrific Hamas terror attacks in Israel during the holiday of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah left us shaken. As we learned details of the coordinated attack – including the snatching of dozens of civilian and military prisoners and transporting them to captivity in Gaza – we gasped in utter disbelief.
The brutality of the wholesale murder of innocents was difficult to comprehend. The gruesome images online and on social media were heartbreaking. And the horror of terrorists and Gaza’s citizens mocking kidnapped Israeli women, children and elderly who were triumphantly paraded through the streets is seared in our collective memory. The attack was catastrophic. The brutality was mind-numbing.
Questions regarding intelligence and security failures that knew nothing about the carefully planned and executed attack and concern over what appeared to be the flat-footed response of the IDF are deeply worrisome. But those are issues for another day. In response to the attacks, Israel must be given reasonable latitude to do what is necessary to defend its borders, protect its citizenry, secure the return of the hostages and provide sufficient deterrence to Hamas and any other terror actor that contemplates a similar attack on Israel.
We commend the Biden administration and the overwhelming majority of members of Congress who condemned the Hamas attack and pledged to support Israel and her need to respond to the terror outrage. And we appreciate the administration’s warning to those who might consider piling on to the Hamas effort to stay away. Similarly, we find comfort in the steps taken by the U.S. government and military to assure Israel and provide clear indications of U.S. resolve on the issue.
While we support Israel’s need to respond forcefully and understand the urge for revenge, we trust that Israel’s response will be driven by safety and security objectives rather than vengeance. The results and consequences of Israel’s response will not be pretty. There will be destruction and further loss of life. But such is the clear language of deterrence that must be pursued.
Unfortunately, the pattern of public and international reaction to this situation is predictable. There is initial sympathy for the victim until the victim is perceived as the aggressor. And once the images of devastation from a response are published, the underlying barbarism of the initial attacks will be quickly forgotten.
What will follow is an inevitable chorus urging moderation and restraint and political pressure to stop fighting. We won’t forget the horror of the attacks. And so long as Israel’s response is directed to the goal of protecting the country’s safety and security and the return of kidnapped prisoners, we support the effort.
We grieve all loss of life. And we wish that Israel could accomplish its wholly legitimate goals without further loss of life. But we know that’s not possible against an enemy sworn to Israel’s destruction and to the annihilation of the Jewish people. Hamas and those who promote Jew hatred and death must be crushed.
Now is the time for unity in Israel and Jewish communities across the globe. Let’s put our political differences aside and stand as one with Israel.