From Three Friends October 11, 2023 First, a recent Harvard B-school grad and former grenadier in the IDF who is as gentle and loving as a lamb. A dual American/Israeli citizen: The place I called home in Israel, a small agricultural commune mostly known up to this point for growing carrots and avocados, was infiltrated by terrorists Saturday morning. It’s a religious community so most of the 150 people there were celebrating a Jewish holiday at the time. Details are still emerging, but as I understood from my friends and family, the terrorists went door to door looking for women and children to take hostage. The men they found they shot at point blank range. People who took shelter in safe rooms had their homes lit on fire to try to force them out or burn alive. Ultimately, after nearly 24 hours, the Israeli army arrived to rescue those who survived. It’s hard to know whether or not to call them lucky, but those taken hostage are now being identified through social media apps, as terrorists continue to torment the living. This story is not a one off or anomaly. Nor was it a surprise to anyone who took seriously what Hamas has been saying publicly for the past 20 years. These attacks were carefully planned and executed across dozens of towns in Israel, and even a music festival where over 200 partygoers were either gunned down or taken hostage while singing songs of peace. Without overstating the impact to me as I was safe in Boston, it is a uniquely horrifying experience to watch terrorists bloody the spaces you once called home. People have asked about ways to help from abroad. Personally, I think the greatest form of support is to stay informed and bear witness. There are also numerous nonprofits that are raising money for emergency medical relief, as well as equipment for soldiers that now need to engage a barbarous enemy. If you need help finding links to these charities, please let me know. While the beginning of this war has been characterized by Jews in fear and sorrow, it will not end this way. In addition to the brutality of the last 48 hours, there are stories emerging of incredible heroism. As but one example, I encourage you to read about Noam Tibon. There are surely many more stories to come. Second, Cyrus Copeland, writing from Philadelphia. This summer, I plugged his start-up planting olive trees in the West Bank and shared his video. Yesterday he texted about Abbas, the lead organizer he’s been working with (who’s already planted 55 farms with 250 trees each): Such sad news, Andy. Abbas’s wife’s family in Gaza were all killed last night. Finally, this from Joseph Cox to his list. Scary and upsetting; but, I think, worth sharing: First, I am unharmed and my family is unharmed. But we are not okay. Before I continue, let me make very very clear that I believe in peace and opportunity for Palestinians. I want a road towards a better reality. You can read my proposed Constitution and see it written right in there. I create provisions that grant full citizenship to Palestinians on a city-by-city basis; with the precondition that they turn over those who incite or carry out violence against Israel. I want an off-ramp in which Palestinians enjoy full rights and lives of freedom. I will go even further. I am a religious Jew, but I do not believe that Jews are the only people with a relationship with G-d. I believe all of mankind is capable of such a relationship – and I believe both Christians and Muslims are monotheists who have their own distinct relationships to G-d. I believe that nobody can simply be disposed of or ignored. All of that said, Israel has been stuck in a halfway point for years. They have been trying to secure peace by giving concessions to the most powerful (and violent) forces in the Palestinian world. The outcome has been predictable – those violent forces become more violent. When Israel has engaged in war, it has been unable to eliminate these groups because of international condemnation driven by concern for civilians. And the outcome has been predictable – those violent forces perfect their exploitation of civilians. Now we have a chance to change that narrative. Israel has an opportunity to bring peace through war. To many Western minds, this seems impossible. But consider that Egypt made peace after being thoroughly defeated in 1973. Germany and Japan made peace, after being thoroughly defeated in 1945. Once your enemy gives up on war, peace is possible. But, until now, Israel could not conduct a war so thorough that that would be possible. Until now. Now the sickness of the society created by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and all the others has been revealed. Now Israel can strike – as the US and UK did against Germany – and deal with the sickness. Now, Israel has an obligation to do so. People who behave like this must be so thoroughly punished that they will never seek to do so again. I am not recommending the targeting of civilians. But I am also not recommending that fighters be spared because they hide behind civilians. Up to 2 million German civilians died in WWII. I am okay with that. The Germans allowed an evil to spread and metastasize and they were made an example of. I see no moral quandary; I see a lesson being taught to German citizens: Never let this happen again. So far, that lesson has held. In this case, Hamas and PIJ and their ilk must be punished. They talk of a victory that will be remembered for generations. I believe those generations should only speak of the terrible, overwhelming, mistake they made. The EU calls for de-escalation. They are quite simply wrong. A crime like this cannot be carried out and then simply ignored. It must be punished and in so thorough a way that it would not be conceived of for generations to come. If you do not do this, you encourage this sort of illness. Your society – the world’s society – will collapse into murder and mayhem. So that is the opportunity. We lost well over a thousand innocent woman and children – and men and soldiers who wanted peace. If Israel had ever decided to engage in an act like this, millions would be dead. We do not want this – and the evidence in clear. We have never engaged in this sort of slaughter. The world imagines that a Palestinian state will bring peace, but this slaughter shows what the Palestinian powers actually want: an orgy of murder. They want 8 million dead Jews strewn in the streets. They are building – from the much more powerful rockets of Hezbollah to the nuclear weapons of Iran – the capability to deliver that dream. Now, this slaughter has enabled Israel to do what needs to be done. Only this kind of slaughter could enable Israel to suppress the sickness in Palestine – just as had to be done in Germany. We can never accept what has happened; we can never internalize it. We can never stop mourning. But we must step through the door that has been opened. If your friends or your leaders say: “I hope for an end to the conflict soon” or “I hope the fighting will stop soon” or “We hope there will be de-escalation and a cease fire” DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM. There must be war now. There is a moral imperative to strike out this evil. And, afterwards, there can be peace. I do not hope for peace now. In a few weeks or a few months, when the followers of Hamas and PIJ are all dead – then I will want peace. Peace with an understanding that the dream of killing all the Jews will never be realized. This is not a cycle of violence, this is a closure of violence. There is an overwhelming strand of thought that will rear its head in the weeks to come. I’ve seen it already. “The Jews are occupiers and so they deserve no protections and no safety.” Do you know who settled Sderot – the largest city overwhelmed? Jewish refugees from the Arabic world. In fact, the Muslim and Arab worlds expelled 99.5% of their Jewish populations. This is ethnic cleansing. Even the Nazis only managed 80%. Israel is a land of refugees – many from Europe but mostly from the Arab and Muslim world. Communities that were thousands of years old – in Iraq, Egypt, Syria and elsewhere – were erased. Property was taken and the people expelled. They came to Israel. In Israel those same Arab-Muslim states and people hoped to finish the job. They wanted to drive the Jewish people into the Sea. They wanted to kill all of us. They failed. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, they failed. Today 20% of Israel is made up of Arab citizens – full citizens. There are 2 million Arabs in Israel, and 15 Jews in Egypt. Not 15 thousand, 15. There are 2 million Arabs in Israel and 0 Jews in Iraq. Our greatest text is the Babylonian Talmud – and there are no more Babylonian Jews. Israel is a country of refugees who organized and said “THAT IS ENOUGH.” Well, the time has come to say it again. THAT IS ENOUGH. It does not matter whether the Jews are occupiers or the just inhabitants of this land. We are a people who were harried and slaughtered in the years leading up to the establishment of our State – and ever since. We are a people who have a right to live – like any other people. It just so happens that we now live under self-rule in the land of our ancestors. We have demonstrated we will live in peace with Arabs and Muslims who will live in peace with us. We embraced peace with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt and, G-d willing, with Saudi Arabia. We left Gaza so we could have peace. We left South Lebanon so we could have peace. We presented Arafat and Abu Mazen with the opportunity to have their own state. But many Palestinian Arabs, as shown over the weekend, still want our elimination. They want an orgy of murder that makes this weekend look like a blip on the radar. We cannot allow that to happen. This is a dream that must be crushed. I am asking you, all of you, to be our advocates. When people say “there should be a de-escalation” or “Israel should stop” or “I wish the fighting would stop” – step out of your comfort zone and your platitudes and say “no!” Just as a murderer cannot be allowed to walk free – because of the rot he will create in society – a murderous society cannot be allowed to slaughter without consequences. Explain us. Explain why we are doing what we are doing. And do not take the empty moral road that will once again lead to us the Jews being made into the villains in this story. Those same villainous Jews who slaughter children to make Matzah, steal organs from prisoners and poison candies for pleasure. Don’t allow those lies to become ‘truth’. For years Israel has been criticized for its fight against these forces. “Why shoot people who approach the border fence, they haven’t hurt anybody??” I hope the reasons behind our actions are clear now. We do not allow them pipes so they cannot make rockets. We do not allow them tractors so they cannot drive over barricades. We deprive them of so much because we know – have long known – that the orgy of murder is what they desire. But we do not need this to be the reality in the future. We can create peace through war. At this point, there is no other way. Hamas will not become partners in anything – they are murderers who will see any weakness as proof of their power. Our lesson must be so complete that peace will be possible. And then Gaza, a beautiful place, can have tractors and skyscrapers and industry and wealth and freedom. Just like Germany and Japan. Heart-breaking, all three.