Author of "Embracing Auschwitz" and "Mensch•Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi - Wisdom for Untethered Times." Winner of the Rockower Award, the highest honor in Jewish journalism and 2019 Religion News Association Award for Excellence in Commentary. Musings of a rabbi, journalist, father, husband, poodle-owner, Red Sox fan and self-proclaimed mensch, taken from essays, columns, sermons and thin air. Writes regularly in the New York Jewish Week and Times of Israel.
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
In This Moment: Our Second Worst Nightmare
In This Moment
******** I'll be doing a Zoom Meet-Up on Wednesday evening at 7:30. This will give people of all ages a chance to comfort one another, shed a tear and share ideas together. It is open to all adult members of the congregation family (teens are meeting in person on Tuesday), including college students and other 20-somethings. To get the Zoom link you will need to email either Mindy in our office (email@example.com) or me directly, by Wednesday afternoon.********
Our (Second) Worst Nightmare
Our worst nightmare was what happened on October 7. The deliberate and sadistic massacre of 1,400 at the hands of genocidal terrorists from Hamas. To get a small sense of how sadistic they were, and how the mission was clearly to murder and torture civilians, read David Horovitz's report from southern Israel.
The second worst nightmare occurred today - mass casualties at a Gaza hospital. Israel claims to have proof that the source was a failed Islamic Jihad rocket, not an Israeli airstrike. No matter, the world, including reputable media outlets like New York Times and Washington Post, had already rushed to judgment. Even as CNN was beginning to discuss Israel's version, it said that it might be too little too late. That's true only if reputable news outlets don't correct the record - outlets, like, say, CNN. Unless Hamas knows that it is lying, they should be the first ones to allow journalists in to inspect the hospital, including the weapons that have probably been stored in the basement.
The truth is that the Islamic Jihad launched a barrage of rockets from a location near the hospital. In this instance, one rocket malfunctioned, ascending and then descending onto the hospital. There are reports that the rocket’s impact ignited munitions stored at the hospital (something Hamas is known to do). While obviously still heartbreaking, Israel was not responsible for this hardship, and the damage from this erroneous report has already begun. Riots against Israel erupted in various locations around the world.
Israel, like any other nation, has made mistakes in the past. In the era before precision-guided munitions, it might have been conceivable for an errant strike to hit a hospital. However, in this modern age with advanced weaponry, the likelihood of the Air Force committing such an error is extremely minimal. Despite this, the international media jumped to widely disseminate the false narrative spread by Hamas. Arab leaders were equally quick to condemn Israel’s incorrectly reported actions.
The second worst nightmare, though, is not that Israel might be responsible for these deaths. The nightmare is simply that hundreds of innocent people died today in an explosion in a hospital. We can get so caught up in the fog of war that we develop an acute case of brain fog. If we are so angry at Hamas that our consciences become muddled to the point where we do not feel a pang of sadness at this massive loss of innocent life, then we have allowed our anger at Hamas to infect our souls.
So please say it out loud: It's a nightmare because innocent people died.
But it's also a nightmare because it could upend Israel's stated goal of effectively ending Hamas's rule in Gaza. If President Biden were to force the Israelis to end the operation prematurely, it would be our third worst nightmare. I pray that doesn't happen. Already, Arab leaders have backed out of a meeting with Biden that was scheduled for tomorrow.
And the greatest victims would be those very people whose loved ones died in that hospital today. For the deaths at the hospital were yet another example of how Hamas has inflicted pain on its own population. No matter who pulled the fateful trigger today, if Hamas had acted as a civilized entity on October 7, those patients would still be alive, along with thousands of Israelis and Palestinians.
So therefore, rather than derailing the military objectives, what happened today makes it even more important that Israel fulfill its mission to rid the world of this evil; for the sake of the children of Gaza, as well as their own.
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