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My Family's current Situation

Fortunately, none of my immediate family were casualties in the horrendous Oct. 7th massacres. At the moment, two of my sons in law and one daughter have been called to the military and are taking part of the operation. My wife is now in Eilat. Eilat is a tourist city with a population of 50,000. Today those numbers have been swelled by 60,000 evacuees from locations around Gaza and from Northern settlements under Hizbollah threat. Israel did the responsible thing, removing civilian population from the war zones. Israel also warned civilian population in Gaza to move away from the war zone. Their government, Hammas, who was voted in by an overwhelming 70% majority of Gazans, is preventing their move, wanting to use them as human shields.

My wife, Aliza, is in Eilat because she is the deputy head of the Emergency Department at Schneider Children's Medical Center – the best children's hospital in the Middle East, and one of the best Children's medical centers in the world. Schneider decided to help out by opening a children's clinic for the evacuees. They send volunteers for a week's work in Eilat. My wife headed the first team that went down. In the picture can be seen the team (my wife is second from right) with the mayor of Eilat.

The clinic is operating but Aliza is now preparing Yoseftal – the local hospital in Eilat, for operation under emergency and in Multiple Casualty Incident mode. Incidentally, my grandson, who was born a couple of weeks ago in Petac- Tikva, spent the first day of his life in the secure underground section of the hospital, because Hammas indiscriminately fires rockets at civilian population, including hospitals. The world thinks this is OK, but when an Islamic Jihad rocket misfired and hit a hospital in Gaza, everyone was very quick to accuse Israel of a war crime. We will speak more of antisemitism later.

The work in the clinic is emotionally draining. Two examples:

1. A woman comes in with kids and says almost crying that she has no money. She is told not to worry, the clinic is free. Whe then says that she also has no papers because "we left everything behind when we fled the house."

2. My wife is checking an 8 year-old kid with fever. She generally engages the kids in conversation. So she asked him: "Tell me, do you have brothers and sisters?". He answered gravely: "I had three, but my 6 months old sister was slaughtered. Also my best friend. And we don't know where daddy is".

Amidst these heat-wrenching stories, the people of Eilat opened their hearts to the evacuees. A government emergency program organized housing in all the hotels.. The stores give 50% off to evacuees, the city offers them free public transportation and opened up all the municipality programs to evacuees for free. There are free babysitting services, and various organizations offering them help.

The Black Sabbath

It all started On Saturday, Oct. 7. It was also the holiday of Simchat Torah – the festivities of the Torah. The Pentateuch is divided to portions, that are read throughout every year. The cycle is finished on Simchat Torah, and started again for the next year. It is one of the most joyous holidays of the year. Coming back from the synagogue, a neighbor told me that there is a tragedy in the South with hundreds of casualties. The full horrific picture only unfolded by the next day – 1400 dead, babies beheaded, pregnant women having their stomachs cut, old people tortured, partying youngsters mowed down, young women raped then killed. One of my sons in law, who is a regular army officer, was home with his wife for the holiday, and by 0900 was called back to base. We heard of the festivities in some Arab countries at the news of the atrocities against Jews, and we knew that we are facing a war for the survival of the country!

Social Aftermath

Israel was founded after WWII. That was the culmination of almost two thousand years of exile, suffering, discrimination, and slaughter of the Jewish people. We all grew up aware of the horrible stories of the Holocaust, as well as atrocities against Jews by our neighbors. Some cases: A pharmacist named Ben Zion Gershon, who took care of both Jews and Moslems, and who was wheelchair-bound, saw his daughter raped in front of him, his wife's arms chopped off, and was then tortured to death. A baker named Noah Immerman, was forced into his oven and burned alive, a Hassidic Jew named Moses Goldschmidt, had his eyes torn out, and his head put on a fire till he died. I could go on and on. This was not done on Saturday, Oct. 7th, 2023, but on Saturday, Aug. 24th 1929 in Hebron. A peaceful Jewish community who had lived in Hebron for hundreds of years was massacred horribly. There are no needed excuses for committing atrocities against Jews.

We all thought that once the Jewish State was created, such horrors will not repeat. Oh, we knew that most Arabs still want to kill us, and we knew that the world is between indifferent and happy to see dead Jews. So when they shot rockets at cities, at schools, at hospitals, at residences, we protected them in ingenious ways by iron dome, and by having building codes that require every house to have a bomb shelter. We did not expect for a moment to have the world yell that these are crimes against humanity, because we did not expect the world to treat us as humans. And we were not wrong. No one cared.

Simchat Torah proved that the old horrors are still there. Even behavior that we only read about in books, came to the fore. I live in Petach Tikva, in the center of Israel and quite far from Gaza. Yet, a neighbor told me that his 26 year-old daughter came to him terrified and said she saw a white Toyota pick-up truck – the vehicles used by the murderers of October 7th. Another yound lady, whose husband was called to reserve duty and she was then alone in her apartment, walked through looking for a good place to hide if murderers break into the house. During one of the sirens, I was with my wife and daughter in the shelter, when some whatsapp messages spread a rumor that the siren was not because of rockets but rather terrorists were seen in Petach Tikva. At that point, I was torn. If it is rockets, I should stay in the shelter, but if it is terrorists I need to take my pistol and go out and ambush them in the alley in case they show up. Turns out it was rockets.

However, think of your life in a modern western city. Imagine suddenly being unsure of any knock on the door whether it is murderers or a neighbor. I am now now armed everywhere I go, and so do many people. There is a huge increase in requests for handgun permits. The municipalities are instituting citizen guard units with assault rifles to patrol the neighborhoods. There are volunteer guard units in the universities, places of work, even synagogues. You will find at least a handful of pistols and a few rifles at every prayer meeting.

Ethical Issues

The country is at war. Immediately voices are heard about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the call for "proportional response". The sickening relativistic morality is brought into play: "Yes, Hammas did horrible things, but (choose your favorite): It is also horrible to see the bombing in Gaza/ they were in an "open air prison"/ the population density in Gaza is awful / etc."

Why is it sickening? Because I would like someone to tell me dispassionately and scientifically, what harm can someone do to me that will justify my chopping off the head of his baby, rape his young daughter, slit open the belly of his pregnant wife, and murder his elderly mother. Can any of you think of an action where this would be the logical response?

Absolutely not! Nothing can justify this. Even the people who committed these atrocities don't deserve this punishment. Consequently, anyone who tries to compare anything to these atrocities, or excuse them in any way, is an abhorrent immoral person! Yet, so many people are supporting Hammas all over the world! Universities have days of support for them! Why? Antisemitism again. Not only is it tolerable to kill Jews in any horrific way (well, we will admit it is not nice), but it is absolutely unthinkable that the Jews will defend themselves – that is a crime against humanity. Humanity desires that a Jew will die quietly and thank the world for its empathy with his suffering. Sickening!!! I am ashamed that the world, universities, the UN, did not evolve and is still in the throes of the ugly medieval antisemitism. Disgusting!!!

As for "proportional response". People, you don't understand. We are not trying to punish Hammas. The situation is akin to someone who finds a poisonous snake who kills his baby. That person is not going to kill the snake's baby as a proportional punishment. What he will do is find the snakes' den and eradicate it, so that no more snakes will come and kill more babies. Hammas was voted by 70% of the Gazan population. At least those 70% are pleased with its policy of killing Jews. The atrocities were not committed by overzealous individuals. We now know that their orders were to commit those atrocities. In order to protect our babies, our daughters, our wives, and our mothers, we need to eradicate the snake den. Completely. So they can not do this again.

Yet we asked the civilian population to move. Their elected officials don't let them do it. Their elected officials use hospitals as military bases. Below is the Geneva convention – in that case the hospital is a military target!

Every lover of freedom, every lover of justice, every moral and ethical person, should fully condemn the atrocities of Simchat Torah, and fully support Israel's war to rid the world of such a poisonous and cancerous group of people. There are no "if"s "and"s or "but"s. Hammas has divorced itself from humanity and Israel has the moral right and duty to eradicate this evil from the world.

Prof. Amihud Amir

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