A full month has passed since the horrible attacks by Hamas against Israel, which led us into this war. I know in America, Halloween has passed, and everyone is now gearing up for Thanksgiving, and the Holiday season. It’s kind of like an alternate reality over here, like we living are on two different planets. We are still reeling from the shock and aftereffects of last month, in mourning, as well as being in a full-blown war.

Much information has come out since that awful day, October 7. Some of it is sad and difficult:

- We still have approx. 240 kidnapped innocent people being held in Gaza by the terrorists, with almost zero information about their wellbeing (where oh where is the Red Cross?? The UN??  Why do these humanitarian organizations exist, if not for situations like these? The UN is busy worrying about Gaza civilians, but not a single peep from them about the 240 Israeli kidnapped civilians, including 30 children? Why?)

- Since starting the offensive to crush Hamas, we have lost over 30 IDF soldiers in battle.

- Hamas continues, as they did on October 7 and for many years prior, to launch rockets at Israeli civilians, causing air raid sirens to go off daily all over the country, to cause injuries and deaths, and damage to homes.

- The insane situation of watching other countries, celebrities, social media, and college campuses across the US side with the Palestinian Arabs on this issue - despite it being Hamas who started everything with their horrific slaughter, rape, murder of over 1400 innocent civilians in Israel.

I am at a loss for words. Watching people on interviews, saying, “Well, the Palestinians are oppressed, what do you expect them to do?” My goodness. Are these people getting their history lessons solely from TikTok?  They don’t seem to know that Israel gave up Gaza in a quest for peace in August 2005.  That the minute Israel uprooted over 9000 Jewish citizens from their Gaza homes, and left Gaza in the hands of the Palestinians, what happened?  The people of Gaza voted Hamas into power, and the rockets began to be launched at Israel almost immediately.  So much for peace.  We realized our mistake pretty quickly, but it was too late.

Since then, the Arabs of Gaza have become victims of their own leaders.  Their children are taught from infancy to hate Jews, to hate Israel, and to glorify the terrorists.  To them, it is the highest honor to die as a martyr. They have TV programs for the smallest children (think Sesame Street in America) that sing songs with puppets to three year olds,: “We shall liberate Jerusalem with our blood,” and, «Oh, to be a martyr for Palestine,” etc.  

They run summer camps for young boys in Gaza, teaching them to be jihad warriors from ages 7,8,10,12 - to dress in black with green headbands, to do military drills, to admire the Hamas terrorists as heroes, the way an American kid admires a star NFL quarterback or baseball player.  You get the picture.  Is there any hope of peace when they have been indoctrinated since toddlerhood to want to kill the Jews, to wipe Israel off the map? 

When they chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” that’s what they mean.  Look at a map.  The river is the Jordan River, the Sea is the Mediterranean Sea - the eastern and western borders of Israel.  When they sing that song, on all the campus rallies and in all the world cities, they are calling for the elimination of Israel, and let’s just be direct - for the extermination of the Jewish people.  That is their goal.

The world news and Hollywood celebrities continue to post about the poor people of Gaza being bombed, how terrible it is, how Israel is to blame.  Has no one seen the videos Hamas took on Oct 7?  Hundreds of terrorists filming on the body cams they proudly wore, as they slaughtered their way through house after house, kibbutz after kibbutz, over 22 communities destroyed. Over 1400 people murdered in horrific ways. Some of the terrorists took the cell phones of the Jewish women they captured, took videos of the rapes, the killings, beheadings, and sent those graphic videos to the phone owner’s parents. It is very difficult for a moral, G-d-fearing person to grasp the level of cruelty and depravity at play here.  This is what we are up against.

There are survivor testimonies online; has no one seen them?  What exactly do CNN, the BBC, and the empty-headed actresses expect Israel to do in response to the worst massacre against our people since the Holocaust?  Hold a peace rally?  Or just not respond, just let it slide?  

I do not apologize.  We are right to fight back, to try and get our kidnapped babies, children, men, women, and grandparents back home.  To try and stop Hamas from terrorizing our people with the rockets they launch daily at our cities.  Kidnapping innocent people is wrong.  Snatching 1400 innocent people off the street, out of cars, pulling whole families from their beds and murdering them in cold blood in their pajamas, is evil.  If people can’t see that, then they have a serious moral problem, and possibly no soul left at all.

To all of the delusional “woke” college students marching, protesting - I would make them each sit down and watch some of the videos the Hamas took that day on their body cameras.  It’s out there.  Go on YouTube.  See if you can sit through even five minutes.  Don’t tell me that is not evil.  What would you do if that was your girlfriend, bound and herded into a pickup truck at gunpoint, or your mother, or your child?

I’ll add one more point.  For all the talk about the innocent people of Gaza, with the mass outpouring of concern from the entire world, I have yet to see a single Arab country come forward to help.  Where are they, the 22 Arab nations, some of the wealthiest countries on the planet?  Surely if there is such a concern for the fate of the Palestinians, one or two of these nations would offer refuge, offer to take in some of these people of Gaza.  Have you heard of any such initiative?  When the Jewish people were fleeing out of Europe to escape the Nazis in the 1930s, 1940s, they were taken in by Jewish communities wherever they could get to. My own father-in-law, whose parents were Austrian, was born in Cuba for this very reason. They were offered refuge, they took it.  They were helped by their own.  That is what a family does.  Where then, is the massive mobilization of help from the Arab nations, for their Arab brethren of Gaza?  The silence is awfully loud.

In a bizarre twist, it is Israeli soldiers on this very day as I write, who are helping the people of Gaza escape!  The IDF has been bombing Hamas targets and tunnels (over 300 miles of underground tunnels - in case you were wondering where all the billions of dollars of aid Gaza receives each year went to, lots of it built terror infrastructure and rockets, instead of feeding their own people).  Unfortunately, Hamas builds their command centers and weapons storehouses beneath hospitals and schools, so sometimes innocent people are killed in the bombing of Hamas - a sad fact of war.  Maybe if Hamas put the lives and safety of their own people first, such things would not happen.  So the IDF is bombing, massively, as the world is telling you - but they are not targeting innocent people.  Just the opposite.  They have dropped tens of thousands of leaflets in Arabic, imploring people to get to Southern Gaza so they are out of harm’s way.  The IDF opened a corridor, to facilitate Gazans to get out.  And what happened?  Hamas is now shooting at both the IDF soldiers, as well as their own Gazan people fleeing.  And Egypt decided to close their border, to stop the influx of refugees. Hopefully they have since opened it.

Sigh. Enough of the sadness. Let us focus on the good. The outpouring of unity and kindness across Israel now, is incredible, and hopeful.

The thousands of families displaced from the Gaza border region are set up in hotels across the country for now.  Makeshift schools have started.  Thousands of people and organizations have donated clothing, toys, baby formula and diapers, medicines, books - everything. 

The hundreds of thousands of IDF reserve soldiers pulled away from their everyday lives are getting donations of equipment they need, from within Israel and abroad. The wives and families they left behind are getting meals delivered and offers of help from caring people to babysit, to carpool, to clean, to cook, to do anything that might help during these unstable times.

There are famous Israeli singers traveling around to different army bases giving makeshift concerts, visiting troops and boosting morale.  

There was one guy who set up a flatbed truck with around ten washing machines, dryers, and generators, and drove to the Gaza border troops and offered to do laundry for the soldiers stationed there in the dust for weeks in dirty uniforms! What a kindness!

Soldiers going to and from base stopping off to buy a coffee, a felafel or pizza, are laughed at when they try to pay.  Everyone is paying for them, or the shop owner gives the meal for free.  The owners of food places are donating every day, sending dozens of pizzas and burgers and everything, to help, to the bases, to the army outposts.

There are mass prayer rallies in all the synagogues, in the schools.

There are hundreds of volunteers going every day to the farms in the Gaza border area, the “breadbasket” of Israeli agriculture, to help pick fruit and vegetables on farms abandoned when the attack happened.  All the foreign workers fled the country, the produce is about to rot in the fields, and so the Israeli people have come forward to volunteer.  There is so much good happening; the country is united, helping one another.

My son Ezra is supposed to get married next week.  We had to cancel the hall, as no large events can be held now due to risk of rocket attacks.  Anyway, many of the guests are currently in the army, so it wouldn’t be the same.

So we thought he could be married on his army base, a new trend which young couples have been doing since the war began.  No one wants to postpone their weddings.

Ezra is busy on patrols, but managed to make a few calls, and voila - the outpouring of love and desire to help was simply incredible. A professional chef is serving in reserve duty on the base Ezra is stationed at; he offered to cook the meal.  Someone else made a call, got the food donated.  Someone else offered to make 100 fancy cupcakes.  Someone else knows a famous musician, called, and got him to do the music.  All of this at no cost.  People just want to help this young soldier and his bride to have a special wedding, even if it will be in a green army uniform on a base, not in a new suit in a wedding hall. There is an outpouring of chesed - kindness, goodness - everywhere you look.

(Update: The base Ezra is at is in an area where Hezbollah has started to increase rocket fire.  As of yesterday, some roads have been closed, and towns in the region were evacuated.  We do not know at this point if the wedding can be held there.  We still have a few days to find out, and make alternate plans if needed.  Nevertheless, total strangers have been so kind, so giving, to help make this wedding.  It is very heartwarming)

Lastly, for news, a new source I found and recommend is jns.org (also their YouTube channel, JNS TV, has videos that explain the situation accurately, along with excellent interviews).

For up to the minute news: timesofisrael.com (although not as conservative, they have accurate war news).

I don’t know if Fox News is still reporting on Israel but in the beginning, they had accurate reports.

And last of all, but certainly not least, I am asking you to please keep Israel in your prayers.  For our soldiers to return home safe, for our kidnapped civilians to be returned home safe.  For the ability to rid the world of evil. It helps to pray, either in your own words, or in the words of the Psalms/Tehillim of King David.

During this time of danger, the psalms that are very appropriate are: Psalms 83, 91, 121, 142, and 143.

Every prayer helps.  

May we hear good news.

 By Tara Brafman
Efrat, Israel