The pain of seeing what has happened to our Israeli brethren has not subsided. I can only imagine the pain and anguish and fear that those in Israel are going through. It feels like a mass shivah. The media, including CNN, FOX, and MSNBC, have broadcasted one horror story after another. In two instances, the person being interviewed, including the father of an eight-year-old girl, said that it was better to hear that their child was killed than taken captive by Hamas. This shocked the interviewers. I learned that the Talmud says that being held as a captive is worse than being killed.

How our leaders react in these situations is significant. Both President Biden and Former President Trump have made comments about the situation in Israel. Before I quote them, I have two questions. Whose comments are going to be received better in Israel? If you were in Israel and in the position that our fellow Jews are in, which comments would give you solace and hope and which would anger you?

President Biden’s first comments on October 10 included: “You know, there are moments in this life when the pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world. The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend.  The bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas — a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews. This was an act of sheer evil. More than 1,000 civilians slaughtered — not just killed, slaughtered — in Israel. Parents butchered using their bodies to try to protect their children. Stomach-turning reports of being — babies being killed. Entire families slain. Young people massacred while attending a musical festival to celebrate peace — to celebrate peace. Women raped, assaulted, paraded as trophies…

“Families hid their fear for hours and hours, desperately trying to keep their children quiet to avoid drawing attention. And thousands of wounded, alive but carrying with them the bullet holes and the shrapnel wounds and the memory of what they endured. You all know these traumas never go away.

There are still so many families desperately waiting to hear the fate of their loved ones, not knowing if they’re alive or dead or hostages.

“Infants in their mothers’ arms, grandparents in wheelchairs, Holocaust survivors abducted and held hostage — hostages whom Hamas has now threatened to execute in violation of every code of human morality. It’s abhorrent. The brutality of Hamas — this bloodthirstiness — brings to mind the worst — the worst rampages of ISIS. This is terrorism. But sadly, for the Jewish people, it’s not new. This attack has brought to the surface painful memories and the scars left by a millennia of anti-Semitism and genocide of the Jewish people…

“We stand with Israel. And we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack. Like every nation in the world, Israel has the right to respond — indeed has a duty to respond — to these vicious attacks. We’re surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome. If the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming. Let me say again — to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t.”

Trump’s comments on October 11 at the Palm Beach Convention Center included:

“Two nights ago, I read all of Biden’s security people – can you imagine? – national defense people, and they said, ‘Gee, I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack from the north because that’s the most vulnerable spot. I said wait a minute, you know Hezbollah’s very smart. They’re all very smart….

“But Hezbollah, they’re very smart,” “And they (Israel) have a national defense minister or somebody saying I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack us from the north. So the following morning they attacked. They might not have been doing it, but if you listen to this jerk, you would attack from the north because he said that’s our weak spot.

“I’ll never forget that Bibi Netanyahu let us down. That was a very terrible thing.” “So when I see sometimes the intelligence. You talk about the intelligence or you talk about some of the things that went wrong in the last week, they’ve gotta straighten it out because they’re fighting potentially a very big force. They’re fighting potentially Iran, and when they have people saying the wrong things, everything they say is being digested by these people because they’re vicious and they’re smart, and boy are they vicious because nobody’s ever seen the kind of sight that we’ve seen. Nobody’s ever seen it. But they cannot play games. We were disappointed by that, very disappointed. But we did the job ourselves, and it was absolute precision, magnificent, beautiful job. And then Bibi tried to take credit for it. That didn’t make me feel too good. But that’s alright. So they gotta strengthen themselves up.”

A billboard in Tel Aviv displayed, “Thank you, Mr. President (Biden).” The Israel defense minister stated that “we will receive the second aircraft carrying essential munitions to the IDF,” and “US deployment of assets on land and in air and at sea sends a strong message to our partners and enemies in the region.”

I don’t see too many people in Israel thanking Trump for his comments. For example, the Israel Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said that it is “shameful that a man like that, a former US president, abets propaganda and disseminates things that wound the spirit of Israel’s fighters and its citizens.” “We don’t have to bother with him and the nonsense he spouts.”

Right now, our focus is doing what we can to get Israel as much support as possible. For the last week, the media coverage has been very sympathetic to the plight of Israelis. It is slowly starting to change, as the media focuses on Gaza. For example, on Friday, NPR interviewed a doctor and member of a party in the area controlled by the PA in the West Bank. There was no mention of Hamas, the deaths in Israel, or the hostages. It was the doctor claiming that Israel is planning to engage in ethnic cleansing in Gaza like they did in 1948.  It would be like interviewing the most infamous German doctor, Joseph Mengele, in 1944, and him complaining about the bombing of German cities.

Whether you like Biden or not, he has said the right things, showing US support by sending USS Gerald Ford and other ships, and having high-ranking members of the administration come to Israel including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Also, the President met with representatives of major Jewish organizations in Washington. Many Republicans have praised the President for his comments and approach to the crisis. This is not the time to take cheap shots at the President. 

Warren S. Hecht is a local attorney. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.