Monday, February 26, 2024

Never Again is Now!

Anti Netanyahu protestors in Tel Aviv last Motzoi Shabbos (Jerusalem Post)
After almost 5 months there are still over 100 hostages – among them women and children - being held by the Jew hating savage terrorist  group, Hamas. Who knows how much additional barbarism has been committed against them. What we do know based on testimony from freed hostages is that is that they have raped female hostages in front of their husbands and children. Probably multiple times.

I don’t know how they will ever get over that kind of trauma if and hopefully when they are released.  And to a lesser but very significant extent the same thing must be true for the hostage families. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for close family members to think about this day after day for nearly 5 months. 

So I totally understand why they are demanding that the hostages take precedence over the war. I understand the anger they feel as they see their prime minister seeming to place the war ahead of  the hostages. If I were in their shoes I would be enraged at him for not doing everything he can to get their family members released from the virtual hell they are experiencing now - for what must seem like an eternity to them. From their perspective ‘Netanyahu doing everything he can’ includes giving Hamas everything they want - if that’s what it takes to get their family members back.

This brings back memories of Gilad Shalit, the young IDF soldier captured by Hamas several years ago. His family felt the same way the families of the current hostages feel now. Netanyahu felt their pain and made ‘a deal with the devil’ releasing 1500 Palestinians prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s release. At the time I thought it was the right thing to do. Shalit’s life was in imminent danger. The release of 1500 Palestinian prisoners was only a potential danger. So for me getting a Jew free from capitivity that might have ended with his death was the right thing to do.

However one of those released Palestinians was Yahya Sinwar who now leads Hamas. It was under his authority that the massacre on October 7th took place,

If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that Israel cannot make that kind of deal again. Which is why Netanyahu called Hamas’s recent conditions for the release of the hostages delusional. Rightly so.

There has been some progress lately on that front. During an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation yesterday the prime minister declared that if Hamas comes up with a more reasonable demand, he will make a deal with them. Israeli negotiators were authorized by Netanyahu to actually negotiate terms of a hostage deal. They made some progress and hopefully a deal can be reached. The ball - said Netanyahu - is in their court. There will be a pause if the fighting (estimated to be about six weeks). And then he said Israel will finish the job.

If I am a family member of one of the hostages that news would give me a modicum of hope and I would not do anything to rock that boat.

But as reported in the Jerusalem Post that is not what happened last Motzoei Shabbos in Tel Aviv: 

Police use a water cannon to disperse protesters during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the current Israeli government, in Tel Aviv, on February 24, 2024.

The mask is off. These protests are no longer about the hostages. That’s just an excuse for continuing the anti Netanyahu protests that consumed the left half of the country before October 7th. The unity that we saw immediately following the October massacre is gone. Back to business as usual. These protestors are using the hostage crisis as an excuse to bash the most hated man (by the left, mostly) in the history of the Jewish state, Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Had this been only about the hostage crisis alone, surely they should have given the current negotiations time to run its course. But they could not resist protesting the man they dispise using the hostage crisis as an excuse. These are surely the very same people that were protesting Netanyahu before October 7th. Not only is using the hostages to bash Netanyahu at a time of war shameful, it is an impediment to the goal of finishing Hamas off! 

Sadly some of the released hostages participated in this protest. One of whom was hit by the spray of those water cannons. I’m truly sorry she had to experience that. I’m sure her motives for being there were mostly about releasing the hostages. 

At the same time, while I sympathize what they must have gone through I nevertheless have to wonder whether the released hostages that participated in this protest participated in the pre war protests. 

I strongly suspect that the motivation behind this protest (and perhaps some of the earlier ones) was just a carryover from  then. Using the hostages as a cover to enable them to protest the prime minister at a time of war. 

If that is the case (and I suspect that it is) it is just plain wrong. 

On the other hand even if this was truly just about Netanyahu putting the hostages first over winning the war, it is nevertheless imperative not to lose sight of that very important goal. And surely not to undermine it with protests like this that will not do anything to get the hostages back. They may as well be protesting Hamas!

Israel wants to prevent this from ever happening again. I agree with that goal. In my view, whether you love him or abhor him, Netanyahu’s determination to destroy Hamas’s ability to ever do that again is the only way of ever getting close to that goal. I don’t want to ever again see another Jew suffer like the hostages or their families. 

Never again is now!