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Battles with Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and Iran still rage, but Israelis also remain focused on Diaspora Jewry

Avri Gilad, a leading TV personality, hosts a show called "Mashav." We share part of a recent panel discussion on whether Israel has obligations to Diaspora Jewry.

Ever since the brouhaha in Congress over the three university presidents who were called to testify before Congress on December 5th, Israel news has been consumed not only with the war on this side of the ocean, but with the waves of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in North America.

Today, to give a sense of the kinds of conversations that Israelis are having on those issues, we’re sharing portions of recent TV discussion of on the matter. More on that below.

First, though, a tragic slice of Israeli life that does not make it abroad:

Though many people are now focused on the possible ceasefire-hostage exchange, the brewing conflict on the Lebanese border and Israel’s still worsening relations with the United States (or the Haredi draft bill or the upcoming elections for the Chief Rabbinate and the fury they are arousing—podcast coming on that, soon—or a host of other issues), the most important story here is that Israel is at war.

And that war continues to exact a steady and excruciating cost.

To sense what’s in the air here, one needs to know about these pages of the paper, which appear all the time. (This one is from last Friday, in Yedi’ot Ahronot). While each of the stories is heartbreaking and compelling, we’ll suffice just with the headlines.

  • In the green at the very top: “The heroes who will not return”

  • In the purple, on the right: “Eliya was wounded in Gaza, went back to fight, and was killed in a terror attack”

  • In the yellow, on the left: “Diego decided he was going to enlist for a combat role, even though I told him not to. He always gave everything, even from a young age.”

  • In the orange: “Grandma Ninette lost two grandsons in the space of three weeks.” Photos of the recent loss on the right, and the other grandson killed a few weeks ago on the left.

With Hamas far from destroyed, with Lebanon still heating up and the government now being asked to approve the call-up of 350,000 reservists (again) in August, pages like these, tragically, are unlikely to disappear from the news any time soon.

Israelis are facing an unfolding crisis, but also an important opportunity to rebuild. If you would like to share our conversation about what Israelis are feeling and what is happening here that the English press can’t capture, we invite you to subscribe today.

Avri Gilad is a well known Israeli TV personality, who got his start years ago in Army radio. He and his staff invited me to join a panel discussion on Jewish Peoplehood, specifically on the question of whether Israel has obligations to Diaspora Jewry.

You can watch the entire episode on the Mashav website, but since it doesn’t include English subtitles, we’ve taken a portion of the show and have subtitled it for our readers.

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Israel from the Inside with Daniel Gordis
Israel from the Inside with Daniel Gordis
Israel from the Inside is for people who want to understand Israel with nuance, who believe that Israel is neither hopelessly flawed and illegitimate, nor beyond critique. If thoughtful analysis of Israel and its people interests you, welcome!