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"I miss my Grandma. I miss the people I love. I miss everything."

An interview with children who survived Kibbutz Be'eri. A brief but charming conversation between a pilot in the air and his son in a tank on the ground below. (Plus a photo of Torah reading in Gaza.)

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched the video above (we know it’s slightly cut off at the end). Dozens. Many dozens. And still, I can’t wrap my head around it. What does it mean to be such a young child and to be able to speak about the things they discuss? What must it mean to be the parents of these children? What kinds of adults will these kids be? How is Israeli society going to be different with a generation of kids who grew up with the memories of the month we’ve all been through?

I have no idea.

But these kids—broken though they must be—are made of something else. So is this society, this country. It clearly starts very, very early.

Yet looking forward, what sort of parents would take their kids back to their homes near Gaza if Hamas is not completely wiped out? What parents would subject these kids to rocket fire again?

They won’t. If Israel does not completely destroy Hamas, the area around Gaza will be uninhabitable. Same with the north, which is now also emptied of civilians. Israel could lose territory without a single enemy boot on our territory. Israel could mostly destroy Hamas and still lose the war.

It’s hard to imagine Israelis accepting that. It’s hard to imagine any government surviving that. It’s also not so hard to imagine the world trying to make that happen.

NOTE: After we’d prepared the clip above but shortly before it was posted, we came across a longer version of the interview with these children. Later this week, we’ll post additional sections, once we’ve had a chance to have the subtitles added.

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

And how, something of a very different nature. A helicopter pilot somehow figured out that his son’s tank unit was below him, a bit south. So he asked people to get his son to the radio, and the following conversation ensured. (We’ve added subtitles.)

It’s not individuals out there. There are entire families. We ourselves know numerous families with four, even five sons or sons-in-law in combat at this very moment.

When people say that the IDF is a “people’s army,” that’s what they mean. It’s the young men and women. And their siblings. But also their parents. And their aunts and their uncles. It’s the people.

Those who said a few months ago that the protests had destroyed that army were dead wrong. The protests and the IDF are both the products of the same character of Israeli society—a sense of duty, a sense of unity, a sense purpose and of belief in the sanctity of the place in which we live.

Indeed, may they see each other at home, very soon.

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And finally for today …

Reading Torah outside the battlefields in Gaza (you can see them in the background on the right). Note what they have to use as the yad (pointer).

A few links for which people have been asking:

  • The IDF Spokesperson’s Division has started its own Substack, and is asking those of us who can to share it. It’s here:

  • The IDF Spokesperson’s Division also has a podcast, which is here:

  • Some people have asked for the link for signing up to do volunteering on farms. There are a few websites, but this is by far the biggest. Yes, it’s in Hebrew (though Google might be able to translate … I haven’t tried) and it might require an Israeli ID number .. not sure. But that’s the link.

  • Finally, several people have asked for the URL to the video directed as Muslims, arguing that the horrors of October 7 are an absolute violation of Islam’s principles. I can’t find it online, but have uploaded to YouTube and you can watch it or or share the link here.

  • And this opportunity for volunteering (just passing it on … I have no further information):

As explained above, Shalem College is making use of its financial infrastructure to help the Hamal (which we covered in a previous post) collect funds, and to get 100% of the funds to the Hamal immediately. To support the Hamal, use the link immediately below. There is a place on the web page to note that you want your contribution to be directed to the war effort.

Donate here

If you’re just joining us, Israel from the Inside typically posts a written column on Mondays and a podcast on Wednesdays. That is obviously irrelevant for the time being.

We’ve delayed all the podcasts that were ready to go, because the people whose stories they tell deserve to tell them when we all have the bandwidth to hear. Hopefully, that will return some day.

In the interim, we’ll post as possible. Here in Israel, there are non-stop funerals to go to, shiva homes to visit, grandchildren to help care for while sons and daughters are in the army, so we’ll see.

Schedules are the least of our worries.

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Our Threads feed is danielgordis. We’ll start to use it more shortly.

Israel from the Inside with Daniel Gordis
Israel from the Inside with Daniel Gordis