We are just about three weeks into this war. It was on Day 6 that it was reported that “Israel dropped more bombs in a week than US dropped in Afghanistan in a year.” Since then, we’ve been pounding Gaza (and yes, Gazans) relentlessly, and it has now begun to dawn on Israelis that “one of the world’s most powerful armies” (as people love to say about the IDF) has not subdued Hamas.
David Horovitz, editor of the Times of Israel, captured the deepening sentiment in his Op Ed today:
Why is this war “increasingly existential”? Because unless we can completely defang Hamas, who among those thousands who have fled the Gaza Envelope is going to move back to the towns around Gaza? And if they can’t move back (there are now about 200,000 domestic refugees in Israel, moved from near Gaza and from the north), will we have essentially ceded that territory even if Hamas technically remains on the other side of the border?
And even if we can, somehow, uproot Hamas, how long is that going to take? How long will hundreds of thousands of Israelis not be able to go home?
The political echelons are clearing trying to prepare Israelis for a very long haul. Today, in fact, they upped the estimate from “months” to שנים, or years. It’s in the Hebrew press, but not yet in the English.
“Gantz: the Gaza incursion is but one stage of a process that will take שנים years.”
Below, before we get to that above-mentioned video, glimpses of Israel last night, and then again this afternoon, just a few hours ago.
After three weeks of sirens and rockets, the Home Front Command is worried that Israelis are starting to get complacent about heeding instructions about going to the shelter when they hear the siren. Yes, even if it’s in the middle of the night, and yes, even if the kids are sleeping.
So the powers-that-be were all too eager to share this security-camera footage from outside an apartment in Rishon LeTzion, situated on the coast just south of Tel Aviv, from 9:30 pm just last night (the date and time are clearly visible on the footage):
The family is apparently fine—because they followed the instructions, the HFC stresses—but what is astonishing many Israelis is that three weeks in, Hamas can still do this. How much longer is this going to go on? Does Israel really have the ability to stop it? And if it doesn’t?
Below, a word about the feedback that I’ve been getting that Israel from the Inside should be more “uplifting.” It’s an important question.
Despite this—or more precisely, because of this—the civilian home front is a mobilized as ever. We’re already covered the Civilian Command Center. Here’s something much less formal than the Command Center.
Shortly after noon today, we got a WhatsApp (which, fortunately for this post, happened to include an English translation), which you can see on the right below.
The photo on the left, above, is the price list. You add up the cost of what you took by yourself, and pay with your phone by Bit or PayBox (Israel’s equivalents of Venmo) to the number scribbled on the fruit crate in the middle photo. About 90 minutes after the WhatsApp went out, this was the scene in the parking lot behind the gas station:
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 now, regarding the “tone” of Israel from the Inside, it’s something that I addressed in a briefing to some of Shalem College’s American leadership the other day, so I’m just attaching that clip to share my own take on this with you:
And now, on to ISIS. If you are unsure about the ISIS/Hamas analogy, just listen to the person from Zaka in the video at the very top of this post.
Which then brings us to the debate that I mentioned above. The reaction of the left both in Europe and in the United States to what is happening is being well covered in the press, so we’re mostly not touching that. But if you didn’t notice this one, you ought to:
It’s hard to know what to say about that. I wonder what those students who voted down the resolution would say once they heard Dennis Prager in the 2015 debate at Oxford.
David Horovitz is absolutely right that Israelis see themselves in a battle for survival. The longer the battle goes on without any indications that Israel is getting the upper hand, the more fragile will the national morale become.
Which is why it is also critical that the world be reminded—whenever and by whomever—that we’re just the canary in the coal mine. They came for the West before, and if we don’t stop them, they’ll come for the West again.
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.
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.