Israel from the Inside with Daniel Gordis
Israel from the Inside with Daniel Gordis
"Maybe this war will be called the Second War of Independence"

"Maybe this war will be called the Second War of Independence"

A conversation with Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, IDF International Spokesman, on the purposes of humanitarian aid, what America's support does and doesn't mean, the 47 atrocity-movie and naming this war.

Photo by Daniel Gordis during our interview

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, IDF International Spokesman, has been seen all over international television in recent weeks, earning kudos for his expert and frank representation of Israel during this war against Hamas.

I sat with Lt. Col. Hecht in his office on an army base in the center of the country yesterday, and had a far reaching conversation with him about the various reasons for Israel’s providing humanitarian aid to Gazans, what America's unprecedented support for Israel, including two carrier groups in the Mediterranean sea, does but also does not mean, the 47 atrocity-movie which has been shown to journalists and finally, some reflections on what this war might be called.

We’re making this conversation available to all of our listeners. The link at the very top of this page will take you to the recording.

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.

It’s not that often that an AMERICAN news broadcast or op-ed goes viral in Israel. It’s even less often that someone in Israel (I don’t know who, in this case) decides to subtitle an American clip. After all, most Israelis speak enough English to get the basics, if not more than that.

But someone here decided that what Jake Tapper said in the clip below was so important that all Israelis needed to be able to understand it. All of it. It’s not long, and there’s nothing in the clip that you probably don’t already know.

So why has it gone viral? Because when hundreds of thousands of people protest (essentially) in favor of Hamas in London, Paris and elsewhere, Israelis feel a long yearned-for breath of fresh air when someone finally explains how we see this conflict, how we see this world.

Here’s Jake Tapper, gone viral on Israeli social media.

Given that today’s episode with Lt. Col. Richard Hecht is about telling Israel’s story, as is, essentially, the CNN Jake Tapper clip, it seems only natural to highlight and to encourage you to read an essay by my friend, Sarah Hurwitz, in SAPIR, which is now running an excellent issue on War in Israel. Sarah is an incredibly gifted writer, and the freshness of her voice, coupled with her passion and honesty, provides a message all Jewish college students (and their parents, too) ought to read.

Sarah Hurwitz is former head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama and author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Lifein Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).

Read Sarah Hurwitz’ essay here.

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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):

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.

Impossible Takes Longer is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and at other booksellers.

Music credits: Medieval poem by Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Gvirol. Melody and performance by Shaked Jehuda and Eyal Gesundheit. Production by Eyal Gesundheit. To view a video of their performance, see this YouTube:

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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
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!