Israel…where never is not forever

In July of 2022, Melissa and I ventured to Israel. It was the first time there for both of us. We have traveled to many places over the last few years, to all corners of the United States, and half way around the world. To say that Israel was special, is a vast understatement.

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Why Israel? Well, although it was always something we wanted to do, it remained a bucket list item for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the ongoing instability in the region, and the fear of the “what if?”

But thanks to the urging of my family living there, we decided to make that journey. And I can still hear Melissa’s mother say to me, “Please bring my daughter home safe.”

The details of our trip will be documented in another story, for another time. But what I can say now is that our visit to Israel was extraordinary. Even as a writer, I don’t think I could find the right descriptive words to do it all justice. It was a feeling. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs may be, but there was a sense of belonging.

The Western Wall.

And there was a sense of warmth from the people. Certainly, my family welcomed us into their home, and it felt like we had known them all of our lives even though we had only connected in recent years through Ancestry and Facebook.

The old city of Jerusalem, all parts of it, was just a series of “wow” sites and “wow” sights. The Mahande Yehuda Market, more commonly known as the Shuk, just before the Sabbath was full of an energy like we had never seen. The beaches of Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea…were spectacular. And then there was Masada…which has such a special meaning of hope and perseverance against even the most formidable enemy forces.

The Shuk before Shabot.

The truth is that wherever we went, there was always a police presence. Young people serving in the military who were everywhere we turned. We felt safe. Safer than we do when we head in to New York City, walking the streets and riding the subways. There was a sense of security.

Police presence in the Old City.

50 years ago, October 6, 1973, Israel was surprised and attacked on multiple fronts by Egypt and Syria on the holiest day of the year…which has come to be known as the Yom Kippur War.

The phrase “Never again…” has been synonymous with not allowing the enemy to surprise, attack, hurt, etc., the people of Israel. “Never” came sooner than we all thought.

The most sophisticated, most technologically advanced, most awe-inspiring defense and intelligence system has been compromised. How is that even possible?

Almost 50 years to the day, on October 7, 2023, this time on another holy day of Simchat Torah, Hamas staged a well-orchestrated and coordinated multi-front attack on the State of Israel. Again, how is that even possible?

Within hours, there were more lives lost in 2023 than there were in 1973. And worse, hundreds of civilians, elderly people, young people, children…all dragged across the border into Gaza, taken hostage. Video shows Hamas followers storming the border, murdering innocent people who were just wandering the streets minding their own business, and dragging dead Israeli bodies from behind their vehicles in the streets.

There has been tension building, for days, for weeks, for months, for years. It’s nothing new. Is Israel always right? No. Is the Palestinian people always wrong? No. Is war sometimes inevitable? Yes. That’s what happens when people, when governments, can’t agree…can’t compromise. And that’s when armies will clash.

But…they’re not armies…they’re not soldiers. They don’t care about human life. They are not afraid to die. They WANT to die. They are CONDITIONED to die. Civilized, rational humans don’t take elderly women, young women and their children. Armies don’t attack and kidnap random civilians.

They are so brave, so brazen, so strong…that they go after the weak, meek, and innocent. They don’t go up against an adversary, another army. They resort to unfair, unethical, inhumane tactics for no other reason than to instill fear, to inflict emotional and physical torture, and terrorize the masses. That’s why they are called “terrorists.”

Pro-Palestinian propagandists have taken to social media and the streets to shift the focus away from the barbaric acts that have overtly been committed and trying to justify what Hamas has done.

It’s disgusting to see joyous demonstrations by people lauding the actions of Hamas…taking to the streets in Iran, Kuwait, Yemen, and in the United States, in New York City….cheering on the kidnapping and slaughter of innocent people.

What happened in Israel is no different than December 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor and, worse, on September 11, 2001, in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Surprise attack and shocking security breach killing innocent civilians.

To be fair, the people who identify as Palestinians deserve to have their own country, their own land. But who ARE the Palestinians? And are they truly represented by Hamas? By Hezbollah? By Iran? By a group of people that live by terror, by torture, by a violation of freedoms and liberties of their own people, who value death more than they value life?

I am so sickened by seeing this. Never again did I think I would see such horror. Just goes to show that never is not forever.

Gali…Moshe…all of my family and every other citizen of Israel regardless of religious belief, trapped by the hostile menace…may you all remain safe and well as you weather yet another storm.

The Karmin Family in Israel.

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