On Israeli faces we've seen fear, bewilderment and steely resolve

To face the coming weeks and months, we need Jewish unity

October 08, 2023 19:05

Just before 7am on Saturday morning – the holy day of Shabbat and Simchat Torah – our family was woken with a start. Something had given the entire building a powerful and determined shove.

The walls shook. Windows blew out. Sirens followed. My sister’s building in central Tel Aviv, where we stayed for Succot, took a direct rocket hit, which destroyed a flat located one floor above ours.

That flat belongs to the family of a London-based friend and, thank God, it was empty at the time. Now, 36 hours later, cognitive dissonance will not let us contemplate the obvious – what would have been, had the rocket landed mere metres from its actual point of impact…

Pending structural assessment, the building has been evacuated. As we met our (largely Israeli) neighbours on the staircases, we saw fear, bewilderment but also steely resolve on each other’s faces. Nobody was surprised and everyone was surprised. We all know that terrorist attacks have been allowed to become a fact of life in Israel. Yet we all think it cannot happen to us.

Processing what is both mundane and utterly surreal at the same time is hard. It must be for the best that all the families focused on comforting their children. We kept my six-year-old niece entertained to distract her from the real reasons why we were spending the day in bomb shelters.

The outpouring of solidarity, offers of practical help, and messages filled with love, which instantly unify Israelis and diaspora Jews in times of hardship, are simply magnificent. They warm the heart, elevate the soul, and offer practical succour. To those who wrote – Thank You! It is important to capture this unity, and this clarity, as we traverse the monstrously difficult period ahead.

At the time of writing, over 600 Israelis have been slaughtered with beastly cruelty, thousands are injured, and many have been kidnapped by bloodthirsty terrorists set only on murdering Jews and doing Iran’s bidding.

This is the definition of a fight between good and evil. A struggle between a civilisation that celebrates humanity, progress and life itself, and a warped culture with nothing but death and murder as its goal.

It is inevitable that the disgracefully biased BBC won’t call Hamas “terrorists”, even though they are officially thus designated by the UK government and by most other Western democracies. It is inevitable that social media propagandists have started equivocating and relativising the incommensurable. And it is inevitable that liars and antisemites, often falsely cloaked in the language of “human rights,” are already inverting victim and perpetrator.

None of this matters as much as what Jews do. Whether “Never Again” is an empty slogan or a call to action depends on us. British Jewry has the opportunity to stand with Israel and with the heroic IDF with a united voice, to call to account the BBC and other media, and to demand that our government takes action against terrorists and against Iran, their vile patron, and its nuclear ambitions.

For too long have we accepted fringe loudmouths who pretend to speak for the community while making scant contribution but sowing division. For too long have we accepted intolerable anti-Israel bias in our newspapers and on our screens, which pollutes global discourse and poisons the campus environment for our children. And for too long have we accepted FCO funding of Palestinian extremism, toxic voting at the UN and the absence of a strong UK voice against the Iranian ayatollahs, the people who fund, train and support the vast majority of those who murder Jews.

 Our communal organisations can do better on all fronts. They must do better. All ruptures are opportunities for renewal – this is such a time. Ahm Yisrael Chai!

David (Vladimir) Bermant is Hineni Capital, Managing Director 


October 08, 2023 19:05

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