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What This War Is About

On October 7, Israel became the most dangerous country in the world for Jews. The atrocity Hamas inflicted was literally unbearable.
Yossi Klein Halevi is a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Together with Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University and Jennifer Raskas, he co-directs the Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative. Yossi is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor and co-host with Donniel Hartman and Elana Stein Hain of the Institute’s award-winning podcast, For Heaven’s Sake. He is also the author of Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli

“This is a war against the return of Jewish helplessness.

Much of the world reacted to the massacre by calling the atrocity scenes unbearable. When Israelis say those images are ‘unbearable,’ we mean it literally. We cannot bear this, cannot allow the massacre to redefine us as a nation. We are at war to erase the catastrophic perception of Israelis as victims.

Even more than the atrocities themselves, what was so – yes – unbearable to many of us was the helplessness of our fellow Israelis. Nothing is more antithetical to the Israeli ethos than for Jews to be burned alive with their hands bound behind their backs, with the IDF nowhere in sight.

In the days immediately following the massacre, I received calls from several European journalists, asking if I saw this as a ‘Holocaust moment.’ They were sympathetic; they meant well. But I couldn’t give them the answer they were seeking.

I don’t need Auschwitz to motivate me to defend myself against Hamas, I replied. I live in the Middle East; the fate of the Yazidis is more relevant to me than Babyn Yar. Nor do I trust European sympathy for Israel that is based on the Holocaust. That support is unstable; today it is applied to dead Jews, tomorrow to dead Palestinians.

The support I seek is based on the understanding that Israel faces a genocidal regime on its southern border, that that regime must be destroyed not only for our sake but for the sake of the region, and that the only way to destroy a terrorist infrastructure embedded in a civilian population is the way the IDF is proceeding.”

Read the full article on Times of Israel.

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