OpinionIsrael at War

A people, a nation, a ‘Sword of Iron’

We have learned that the pain of loss only strengthens our resolve to protect our citizens and our homeland, while shouldering the immense responsibility that comes with a history scarred by persecution.

People gather at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv to light candles for the 1,400 individuals murdered by Hamas 10 days earlier, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
People gather at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv to light candles for the 1,400 individuals murdered by Hamas 10 days earlier, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Asher Stern
Asher Stern
Asher Stern is head of operations at the International Legal Forum.

Day by day, our hearts break more. Israel and Jews worldwide find themselves in the eye of a maelstrom of violence and pain. The pain of loss is an indelible part of our shared experience. The official name of this operation is “Swords of Iron.” It’s a reminder that despite the pain, the loss, the violence and the trauma, we will prevail.

In the backdrop of this ongoing conflict, it is imperative to understand the magnitude of pain that comes with loss. It is an affliction that cuts across borders and defies any categorization. The pain of loss in Israel is not confined to a single moment but perpetuates, echoing through the generations. Families continue to grieve for their loved ones, their homes and their sense of security.

Hamas has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to employ ruthlessness and a disregard for human life in its strategies against innocent civilians. They have employed despicable approaches, including rocket attacks on civilian areas, kidnappings, murder and the use of children as human shields. The toll from their recent vile attack is more than 1,400 dead, which seems to rise daily. The pain inflicted by these barbaric actions is immeasurable, further deepening the scars of those who have already suffered so much.

It is vital to distinguish between the actions of Hamas and the Palestinian people themselves. The Palestinian people deserve peace, prosperity and the chance to build a better future. Innocent Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip suffer from Hamas’s callous actions. They have been subjected to the tyranny of a militant regime that values its extremist ideology over the lives and well-being of the very people it purports to represent.

Israel, however, will not be cowed by the brutality of its adversaries. Military operations such as “Swords of Iron” are not born out of a desire for aggression; they are a necessity for self-defense. The country is forced to protect all its citizens, ensure the safety and security of its people, and prevent further loss. Israel does not seek conflict but will not hesitate to defend itself when threatened.

As a nation, we have learned that the pain of loss only strengthens our resolve to protect our citizens and our homeland, while also shouldering the immense responsibility that comes with a history scarred by persecution.

Our unity is a testament to our resilience and strength in the face of adversity. It reflects the shared history and destiny that binds Jewish people worldwide. This resolve is a testament to our unwavering commitment to survival and the pursuit of peace.

Yet it is not enough for the world support to manifest solely in times of crisis. The world must stand with Israel consistently, recognizing that the nation faces threats not only when more than 1,400 innocent lives are lost but also when it takes necessary measures to defend its country and its people.

“We will win because our secret weapon is that we have nowhere to go.”

This poignant statement by Golda Meir encapsulates the resilience of the Jewish people. With no other homeland to call our own, we have no choice but to defend our nation with determination and dedication.

“Operation Swords of Iron” embodies that resolve—a painful but necessary response. In the face of adversity, Israel stands firm, demonstrating its commitment to protecting its people and preserving the principles of democracy, freedom and justice.

As we grieve the loss of innocent lives and the destruction caused by this conflict, we lift our eyes to the future and fight for one where all the people of the region can co-exist in peace. Israel and the Jewish people have emerged stronger from every challenge we have faced. We are a nation that values life, cherishes freedom and seeks to live in harmony with our neighbors. We are a nation that draws strength from its unity and from the unwavering support of the global Jewish community.

The words of Golda Meir continue to resonate, reminding us that our secret weapon is our determination to defend our homeland. We shall be like swords of iron—strong and resilient, always.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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