newsIsrael at War

A walk in Jerusalem after the doomsday that wasn’t

After the IDF wiped out the looming aerial disaster, the world again sees us as strong and unbeatable.

Shoppers strolling at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, April 14, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Shoppers strolling at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, April 14, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Seven hours after the booms started last weekend, after crowding into the safe room of my friends’ home on maybe three hours’ sleep, I walked out onto the streets of Jerusalem at 8 a.m. following Iran’s aerial bombardment of Israel.

I saw the city untouched, people moving everywhere, running, bicycling. The delivery trucks were en route, the fruit and vegetable market was open. I took a deep, life-affirming breath.

I thought how Israel and the Jewish people faced down annihilation just a few dark hours ago and that I am so proud of this country. With all its drawbacks—and there are too many—Israel knew how to work with its allies and protect its existence and its citizens so impressively.

I’m proud of the Israel Defense Forces—the commitment of its soldiers and its technological superiority. I’m realizing after this experience, while I am teaching here for the semester, how even more bonded I am to this place.

I walked farther. Life was happening in every direction. How important it is, I thought, that we have our Jewish homeland. Because of it, we are not the defenseless people we were a century ago and had been since the Roman conquest. 

I hope this government realizes what it has just demonstrated to the world and the admiration it is garnering even among its enemies for the unparalleled ability it showed to thwart its most insidious and strongest foe.

I believe all those haters are reeling in both anger and awe, seeing their hopes dashed and Israel standing tall. The world saw another nation try to destroy Israel and the Jewish people with a relentless force of death and destruction. I hope the Israeli government takes advantage of the reality of this new perception and doesn’t make stupid moves.

Essential to victory

The communication war is an integral piece of the bigger war. It is essential to the overall victory. And after the aerial defeat of the looming disaster, Israel and the Jewish people’s communication strategy has changed. We have a new reality.

Today, the world, as much as it may not want to, again sees us as strong and unbeatable. With this perception, we no longer have to respond to our enemies’ baseless accusations of genocide, apartheid, colonialism—all those empty defamations of our national character.

No matter how many hundreds of thousands of marchers chant “From the River to the Sea,” Israel has again proved it isn’t going anywhere.

Those protesters, those campuses, that TikTok garbage, those Students for Justice in Palestine, those IfNotNow traitor Jews—and the behind-the-scenes countries, funders and organizers of this campaign, who don’t show their faces—have just learned that they are not going to bring Israel down.

(And maybe, just maybe, those extreme left-wing Jewish organizations who will not mention “Israel” but only “Israel-Palestine” will understand it’s “Israel and the Jewish people.” “Palestine,” which may become its own entity, is not part of ours.)

They’re all wasting their time.

The countries will be better off building their societies on progress, rather than hate. The students will be better off studying and pursuing careers that fight world poverty and dengue fever, rather than expending their energies lining up behind lies and shouting their heads off.

Our Jewish communication strategy has to position us as a strong and creative people, charismatic and smart, values-driven believers and pursuers of truths, not cowed by lies, not defensive against baseless accusations. Our strengths can overwhelm the weakness of their manufactured false realities.

Gary Wexler was recently honored by the National Library of Israel with the creation of The Gary Wexler Archive, a 20-year history of Jewish life told through the advertising campaigns he created for Jewish organizations in the U.S., Canada and Israel. 

Originally published by the Jewish Journal.

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