OpinionIsrael at War

Why is the world morally blind to Israel?

I cannot understand how people convince themselves that the actions of Hamas are equal to that of the Israel Defense Forces—or even more justified.

The forensic center in the Shura military base near Ramle, where hundreds of bodies have arrived since Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel, Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.
The forensic center in the Shura military base near Ramle, where hundreds of bodies have arrived since Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel, Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.
Rabbi Hayim Leiter. Credit: Courtesy.
Rav Hayim Leiter
Hayim Leiter is a rabbi, mohel, wedding officiant and member of a private beit din in Israel. He founded Magen HaBrit, an organization that protects the ceremony of brit milah and the children who undergo it. He lives in Efrat and can be reached on X.

Can you see the hypocrisy? I see it all day, every day. It’s hard to live in Israel, no matter how you feel about the war, and not see it. When you live in this region, it’s like the rest of the world is upside down. It’s like you’re looking at a bizarro universe that exists on a different plane—a universe so devoid of logic and morality that it no longer feels like your own.

The Israel Defense Forces made a monumental mistake. It was an error almost no one wanted. The accidental drone strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian workers was nothing less than tragic. Every innocent life lost, as Jewish tradition teaches, is the erasure of an entire world.

In response to this mistake, the IDF apologized and two senior officers were fired. Since that moment, the citizens of Israel have hung their heads in shame. But there was celebration of this tragedy. The jubilation wasn’t covered by any news outlet. You won’t find it on YouTube but be assured, it is still happening. Those who seek Israel’s demise couldn’t be happier about this because they knew what was coming, as did all Jews.

José Andrés was the first to lash out at Israel, claiming that the IDF intentionally targeted his aid workers. What benefit would Israel have in killing those bringing food to the Gazan civilians? That would mean that Israel’s military complex allowed the food deliveries to enter the region and coordinated with them for six months, only to kill them in the end. What could the Jewish state possibly hope to gain from doing this?

Andrés was not the only one to condemn Israel’s actions. A recent U.N. vote made it clear that the world no longer thinks it’s acceptable for Israel to defend itself. Some 28 countries voted that Israel should be held responsible for war crimes. It’s important to note that in 2023 alone, the United Nations had 14 resolutions singling out the Jewish state while only seven other resolutions were passed in response to the rest of the world combined.

Just minutes after the U.N. resolution passed, something else occurred that most likely didn’t make international headlines. A sizable rocket barrage was fired from Lebanon at Israel’s North. There is no doubt this vile act was encouraged by the UN’s condemnation of Israel.

Would you like to guess how many resolutions were passed condemning Hezbollah’s attack? And who do you think were the targets of those rockets? Hezbollah was aiming for our “aid workers,” our innocent civilians. It was their goal and that makes it an actual war crime. But no one has been fired, and no independent investigations will be held. In fact, if Jews had been killed, those responsible would most likely have received a promotion.

Why can’t the world see this?

My family and I have experienced many frightening moments since the war began in October. Even though we don’t live in an area with regular air-raid sirens, we still spent our fair share of time in bomb shelters. The Home Front Command is a national warning service designed to inform Israeli citizens of impending danger. The service uses cell phone notifications to let us know when it’s time to seek shelter.

In the days following Oct. 7, we all heard the horror stories of people in the south locking themselves in their safe rooms for hours on end, only to be gunned down by terrorists who succeeded in entering. Thousands of these terrorists flooded the country, making their way north. We had no idea where or when they would strike next.

One evening in October, desperate for a small sense of normality, my children headed downstairs to visit friends in our building when the Home Front app went off. Unlike other messages we’d received, this notification wasn’t a warning of rocket fire. My phone flashed red, reading “INTRUDER, ENTER SAFE ROOM.” My heart rate shot up. We screamed to our kids to come back upstairs and hurry to the safe room.

Once inside, I locked the large metal door with a huge thud. Like many in Israel, I carry a handgun for protection. The extensive license training teaches us to always have our weapon on our waist or in a safe, and to keep the chamber empty for added safety. Once locked in the room, I did something I’ve never done before or after. I loaded a bullet in the chamber, and put the gun and extra magazines on the dresser in front of me.

My mind was racing with thoughts of what I might need to do to protect my family. I’ve never been more scared in my life. All of the images and stories I had heard flooded my mind. “Who’s out there, and how long do I have until they’re in my home?” I thought. I prayed I’d have the strength to do what needed to be done.

But just as suddenly as it began, it was over. Another message came through that all was clear and that we could leave the safe room. That’s how it is in times of war. We felt lucky that we didn’t have to face our worst fears. But many other areas were not so lucky. Those warnings were real. Someone was roaming their streets attempting to kill anyone they found.

Now, six months into the war, you’d think that such events no longer occur, but you’d be wrong. Intruder warnings and rocket barrages continue daily. There’s only one thing that’s changed in this time and that is the world consensus. In the days following Oct. 7, everyone seemed to understand and support Israel’s fight for safety. I even remember thinking that this backing was the silver lining for having brutally and tragically lost so many. But those days are long behind us.

I cannot understand how people convince themselves that the actions of Hamas are equal to that of the IDF—or even more justified. Even if you feel that Israel has wronged the Palestinian people for years, terrorism cannot be the solution. People hunting innocent men, women and children for slaughter—as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran continue to do—has nothing to do with Palestinian self-determination. For those, like us, who desperately want to see an end to this war, you must stand against anyone celebrating the death of innocents because a ceasefire will not stop those who seek the blood of everyone in the West.

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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