Gaza War

Letter from an Israeli to her extended family in America


Most of the news we get about America these days is about the awful demonstrations on the university campuses. They already stopped calling for a ceasefire, and have starting demanding “intifada” (ie, suicide bombers, etc), death to all Jews, and the total elimination of Israel.

It looks very, very scary to be a Jew in America right now. I’m sure you all are living your lives without that fear, and without encountering that antisemitism and hate — we only see the bad from here that makes the headlines. Similarly, I’m sure most of the time you only see awful stories coming from Israel. The reality is a lot different.

There is a cloud over everyone. You couldn’t really say “Happy Pesach” without the words catching in your throat. With all the deaths and huge number of injuries in the last almost 7 months, and with the 134 hostages (probably most no longer alive), no one can really celebrate. However, we all go on with our lives, at least those who aren’t in mourning or recovery, or aren’t banished from their homes because of the danger of rockets or even infiltration, or because their homes and communities were destroyed.

The world talks about Gazans whose homes were destroyed or who have been uprooted from their communities, but no one talks about the Israelis who have been homeless for 7 months or the killed and wounded on our side.

• • •

One comment about the “numbers game.” Hamas has been quoting a number that has been killed, and it has been going up at a steady rate, regardless of what we are doing.

Statisticians have proven that the numbers were going up at a predetermined rate and had nothing to do with reality; the whole world (even President Biden) accepted those numbers, even though they are from a terrorist organization that uses every method possible to make us look bad. They of course claim that most are women and children, and the whole world quotes that, too. I’ve been in touch with our cousin Max (he’s such an amazing person!), and he shared with me the following:

The Gaza Health Ministry (Hamas) now admits that 11,371 of the 33,091 deaths that are marked as “incomplete” are fabricated. That means a total of 22,000 are dead, and of that 22,000, 15,000 are Hamas terrorists. Therefore, a total of 7,000 civilian deaths have occurred.

Even the 7,000 “civilian” deaths are questionable, because most of the terrorists dress up as civilians, keep their weapons hidden in a house (soldiers have stated that about 80% of all houses in Gaza are storehouses for weapons or serve as terror tunnel entrances or both), and jump out and shoot at our soldiers, still dressed as “civilians.”

In addition, Hamas has killed thousands of people in Gaza, either because of rockets that backfired, or because they shot at the hungry Gazans who have tried to grab the food aid that Hamas hijacked for their own uses.

Each death of innocent people is tragic, but the number is much, much smaller than claimed, and is exponentially smaller than any other war in history, especially an urban war. We paid for those small numbers with a large number of losses of our own — it’s much easier to bomb out a whole neighborhood or city (like Americans have done in all their wars), it’s much harder to go house by house, exposing themselves to immediate and intense danger, collecting the weapons, and making huge efforts to ensure that innocent people aren’t affected.

Many missions have been called off at the last minute when civilians were discovered entering a home.

Max also shared about the “story” of the mass graves that were “discovered” next to Shifa hospital, and blamed on Israel. Of course, the graves were found to have been dug years ago by Hamas.

• • •

As you all know, 350 drones, ballistic missiles, and rockets were fired toward us from Iran. It was a very scary night; we all knew they were on their way toward us, but we didn’t realize the scale of the attack until it was over. We went to sleep with our phones next to our heads because the attack was due to arrive at 1:30 am.

We had no idea how many lives would be destroyed and we all charged our phones and stocked up on water in case critical infrastructure was destroyed, as has been the case in Ukraine. Each rocket had the potential of destroying an apartment building where hundreds live or knocking out a power station or worse.

It was a huge relief to wake up in the morning and discover that 99% of the projectiles had been destroyed, with help of America, Jordan, the UK and France (though most were shot down by us). No one was hurt, with the exception of a young girl who was seriously injured by falling shrapnel.

I hope none of you has to be in a situation where an enemy country will do anything to kill as many of you as possible. We are very thankful for our army, our “partners” and the millions of prayers that were recited during that long night.

• • •

Finally, a little on the personal note. Our boys are all home from the army (though Be’eri has to go back in about 2 months), and we’re very thankful that they all got home safely.

We are proud of what they all are doing and what amazing parents they are all are becoming! Avi is continuing to travel two days a week to the south, working with individuals who have experienced trauma, and leading groups that have been created for new widows and bereaved parents. It’s difficult, demanding, and holy work. So many lives have been destroyed.

I’m keeping the home front going, helping our kids, and trying to work as much as possible.

May we all be blessed with peace, may our hostages return soon — alive — and may our dear soldiers and citizens be safe. May you all also be safe in a place that seems much less welcoming than in the past.

Love to all.

The author, a practicing architect, moved to Israel after getting married. A resident of Jerusalem, she is the mother of five and grandmother of seven.