Speak Up for Israel

May 21, 2021

Speak Up for Israel

Today, Israelis are hopeful that they can look up to the sky without fear of rocket fire. Israel has agreed to a ceasefire, and according to reports, so has Hamas. It is our great hope that it holds.

In the days and weeks to come, global leaders and engaged civilians around the world will work to understand what transpired over the last week-and-a-half, and why. As passionate pro-Israel advocates bound by a belief in Zionism and guided by a commitment to educating one another, we want to you to be a part of that conversation, too.

Certain facts are irrefutable. The terrorists are motivated by hatred and aim to wound or kill innocent women, men and children. Israel, by contrast, is motivated by the legal and moral imperative to protect and preserve life, and is always entirely justified in acting in its own self-defense.

Also irrefutable is that Jews and Arabs can and do live and work together – that’s what we see every day at Hadassah Ein Kerem and Mt. Scopus – and that threatens Hamas, an enemy of tolerance.

Here’s what we think you should know:

  • Hadassah supports the decision of the democratically elected government of Israel to enter into a ceasefire agreement, and it supports any and all decisions to be made subsequently in the effort to protect Israel’s safety and sovereignty.
  • The negotiated ceasefire does not change that fact Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It is not now, nor has Hamas ever been interested in building peace and coexistence; it is only interested in hurting or killing as many innocent people as possible. It has a total disregard for the Palestinian people, too, and purposefully situates itself within and among unarmed civilians in Gaza.
  • It is difficult to pinpoint why Hamas chose this moment to launch attacks against Israel.
    • Hamas says it is defending Jerusalem from what it calls a desecration of Muslim holy sites, though it has repeatedly attacked the city, which is home to the highest concentration of Arabs in Israel. Arab Israelis are as exposed to the rocket attacks as anyone else.. 
    • The media points to a land dispute in Sheikh Jarrah, the small east Jerusalem neighborhood where 78 Jews were killed in the 1948 Hadassah Convoy Massacre, though prominent Palestinian human rights leaders unaffiliated with Hamas reject this notion
    • Others point to the ongoing power struggle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, rampant antisemitism, or anti-Zionism.
    • Here’s the bottom line: terrorists do not need a reason to attack. It’s what they do. And it is never justifiable to target civilians.
  • The democratically elected government of Israel has a duty to its people — Arabs, Jews and Christians — and a sovereign right to repel attacks. Hadassah stands resolutely with Israel in its effort to safeguard the nation and protect innocent lives forever and always.
  • It is impossible to obtain reliable data on civilian casualties in Gaza. Data that is provided to and reported by the media come from the Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. What we do know — what is proven — is that Hamas commits war crimes by using Palestinians as human shields. No place in Gaza is safe from Hamas. Rockets, mortars, rifles and missiles are stored or fired from schools, apartment buildings, offices, mosques and hospitals.
  • The need to protect innocent lives is a guiding principal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and Hadassah is proud of the IDF’s unshakable commitment to full compliance with its legal and moral obligations to protect civilians. Israel works to minimize the risk, even at the cost of counterterrorism operations, by alerting Palestinians by phone, text message, leaflet and other means of where it intends to strike so innocent people can find safety — even though it also allows terrorists to escape. Israel has been doing this for years. And no other military in the world is as cautious in its use of force.
  • Israel has an entire government agency devoted to providing for the humanitarian needs of innocent Palestinians living under the rule of a terrorist regime. Israel sends convoys of fuel, medicine, food and other essential items to sustain civilian life. Hamas is attacking these convoys regularly because it would rather see Palestinians suffer than accept urgently needed support, but Israel will not be deterred.
  • The threat of rocket attacks at any time remains severe. Iron Dome, a missile defense system jointly developed by Israel and the United States, mitigates but does not eliminate the threat — and a nation cannot function from the inside of a bomb shelter. Shutting down the capacity for Hamas to inflict terror is essential to ensuring that any ceasefire agreement can hold. The international community can do its part over the short- and long-term by helping to close off the smuggling routes used to import cash and advanced weaponry from Iran.
  • Arab Israelis have the same rights and responsibilities as Jewish Israelis, Druze, Christians and others. They are active in politics, business and civil society. They are civil servants, police officers, jurists, diplomats and doctors. Just as in most other heterogeneous democracies, there can be tensions between different groups. When those tensions turn violent, Israeli law, its police and the judiciary make no distinctions. Hadassah condemns any and all violence between Israelis.
  • Who to trust for information about what’s happening is a question that confounds all those interested in learning more about the world. The media is increasingly ideological, makes mistakes and, ultimately, is a business. It’s important to consume a wide variety of news, and to think critically about what’s presented and why. Organizations like CAMERA, a fellow member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is a reputable source for analysis of how the media covers Israel.