Current Events: Israel, Palestine, and the Cease-Fire
Updated: Jun 1
In recent weeks, the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East has escalated dramatically, to an unprecedented point. As rockets rained down on Israel from Hamas, the IDF fought back in an act of self defense. Of course, this is nothing new. Those of us in the North Shore Hebrew Academy and the universal Jewish community know all too well that this is not the first time Hamas has striked Israel, but it is hopefully the last. However, this time around, social media has played a very important role. As my fellow senior, Jeremy Sofiev, puts it, “everyone is influenced by propaganda...Israel always has the right to defend itself.” People, especially celebrities (insert Bella Hadid), have certainly shared their own views, becoming overnight Middle East conflict connoisseurs. Anyone and everyone with a phone has now been given a choice: Palestine or Israel, and with “free Palestine” being the narrative pushed down the throats of naive social media users by the left wing media, I think we can guess which side many are leaning towards.
This is obviously a frightening time, with attacks at rallies and antisemitism reaching a high point, a 438% increase to be exact. Friends have mentioned to me that they “thank G-d [they] don’t look too Jewish” and that they “can’t wear a kippah on the street anymore.” Although a cease fire has been announced, the anti-Semitic attacks continue... a frightening time, and much must be done in order to put an end to anti-Semitic behavior and ensure a safe world for Jews. According to Roy Levinson, the “cease-fire wasn’t the best idea...we should have pressed [Hamas] more...”
Everything I have written up until this point is most likely obvious to anyone reading that attends NSHA. With all of that being said, however, I would like to express my concern for a lack of empathy for the other side. The idea is to free Palestine...from Hamas. Sofiev says we are “ignoring the issue of Hamas, the ‘aggressor’.” I have honestly heard people talk about Palestinians as a whole in such negative ways, even saying they should all be annihilated. This is not the Jewish way of thinking, and is in fact part of the false narrative that is pushed. Peace should always be an end goal; violence should not be. I understand that peace has been tried five times in history and has failed. I understand that many do wish death upon Jews, and it is written in Hamas’ charter. I simply implore you to try and understand the Palestinian refugee struggle (to separate Palestinian civilians from Hamas terrorists), the Israeli settlement conflict and imperfection of the Israeli government (not that any government is perfect; yes, it is anti-Semitic to only hold a Jewish government to higher standards than others), and pray that peace will be in the Middle East, if not today nor tomorrow, then hopefully one day in the near future.
Speaking of the future, Sofiev claims that the, “only way to combat this is to combat ignorance.” He additionally does not see a future of peace “as long as Hamas still exists” or until the “Arab world recognizes that Jewish people have the right to live in the state of Israel.” Levinson also does not see a future of peace as Hamas “will one thousand percent start another war.” He is also optimistic that “every single Israeli wants peace.” I hope this to be true, I hope for the world to be free of Hamas terror, and I hope for peace in the Middle East.