IDF International Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht spoke to Arutz Sheva-Israel National News about the October 7 murderous Hamas attack and the importance of telling the world what happened on that dark day.

“This was a different challenge than what we’ve ever experienced. Usually, when something happens in Gaza, they fire, and we return. On Sunday, we realized that this was something totally different, a different paradigm. We understood that we were caught by surprise and, together with some good advice from some very smart generals, I realized that we have to go on a search of information warfare as a separate campaign beyond the military response.”

Hecht feels strongly that “as Israelis, as Jews, our intuition is to give respect to the dead and clear the area as quickly as possible. But our minds were taken back to the end of World War II when Eisenhower first came to Bergen Belsen and said that before we clean it up, we have to show this to the world. We realized that it would only be a matter of days until no one believes us anymore, and they'll think that it’s IDF propaganda.”

“So basically, I went together with my people, under the direction of IDF Spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, to take all the reporters there, not only the reporters here in Israel but top reporters from all over the world. This was on Monday, while there were still bodies on the ground, and it was still a closed military zone with threats of terrorists being in the area. I was obsessed with the world seeing this. I knew we had to do it because when they see it with their own eyes, nobody can say after that that this was a lie or that the IDF was exaggerating. Just like Eisenhower took the press to Bergen Belzen, this is how they understood the catastrophe.”

He describes how they “walked around freely inside Kfar Aza. We were there for half an hour, and it was a very, very strong experience. After that, we also had to deal with fake news, which is an ongoing campaign and effort. I'm already posturing myself for this, so when in the future there are questions, we will always go back to remind the world what happened here on the 7th of October. We'll remind the world about the carnage of babies and the kidnapped grandmothers. We'll go back to these details to remind the world who started this.”

He adds, “This is the face of our enemy. We had a paradigm that was broken. We were caught by surprise. We'll talk about the mistakes down the road, but now we're focused on fighting this heinous ISIS-style enemy. In the end, the true goal of this war is that we have the obligation to ensure that this thing doesn't happen again. This is something unprecedented and different. This is just not another round. The IDF is going to act. We are used to short operations, but this could be something very long, and it will take as long as it takes. I want everyone to see our determination.”

Regarding the hospital explosion story, Hecht says, “In the way that Israel and the IDF responded, I think that the main lesson learned here is our know-how and understanding of a potential crisis. The issue here was our realization that this was something big. At the time the IDF spokesperson Admiral Hagari said, 'Potential crisis,' the unit stopped, and we all focused our energy on getting the data to fight the fake news. This means that we were telling the Air Force, ‘Stop your regular missions, send aircraft. Fly over the area, take the visuals that will show that it wasn't an Air Force attack'. I think Admiral Hagari even checked the Air Force Tactical Operations Center to see that there were no attacks at that time.”

Hecht explains that “the intelligence community released the conversation where we can hear the Hamas people saying that was probably them, and then we immediately engaged with the journalists once we had the data, and we also said, after showing that analysis, ‘shame on you international press for immediately believing the Hamas’ lies. This is an organization that, just a week before, killed and slaughtered people. When we come out with something, we get cross-checked, and we have to justify it. The Hamas just said, ‘It's the Israelis,’ and some of the networks came out and said, ‘The Israelis attacked the hospital’.”

“Some of the media were decent enough today to say that they acknowledge and agree with the Israeli investigation, but this is going to be an ongoing thing. This is just the beginning. There's going to be more of this all the time. And that's our fight.”

Hecht is encouraged by the fact that “people around the world have finally understood that something totally different and tragic has happened. I'm very encouraged also by the political echelon in the Western world: the British, the French, the Americans. The American friendship here is unbelievable, unprecedented. They've sent two carrier groups, not only the Ford and the Eisenhower, each one of these carriers has ships and missile ships and cruisers. They're also deploying other capabilities here. They're helping us with munitions. So that's a big statement to the region.”

Concluding, Hecht admits that “these are big things. But, of course, on the other side, I look at my Twitter following, and again, people have a very short memory. People are attacking Israel; they're attacking me, and they're also attacking the gap in my teeth. So, you know, it's a vast battle!”